50 bikes stolen day before safety training for kids in Alameda

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- A group of Alameda 4th graders got a tough lesson this week when someone stole a truck of donated bicycles just before an educational bike safety program.

The bicycles belonged to Cycles Of Change, an Oakland-based nonprofit. For 21 years, Cycles Of Change has been teaching kids bike safety.

"One of the most gratifying jobs I've ever had," said Eri Oura who is a co-coordinator of the in-school bike program for Cycles of Change.

This past week in Alameda, 4th graders at Maya Lin Elementary School and their parents got an unexpected lesson when someone stole a truck with 50 bikes from 8th Street and Santa Clara Avenue.

"I can't even explain it to myself," said mom Kris Vulgan when asked how she explained it to her 9-year-old daughter.

The truck had been parked on school property for two weeks without any problems.

"We were parking the truck on campus and then the district came and was like 'oh the blacktop isn't made for vehicles to drive on it' so we were asked to park it off campus," said Oura.

"It's because the truck is so heavy and we have a fairly new asphalt blacktop out there and it actually damages the asphalt," said Susan Davis, a spokeswoman with the Alameda Unified School District.

"We put a club on it, put locks on it, like locked the doors, we'd be okay, but we came back in the morning and the truck was gone," said Oura.

The Alameda Police Department is now investigating.

As for the likelihood of finding the truck with the bikes in it, Lt. Hoshman Durani said, "If they knew that the bikes were in there and stole it maybe the bikes are already taken, if not, maybe they abandoned the truck somewhere and we can recover it."

Cycles of Change is supposed to be at another school next week.

"We need secure bike storage when we're doing programs and so it's a lesson for us," said Oura.

Cycles Of Change needs donations now more than ever, especially to replace all of the stolen bikes. Maya Lin Elementary School is one of several donation drop-off locations.

The others are in Oakland and Alameda.

- The Oakland Bikery, 1246 23rd Avenue

- Main Library, Oakland Public Library, 125 14th Street

- Maya Lin Elementary, 825 Taylor Avenue, Alameda

- Alameda Fire Station 4, 2595 Mecartney Road

- Alameda Recreation and Parks Department offices, 2226 Santa Clara Avenue

- Alameda Point Collaborative, 677 W Ranger Avenue

You can also donate online at cyclesofchange.org/donate

Vulgan and her daughter decided to donate her daughter's bike.

The Alameda Police Department is asking anyone with information about this theft to contact them.
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