GRESHAM, OR (KPTV) - A Gresham cyclist needs your help after he was attacked along a local trail.
Jay Hamlin says he was training for a road race when he was randomly assaulted by two young men who robbed him of his custom Italian Colnago 660 road bike.
“If they can do this to a 69-year-old man in broad daylight, they’re capable of pretty much anything,” Hamlin told FOX 12.
The attack happened around 4:15 p.m. Thursday when Hamlin was riding eastbound on the Springwater Corridor Trail approaching SE 128th Avenue in Portland.
He says he saw two young African American men walking on the trail approaching him but didn’t think anything of it.
“They looked like normal people to me, they didn’t look like a threat. That area of the trail isn’t a sketchy area of the trail, I’ve always felt safe there,” he added.
But as he passed them, he says he was either pushed or kicked and went flying down an embankment, landing face-first in blackberry bushes.
“Then I felt a tug at the wheel and I thought well they’re going to help me out of here, and then the tug became just a really violent rip,” he said.
He says his foot was wedged in the bike frame, but his attackers were pulling on it – and pulling him in the process.
“He pulls me back up through the bushes, back up the embankment and then about 20 feet on the asphalt,” Hamlin said. “Pulling and tugging and saying let go of the bike, and I’m saying I can’t, I can’t!”
When his foot finally became free, he says the attackers took off.
He was left bloodied and stunned – but still had his cell phone. He called 911 as another cyclist on the trail approached and tried to help chase after the suspects, but it was too late.
“Wherever they went, they disappeared pretty fast, and they were on foot, so I would not be surprised if they don’t live in that area,” he added.
Now, he’s covered in bruises and scratches, and with a fractured ankle, he may need surgery. He’ll be recovering for at least six weeks in a boot, and the attack means the end of his race season this year.
“I didn’t think in a million years something like this would happen to me, not in a million years,” he said.
He posted about the attack on Facebook and soon a network of friends and fellow cyclists were keeping an eye out for the unmistakable custom road bike.
Then Saturday, someone saw it near Powell and 86th and captured a video as they drove by. Hamlin has now shared that video on Facebook, too.
Unfortunately, a day passed between when the video was taken and when Hamlin first saw it, and by the time police checked out the area the bike was nowhere to be found.
Hamlin says someone else reported seeing it Tuesday night near where Foster crosses the trail, but it was being ridden by a white man with a black baseball cap. Hamlin worries it’s been sold and he may not have long before it’s parted out or unrecognizable.
As a man who has been riding and racing since the 70’s, cycling is a huge part of his life. Now, he’s not sure whether he’ll ever feel safe riding alone on the trail again.
“On the one hand, I don’t want this guy to take this away from me, but on the other hand, it’s been so shocking and so rough,” Hamlin said.
He’s hoping that anyone who might recognize the man in the video will call police, and if you spot his stolen bike, call police right away so a timely report can be given in hopes of recovering it. Reference case #19-233489.
In the meantime, friends on Hamlin’s cycling team have set up a GoFundMe account to help him. You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/1p263semo0
Portland Police are investigating.
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