Mountain Biking

‘An alarming trend’: Armed thieves are targeting mountain bikers in the Oakland Hills – SF Gate

Oakland resident Louisa Spier was riding her mountain bike in the Oakland Hills when she was robbed at gunpoint last month. Spier said three thieves approached her on a trail that runs along Skyline Boulevard and demanded that she turn over her bike; one of them pointed a gun in her face.

“I felt super scared … and super heartbroken,” Spier said. “I love Oakland, I love living in Oakland and I’ve lived here for over 30 years. It made me feel so sad.”

Spier said she was riding alone, which she does regularly, on a Tuesday afternoon, following the median trail home after a ride at Anthony Chabot Regional Park. The trail is popular with both pedestrians and cyclists, and Spier passed a father carrying an infant right before she was approached by the three individuals. 

“I said good morning, but in that moment I could see that they were completely covered, hats with brims, masks all the way up to their eyes. The one closest to me had an arm behind his back,” she said.

The Oakland Police Department confirmed the robbery occurred at noon March 29 on the 13100 block of Skyline Boulevard, and the incident is under investigation. The department said it recently responded to two other armed robberies where an individual’s mountain bike was stolen. The East Bay Regional Parks Police Department, which patrols the region’s 73 regional parks, has also responded to a robbery.

Homes are visible along the Oakland Hills near Chabot Regional Park in Oakland, Calif., on Oct. 5, 2017.

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

On March 31, just after 6 p.m., two riders were seated in a car parked near the Sequoia Bayview Trail, which runs through Joaquin Miller Park, when two robbers removed a mountain bike from the back of the car, police said. One of the riders exited the vehicle and was met by a thief pointing a gun in his face. 

In another robbery April 6, a car stopped alongside two people riding their mountain bikes on Skyline Boulevard near the Sequoia Bayview Trail. Two individuals hopped out of the vehicle, brandishing firearms, and demanded the bikes, police said. The riders handed over their bikes and a cellphone. The thieves loaded the bikes into the car and took off, the police report said. 

That same day at 9 p.m., the East Bay Regional Parks Police Department said it responded to a robbery within the Clyde Woolridge Staging Area at the corner of Skyline and Grass Valley Road. “Based on the location, timing and the suspects’ descriptions and actions we believe our case is related to the other Oakland Police Department cases,” parks police Lt. Terrence Cotcher said in an email.  

Cotcher said the parks department is working with Oakland police, and together they’ve increased patrols in the Skyline Boulevard area. “Additionally, our officers are making direct contact with cyclists to relay information regarding these incidents,” he said. “We have also conducted direct enforcement operations in the area. We expect to continue this level of presence and enforcement for the foreseeable future.”

Oakland police also issued an alert to the community, calling the robberies “an alarming trend.”

“The department remains vigilant of the numerous incidents occurring in Oakland and urges you to be aware of your surroundings at all times,” Oakland police said. “Don’t be distracted by your electronic devices. Do not resist. Property can be replaced.”

Spier said she hasn’t been mountain biking since the robbery. 

“Now that I heard there are more robberies, I will not ride until they stop,” she said.