A London cyclist was attacked and had his bike taken by two masked men during an ambush on a popular cycle route, not far from the scene of previous similar bikejackings.
road.cc reader Ben was left bleeding "fairly profusely" after being struck in the nose during the attack and said he had even taken precautions such as not using it at night since reading about other incidents on the South Bermondsey stretch of Cycleway 10, but still became the latest bikejacking victim on Sunday 12 March.
In October, we reported a cyclist had been threatened with a "foot-long knife" during a robbery approximately 300m further along the stretch of C10 where the latest incident occurred. A month earlier graffiti warning cyclists of attacks was sprayed on the entrance to the section past Millwall Football Club's The Den stadium, just a couple of minutes away from this incident too.
Now, Ben says he and his girlfriend will be "avoiding it alltogether", saying the route "just isn't safe" as "the reasons that make it a great cycle route are the same reasons it makes a great place for theft".
"It just isn't safe," he told road.cc. "I just want to warn other people from using it altogether, especially if using a semi-fancy bike, just to prevent the same thing from happening again. The only time I believe it might be safe is on the commute, when the route is busy, but even then I don't think safety can be guaranteed."
Having left his girlfriend's flat in nearby Deptford Foundry at around 10.15am, Ben rode his Brompton through Folkestone Gardens to the Surrey Canal Road to then join C10, passing Millwall Football Club and South Bermondsey Station.
He described the route as "medium busy" but there had been a lull in cycle traffic for a couple of minutes when he crossed the bridge over the A2208, rode into Stubbs Drive and made the turn into Rossetti Road.
"I was met by two men in tracksuits — just by Da Vinci Court (one black tracksuit, one all turquoise tracksuit), hoods up and face coverings on — all I could see were their eyes," he explained.
"There was no way of pre-empting running into them, or being able to avoid them — it was as if they knew this was the perfect corner to wait around and that I was on my way on a Brompton, which seem to be targeted, and with no other cyclists around me.
"I tried to cycle around them but with only five to 10 seconds between turning the corner and running into them, the man in the turquoise tracksuit stepped into my way as I tried to avoid them and then either punched or used his forearm to connect with my nose and mouth which then forced me and my bike to the ground.
"As the man in the black tracksuit grabbed my bike, the man in the turquoise tracksuit stood over me to intimidate me to make sure I wasn't getting up. Given the force of the hit, I was fairly dazed — so didn't even think of getting up.
"The man who took my bike cycled down Rossetti Road towards Sheppard Drive, while the man who stood over me ran down Stubbs Drive and back towards South Bermondsey Station.
"I was left on the ground, my nose bleeding fairly profusely (think kill bill) and not able to call the police myself as there was so much blood on my phone."
Having walked for a couple of minutes and sought help from two women, the police were called and "one of their first comments was 'oh, this happens a lot around here'."
"They are fully aware of the problem," Ben said. "They also told me that they knew that this was the perfect place for this kind of ambush — given there is no through-traffic, few pedestrians and enough places to escape to.
"The police looked around for CCTV, took a statement, took the bike model, but I'm pretty certain there isn't much else that can be done and I'm fully expecting my bike to never be returned."
Last autumn another local cyclist told us he has "stopped cycling into work entirely" due to fears that he will be targeted by muggers after he saw "men in balaclavas watching cyclists on the route on multiple occasions".
"I've heard about this happening via multiple sources for months and the police absolutely can't be bothered," Euan told us.
In August, a member of the Lewisham Cyclists Facebook group reported that a female cyclist was attacked and had her bike stolen by "two men in balaclavas" in the same area.
"I was pushed off my bike and robbed by boys in masks a couple of years ago near that route," another female cyclist said.
By September the situation had become so bad that a graffitied warning of thefts and robberies on the route was daubed on the entrance to one section.
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