UPDATED 09/02/11 6:29 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Four youths have been charged with mugging a bicyclist on the Lakefront Bike Path near 31st Street Wednesday night.

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David Coxhead, a 37-year-old Hyde Park resident, was riding the bike path near the 31st Street beach around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“It was a really nice night — there were fireworks, and it was beautiful,” he said.

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But suddenly, some kids stepped in front of Coxhead and slowed him down.

It was “really astonishing — the kids were so young,” Coxhead told CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman.

Coxhead told police he was hit with a replica wooden rifle and knocked off of his bike.

“He swung the butt at me, like they were swinging a tennis racquet, so he swung it at my face; hit me right above the eye. I fell down, I kind of resisted a bit, and they started kicking me,” Coxhead said.

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The juveniles kicked and punched Coxhead in the head and demanded money. But Coxhead had no money, only his bag.

One of the offenders grabbed the bag and started walking away when he noticed a squad car making a traffic stop. He then dropped the bag and took the replica gun, and the four ran across the 35th Street overpass over Lake Shore Drive.

Then Coxhead says another group of boys — older than his assailants — came up to him.

“They helped me up and gave me a T-shirt to put over my face because I was bleeding pretty bad. And they called the police.”

Meanwhile, the youths who allegedly attacked Coxhead did not escape. Police took them into custody right afterward.

The four boys – ages 10 to 16 – are charged with aggravated battery and attempted robbery. Police say they were were a part of a bigger group.

There are some security problems with the path. Trees along it offer cover for someone who might have ill will, and bikers tell CBS 2 it’s not well lit.

“From this part to the 39th Street Beach, no lights, nowhere,” one biker said.

Coxhead, a doctoral candidate at the Illinois Institute of Technology, received 11 stitches. He got his keys, books and bike back.

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Coxhead says has taken the lakefront bike path for years from IIT to his Hyde Park home. But now, he says, “I’m probably going to not ride my bike at night anymore.”