I've been enjoying my commutes so far this winter. That ended on Friday night.
I live in a very diverse neighborhood, with everything from stately victorian houses and mansions to housing projects within a 3 block radius. This means, essentially, that I travel through what many consider to be 'the hood' on a daily basis.
Friday I worked a double shift of 14 hours and began my ride home as usual. We have been getting some foul weather around here lately with our first signifcant snowfalls, and I have been very pleased with my first season on studded tires. I got two friendly honks early on during my ride home starting at 10pm.
Around 10:40 I was approximately 4 blocks from home, approaching a convenience store that caters in large part to the housing projects a few blocks north of where I live. As I got nearer, I saw that there was a large crowd of people hanging out on the sidewalk in front of the store. Getting nearer still, about five of the group of 12+ begin walking non-chalantly across the street generally towards a pizza shop on the other side. Aside from the large crowd, this is a regular sight, and I continue per usual. Two of the five slow down and stop in the middle of the street as if to let me pass in front of them rather than behind. I am left with the most sensible choice to continue on my path and go between this group.
I make eye contact with one of the people in the middle of the street, to my left, as I pass between the group. Just at this moment, one of the others to my right turns around and throws a haymaker into my ski-type goggles on the right side of my face.
This was no minor blow, and I go down right away, bike sliding away from me. I immediately get to my feet and begin to put distance between me and the group, which now separates me and the bike, as I say twice "I don't want any trouble!"
They begin to swarm me and soon I am receiving multiple blows to the face at the same spot on my goggles/cheekbone, as well as to the back of the head. I stumble and slide in the slush on the street trying to make sense of what is going on. They aren't just trying to steal my bike, they are beating me to a pulp as their audience hoots and hollers in entertainment. I scramble and notice that blood has began to splash up on the inside of my goggles.
I manage to stay on my feet and get to the sidewalk where I glance back and see the group coming towards me still, and one of the on-lookers already mounting my bike and trying to pedal down the street. I decide my bike [~$2000] is beyond a lost cause at this point and begin to run as fast as possible down the side street.
Four blocks later I am inside my front door, face covered in blood, with a large gash under my eye. This is not the way I wanted to finish an extra long day at work!!