A bicycle nonprofit in Oakland is scrambling to rebuild and restock after thieves made off with thousands of dollars in cash, bikes and equipment over the weekend.
Thieves targeted a community bike shop named The Bikery, and its staffers say the loss is all the more upsetting because there are few bike shops in the San Antonio-Fruitvale neighborhoods that cater to needy families.
"What was particularly heartbreaking is we really try to be an accessible resource to the community," said Eugene Kang of Cycles for Change.
For the past nine years, the goal of The Bikery was never to sell pricey mountain bikes. The nonprofit’s mantra is make bicycles accessible for everybody. But that goal will be hard to reach, after thieves stormed into the store early Sunday morning and stole 35 bicycles, bike parts and the cash register, which contained several hundred dollars.
"All of our bicycles are up-cycled, they’re donated," Kang said. "We fix them up, and we have programs that give bikes away. ... They took the whole thing, they took the till."
Kang estimated the total loss at $20,000. "It’s a pretty deep hit for a small organization like ours," he said.
It’s not the first time thieves have dealt a financial blow to The Bikery. Back in January 2016, a box truck filled with bikes for a school program was stolen, Kang said. Fifty-two bicycles and 350 helmets were in the U-Haul, items that were supposed to be donated to local students.
"We had a ton of support the previous time we had an incident," Kang said. "I think we have a lot of faith in our community kind of pulling us through."
Anyone wishing to donate an old bike to The Bikery should visit the Cycles of Change website.