Calgary

Calgary cyclist's neck sliced by barbed wire strung across trail

A Calgary cyclist had his neck sliced by barbed wire strung across a trail earlier this week.

The wire 'hit me right in the neck like a ton of bricks,' Stelianos Psaroudakis says

Stelianos Psaroudakis says he was out for a fun evening ride but ended up having his neck sliced. (Julie Debeljak/CBC)

A Calgary cyclist says he had his neck sliced by barbed wire strung across a trail earlier this week.

Stelianos Psaroudakis said he was out for a fun evening ride in West Bragg Creek Provincial Recreation Area — about 40 kilometres west of Calgary — at about 8 p.m. MT on Wednesday.

Early into his ride, he went down a hill standing up when he saw something in his peripheral vision.

"It was too late," he told CBC News Friday afternoon. "Just hit me right in the neck like a ton of bricks."

His neck is sliced from side to side, more than half a centimetre deep in places.

'Trying to kill somebody'

Psaroudakis, a lifelong cyclist, believes the barbed wire was intentionally hung to hurt somebody. The wire was attached to a tree on either side of the trail at the bottom of a hill around a corner.

"They're malicious. They're trying to kill somebody. This is like attempted murder," he said. "If it was like ... an inch higher, it would have taken my head off."

Stelianos Psaroudakis found his neck cut by a barbed wire when riding his bike. (Julie Debeljak/CBC)

His lower back is badly bruised because the wire "clotheslined me so I flew up in the air and landed on a rock." He lost consciousness and his liver was lacerated. Doctors found internal bleeding but he says they believe those injuries will heal without surgery.

His friend was following at least 15 metres behind him, and wasn't caught by the wire.

"He saw my head tilt completely backwards," Psaroudakis said. "He was crying when he came to me because he thought I was dead."

His dog named Kiwi flew out of his backpack at the crash. (Julie Debeljak/CBC)

Psaroudakis has a chihuahua named Kiwi who travels in his backpack on bike rides. Kiwi flew out and lost hair on the side of her face, he said.

Bike stolen

The two cyclists, both from Calgary, took down the wire. Leaving the bike on the trail, they went back to their vehicle to drive to the hospital.

The next day, the bicycle had disappeared from the trail.

It's a black and gold carbon 2008 Stumpjumper FSR made by the high performance bike manufacturer, Specialized.

Psaroudakis is asking for donations through an online fundraising campaign, with a goal of raising $8,000, which he says he wants to use to buy a new bike, pay for his related bills and buy automated trail cameras to "donate" to the mountain bike trails in the area "and make them safe."

Similar models of the mountain bike sold for $5,700 US (around $7,350 in Canadian dollars) brand new, according to BicycleBlueBook.com, but the used value of the bike nowadays is around $1,200 US ($1,550 Canadian) for one that's in "excellent" condition.

It's not the first crowdfunding campaign Psaroudakis has launched. In June, he asked for donations to help cover costs to get his chihuahua back, saying the pet had escaped his home and had been impounded by the City of Calgary.

Southern Alberta RCMP have released a photo of the missing bike in hopes of finding it and the person who secured the barbed wire to the trees.

RCMP in Cochrane released this photo of the bike stolen from the trail. (Cochrane RCMP)

"Our best bet is public help," RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Curtis Peters said. "It's too early in the investigation to say what their intentions were. But regardless of the intentions, somebody got hurt."

Psaroudakis says he feels lucky he wasn't more badly injured. "When I blacked out, I thought my head was dangling on the other side of my body," he said. "I thought I was dead."

Local cycling organizations are cautioning riders to be careful on the trails until the police have finished the investigation.

Corrections

  • Stelianos Psaroudakis's missing bike is not worth $8,000, as an earlier version of this story stated. Rather, that is the total amount he is aiming to raise through his crowdfunding campaign, which he says he wants for buying a replacement bike, in addition to paying his related bills and buying trail cameras to "donate" to the mountain bike trails in the West Bragg Creek area.
    Jul 11, 2017 10:24 AM MT

With files from Elizabeth Snaddon, Kate Adach, Julie Debeljak