Cyclist beaten on Metropolitan Branch Trail brings out Guardian Angels

File photo: Associated Press

A 37-year-old bicyclist was severely beaten Tuesday afternoon on the Metropolitan Branch Trail, which runs near Third and R streets in Northeast.{ }

The Silver Spring man who was attacked and didn’t want to be identified, was simply headed home from work in D.C., on a trail he uses almost every day.

"A group of kids," the victim describes. "And one of the kids peeled away from the group and just came running at me. One of them clocked me as hard as they could."

“I can't make sense of this, it's just random,” he says. “Hope I can regain the courage to keep riding."

Fortunately, a group called the Guardian Angels has now taken the initiative and started to hand out leaflets urging trail users to be on alert.

John Ayala, spokesman for Washington DC Guardian Angels, says: "If it doesn't look right, it's not right." Ayala suspects that these attacks are part of a youth initiation.

"A lot of times what they'll do is jump someone, beat them, and they'll videotape it," he explains.

The busy trail cuts through the Eckington neighborhood in Northeast. Jennifer Gerholdt lives nearby, She rode by moments after the violent attack and helped aid the victim.

"I would love to see more police ... so people like myself are not afraid," she says.

Last year around the same time, at least five people were robbed in separate incidents on the trail, some at gunpoint.

Most troubling in this recent case is that it doesn't appear the young thugs wanted anything.

"I had an iPhone attached to my handle bar,” the most recent victim says. “No interest in taking from me."

{ }

{ }