Concern has been growing this week after armed robbers confronted at least three cyclists and took their bikes in the course of just seven days, with at least one other armed robbery attempted, the cycling community reports.
On Monday, between 6 and 6:30 p.m., two men were robbed of their bikes on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, according to local cycling group Cal Triathlon.
Another cyclist told Berkeleyside he was riding on Grizzly Peak at 6:30 that evening — it was still daylight — when several men in a car confronted him at gunpoint. He was able to evade them without injury but was still spooked.
“Our community needs to be made aware,” said the cyclist, who asked to remain anonymous because the investigation is underway.
Those incidents followed a robbery March 23 when, according to community reports to the Grizzly Peak Cyclists club, “a cyclist on Wildcat Canyon was robbed of his bicycle by armed persons. As reported by the club member who spoke with the victim, ‘[the victim] said that he had been run off the road about halfway between El Toyonol and Inspiration Point, by two men in a grey VW or Toyota sedan – ‘looked like primer’. He surrendered his bike when threatened with a knife,” another community member told Berkeleyside.
“These armed robberies are dominating the communications in both the Grizzly Peak Cyclists bicycle club and the Berkeley Bicycle Club communities,” he said. “Some in the clubs are now recommending against riding along Wildcat Canyon and Grizzly Peak Blvd.”
Another cyclist told Berkeleyside she too, may have nearly been the victim of a robbery after a driver in a “small, black, racy car” blocked her route Saturday at about 11:30 a.m. on Grizzly Peak between Fish Ranch Road and the Tilden steam train.
“I was riding up Grizzly Peak toward Tilden, about a quarter-mile uphill from Fish Ranch, when suddenly a small black car tried to run me off the road by veering right and stopping abruptly right in front of me,” she told Berkeleyside. “A black SUV was right behind it, effectively boxing me in (no escape route as there was no shoulder in that spot). Fortunately both cars took off quickly (leaving me unharmed), and I am not sure if it was because other cyclists were coming up the hill in the distance.”
The East Bay hills are policed by a patchwork of local law enforcement agencies serving UC Berkeley, Berkeley, Oakland, Orinda and the East Bay Regional Park District. That often makes finding out about public safety incidents in the hills a challenge.
Berkeleyside has asked the Oakland Police Department — which may have handled several of the incidents near the Berkeley border — for additional information about these cases. Berkeleyside will update this story if additional details are made available.
The recent armed robberies of cyclists are taking place amid a broader armed robbery series that has been under investigation in Berkeley and neighboring cities. Police have not said which incidents may be part of that series, citing the ongoing investigation.
BPD did say, however, during a public safety town hall Wednesday night on Zoom, that local police have made three arrests in connection with that investigation. Additional work is underway.
Note: Berkeleyside added details about the incident near Fish Ranch Road after publication when they became available and also clarified that it was Grizzly Peak Cyclist club members, not club leadership, who shared the information about Wildcat Canyon.