Friend of BaltimoreVelo Jake Soderberg comes as no stranger to a lot of you. A veteran of the weekly Six Pack Rides, Jake is very active in the community and is no stranger to any event, whether it’s the six pack ride, goldsprints or an alleycat.
Jake was recently involved an an incident that nearly resulted in a stolen bike. Unlike most stolen bike stories, however, Jake prevailed. This is his account.
9am — I roll out of the house a little bit early to hit my bank one block away. I cross the street after traffic ceases and I hop on my bike. As I turn the corner, a large group of students, ages 14-17, congregate on the corner across from me, but that’s no big deal. They shout out, “Lemme hold that bike” and so on, but that’s isn’t unusual. I pedal on slowly towards the red light where I was planning on turning, when the entire horde, numbering 12-15 kids, run up on me from behind.
Thankfully, I see them all coming, hop off my bike and swing at them. I didn’t hit anybody but my point was made—I wasn’t going down easily. The momentum from the bike made me fall, and as soon as I hit the ground I went fetal as one of the kids swung a pipe or club.
Nothing happened. No kicks, no punches.
I sprung back up.
A split second later, I was on the ground again. The kid with the club is now behind me. I pull my U-lock and start swinging at the remainder of the kids surrounding me. In the melee, one drops a school bag. I pick it up before giving chase. I turn the corner and there are two adults holding my bike. The kind motorists saw what had happened, pulled over and stopped the kids who were running away with my bike.
I thanked them repeatedly and they go on with their day.
Meanwhile, a security guard emerges from the building in front of me and tells me to keep an eye out. While I‘m on the phone with 911, the kids keep hanging around the corners of the building. About 5 min after I placed the call, the police show up and we proceed to go through the crime scene report paces.