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Knife-wielding moped muggers assault cyclist in latest “very targeted” attack at bikejacking hotspot

The 6ft 7in cyclist was pushed into a fence and held down with a knife during the early morning attack last week

Regent’s Park was the scene of yet another violent bikejacking last week, as four muggers on mopeds pushed a cyclist into a fence during an early morning training ride, before holding him down with a knife and scarpering with his bike and Wahoo GPS computer.

This latest attack comes less than two months after the Regent’s Park Cyclists group, supported by British Cycling, Rapha, and Brompton, called on the Metropolitan Police to station more officers at the London crime hotspot in a bid to stem the seemingly constant flow of bikejackings in the area, believed to be the work of violent gangs shipping the high-value bicycles to Russia and which have had a “chilling effect” on the city’s cycling community.

Last Thursday, one local cyclist – a member of the southwest London-based Onyx RT racing team – was riding in Regent’s Park, a popular training ground due to its quiet, sometimes traffic-free roads, early in the morning when he was ambushed by four men on two mopeds, who threatened him with a knife before stealing his bike and computer.

“Sadly another violent bike jacking in Regents Park this morning. A 6ft 7 Onyx RT Racer was assaulted at knifepoint,” one local wrote on a cycling forum describing the incident, the Standard reports.

In a detailed account of the bikejacking also posted on the forum, the victim said: “Two mopeds, two men on each coming towards me at Outer Circle, Regent’s Park. I jumped up the kerb and onto the sidewalk and sprinted. Thought the kerb may protect me from them coming after me.

“They turned around and shouted at me to stop, then pushed me into the fence – I hit the fence. While they were getting off their mopeds I threw my phone into the dark grass. I tried to do the same with my Wahoo, but they grabbed it. Held me down with a knife while frisking me.”

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “Police were called at 04.33am on Thursday, 18 April to reports of a robbery in Avenue Road NW8, near Regent’s Park.

“The victim was robbed of his bicycle by a group of suspects. The man was not injured but was understandably shaken. Officers took the victim home. Enquiries are ongoing.”

Cyclists and police near Regent's Park (Instagram: @rpcyclists)

> British Cycling, Rapha and Brompton join call for more police action for cyclists being “systematically targeted by criminals” in violent bikejackings

Sean Epstein, the chair of the Regent’s Park Cyclists group, said the attack is the latest in a series of “very targeted” and “professional” attacks on cyclists riding high-end bikes in the area, which he says have increased significantly since September and put many people, especially women, off riding their bikes.

“They’re using bikes that have had their plates removed, they’re using balaclavas,” he said. “Every incident is basically exactly the same MO, very quick, very surgical, and all in a very targeted location, very early in the morning.”

In February, Regent’s Park Cyclists – which represents over 30 local cycling clubs and 5,000 cyclists – penned a letter to Metropolitan Police urging it to put a stop to the “chilling” attacks on cyclists.

The letter, addressed to Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley and supported by British Cycling, cycle insurance providers Laka, the London Cycling Campaign, and brands such as Zwift, Rapha, and Brompton, demanded that the Met commit its resources to investigate the “systematic targeting” of cyclists by violent criminals, and to increase its “on-the-ground police presence” in high-traffic areas to help cyclists “feel safe on London roads once again”.

“The pattern of crime is always the same,” Epstein wrote in the letter. “A cyclist is followed by a moped, kicked to the ground while riding at speed, and, once immobilised, threatened with further violence. These crimes appear to target the bikes, which are carried away on the back of the offending moped and presumably sold shortly afterward.

“However, these attacks should not be thought of as simple ‘bike theft’; they are violent crimes which leave victims physically injured and mentally traumatised, often unable to feel safe cycling in London again.”

> Victims call for more police at hotspot for violent bikejacking gangs targeting "list" of high-value bikes

Earlier in the month, victims of these increasingly common bikejackings also called on the Met to station more officers in Regent’s Park, after figures revealed that there are two bikejackings a day in London as a whole.

Scott, a 49-year-old man who was riding a £15,000 Pinarello Dogma on his way to the park at around 5am in mid-December, explained at the time how he was approached “when two guys idled up to me on a motorbike and one said to the other, ‘It’s on the list’.”

Scott said he felt “targeted” as he had no trouble when riding his other bike, worth £1,000, and is in Facebook groups where other bikejackings have been reported.

“It’s normally the same three brands: Pinarello, Bianchi, and [Specialized] S-Works,” he said.

“The police told me there had been a significant number of bike-jackings at that time in the morning. It’s dark and cyclists are vulnerable. My understanding from groups [is] there’s been about eight to ten taken in about a month. I’ve ridden all over the world and it's not an issue in other countries — it seems to be prevalent here.

“"They told me to ‘get off the f***ing bike’ and tried to force me off the road. I fell off and a car stopped and opened the door. I threw my bike in and jumped in and the guys continued to ride around the car shouting, ‘Get out the f***ing car’.

“It was pretty scary. They continued to wait outside the car yelling at us and then a security guard came by and they took off.”

Bike stolen during violent attack by moped rider in Regent's Park (Regent's Park Rouleurs)

> “Copycat” moped mugger kicks cyclist into fence, threatens to stab him, and steals bike in yet another violent bikejacking

Such incidents in the English capital and its bordering counties are nothing new, with numerous similar assaults reported over the past few years. Perhaps the most high-profile of these attacks involved professional cyclist Alexandar Richardson, who was knocked off his bike and dragged for 100 metres by muggers on motorbikes who threatened him with a machete as he trained in south-west London’s Richmond Park.

Last April a teenager, who was 15 at the time of the attack, was sentenced to 12 months for his role in the bikejacking.

However, the spate of recent attacks in Regent’s Park suggest bikejackings there have become the speciality of organised gangs, rather than the, in some cases, apparently opportunistic criminal acts of youths reported in other parts of London and Kent.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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25 comments

Avatar
BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 1 month ago
5 likes

About 20 years ago I was delivering a work shop in a school in Islington (for those who fall for the media myth that Islington is some kind of luvvy, wealthy and affluent Borough, it isn't. It has high levels of deprivation and even more so 20 years ago) Towards the end of the day, some of the kids I was working with told they could leave early and go home. I didn't believe them so I said I will check with their form teacher. I did and it was true. The reason? Because some of the children cycled to school they were permitted to leave early to reduce the risk of having their cycles 'jacked' by other pupils leaving at the same time. Over the following months I looked into this further (in an official capacity) and discovered, by talking to pupils and staff and local police that cycle jacking was endemic. And it still is. 

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CreepingAlong | 1 month ago
5 likes

Meanwhile the police throw significant resource at the Angela Rayner tax issue that should/could  be handled by HMRC....

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Krd51 | 1 month ago
2 likes

And only 12months for the thieving scum bag they caught, thats the real problem should be 10 years minium!!!

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Pub bike | 1 month ago
6 likes

Met urgently needs to take action but to avoid risk of suffocation I don't plan on holding my breath.

In the meantime is it worth riders of bikes on the list disguising their bikes by covering the logos?  Kind of the opposite of hi-viz.  I appreciate that some frames e.g. Pinarello are very recognisable by their shape however and this may not be all the effective. Depends on whether the criminals have done their homework.

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chrisonabike replied to Pub bike | 1 month ago
4 likes

I'm looking forward to a bidding war from the fit and wealthy for my rusty Dawes Galaxy, pretty good "not worth nicking" optics there!  But still rides well (as it ever did).

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Christopher TR1 | 1 month ago
8 likes

surely not too difficult to set up a sting - Plod on a bike with backup nearby, doing laps of Regents/Richmonds.

....if they really wanted to!

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mallardz replied to Christopher TR1 | 1 month ago
1 like

But who's going to lend them their Pinarello?!

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Shelders | 1 month ago
17 likes

If this was the volume of 'car jacking' even if just at 4.30am then likely questions would be raised in Parliament, but you know, it's only cyclists...

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Rendel Harris replied to Shelders | 1 month ago
0 likes

Shelders wrote:

If this was the volume of 'car jacking' even if just at 4.30am then likely questions would be raised in Parliament, but you know, it's only cyclists...

There are about 800 carjackings in London every year...

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Dnnnnnn replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
2 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

There are about 800 carjackings in London every year...

Do you mean "aggravated vehicle taking", which seem to be about that number? They're not all carjacking in the sense of forcing the occupant(s) out of their vehicle. Not that that makes it OK, of course.

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Rendel Harris replied to Dnnnnnn | 1 month ago
3 likes

Ah my mistake, apologies - I saw it on an insurance website with the headling "London is the capital of carjacking" and the first line of the article was "There are more than two aggravated vehcile taking offences in London each day", I wrongly assumed that meant carjackings.

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Secret_squirrel | 1 month ago
0 likes

Can you fit a Police Baton on your pump pegs?

Flash Bang grenade in the waterbottle holder?

What this needs is a concerted operation for a week with riders and bikes with trackers fitted.

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john_smith replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 month ago
0 likes

Or a pistol. Though I suppose it's anyone's guess whether a few of these goons' getting shot would scare the rest off or just encourage them to arm themselves with guns too.

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Kapelmuur replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 month ago
2 likes

I worked with a guy who had a baseball bat clipped to his handlebars.   He used it to bang on the roof of any car that got too close to him.

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Oldfatgit replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 month ago
3 likes

You can clip a height adjustable, aluminium walking stick in to pump pegs quite easily.

And have the added benefit of not carrying a deadly weapon charge to deal with.

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Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
5 likes

Sorry if it's victim blaming, and in an ideal world we shouldn't have to think about these things, but riding around alone on a high-end race bike at 4:30 am, over an hour before sunrise, in an area notorious for the theft of high-end race bikes, doesn't seem that bright an idea.

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Boopop replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
8 likes

It does seem a lot like victim blaming! Many who don't cycle at all would say cycling in the dark, ever, regardless of lights, clothing etc is a bad idea and people shouldn't do it. My dad among them I'm sure!

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Dnnnnnn replied to Boopop | 1 month ago
1 like

I don't know enough about their efficacy but might fitting such bikes with trackers lead - over a little time and a few arrests - to a reduction in these crimes?

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ribena replied to Dnnnnnn | 1 month ago
0 likes

I'm sure I read about a bike jacking in Richmond Park where the trackers were almost immediately removed.

Even if they aren't, what are you going to do against a gang of criminals almost certainly armed with knives?? I wouldn't expect much support from the police. It's not even like the NHS is in great shape if you get injured.

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john_smith replied to ribena | 1 month ago
0 likes

Would plod not welcome the opportunity to catch one of these gangs red-handed?

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mark1a replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
0 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

Sorry if it's victim blaming, and in an ideal world we shouldn't have to think about these things, but riding around alone on a high-end race bike at 4:30 am, over an hour before sunrise, in an area notorious for the theft of high-end race bikes, doesn't seem that bright an idea.

Quick question please on local knowledge - what's the risk like at say, 0530 riding between Battersea & Parliament Square? It's my journey to the start of RideLondon and I'll be on a bike that's "on the list" according to above. Have done it a couple of times before and had no problem, but this has me slightly anxious. Thankfully the previous couple of times there were a few other cyclists heading to the start I could join up with.

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Rendel Harris replied to mark1a | 1 month ago
2 likes

Should be fine, Regent's Park, Richmond Park and the "Paragon" route around Biggin Hill seem to be the hotspots, not heard of people having any trouble going from Battersea to Parliament Square. Maybe ride along the embankment on the north side of the river, which never really gets quiet and is used by lots of police vehicles at all hours, rather than south of the river through Battersea Park if it's that early. Having said that I ride through Battersea Park before sunrise and after sunset throughout the winter and have never had any trouble, but no sense tempting fate...

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mark1a replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
1 like

Nice one cheers. I've previously left York Road, over Battersea Bridge, then along through Chelsea Embankment, Millbank and then by which time, picking up the other riders in the start funnel. Once upon a time, one didn't think to much about bikejacking in London, on the old RideLondon starting from the Olympic Park, I've stayed at the Lee Valley campsite near Edmonton and cycled down the tow path to the velodrome, apparently that's well dodgy now.

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HLaB replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
2 likes

I'm sure the victim wasn't 100% comfortable with it either but as they were there I strongly suspect that others were greater factors for them, traffic etc.

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Geoff Ingram replied to Rendel Harris | 1 month ago
2 likes

Clearly the only ones to blame are the thieves, but equally, everyone knows there are thieves around in a world not ideal and you must take reasonable precautions -if you don't lock up your bike with an approved lock the insurance won't pay out, for example. So ride your cheap bike in dodgy areas -same training benefit.

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