How have you imagined the first River Rides? Imagine a bunch of skinny guys with wool jerseys speaking with fake Italian accents hammering away on the South River Road in the cross winds? Toe clips, down tube shifters and hair-net helmets? Suspect a mustache or two thrown in for good measure? If this is how you imagined the first ride, you would be real close (less the accents!). Here is our first post on the History of the Sacramento River Ride. Enjoy!
I did my first River Ride (RR) in 1976. Kendall Lecompte, owner of the Bicycle Business at the time, had told my friend Steve Mar and I about the ride after we had inquired on the Wednesday night Cal Expo twilight races.
There was only a Tuesday and Thursday RR back then. We met at the Biz, rode straight down Freeport Blvd where there was a sprint for the town of Freeport sign. The rest of the ride was the same as it is today, well, pre-detour that is.
The group, as I remember, was usually 10-12 riders in size on a good day! Those riders included characters such as Mike Williams, Steve Uhler, Tim Imai, Bob Duvall, Robbie Franklin, Bill McClasky, Jess Polakoff, Greg and Bobby Edwards, Harvey Nitz, Tom Bartlett and a few more I'm sure I'm forgetting (sorry for any mispelling of names!). I remember the times when Harvey would bring his Palo Alto Bike Shop teammate Ron Miller (for whom the Ron Miller Gaslight Jr's race is a memorial for) out and just destroy everyone! Good times!
I had the pleasure of talking/reuniting(?) with Greg Edwards after the Saturday "B" group ride two weeks ago. We were talking about touring (that's what us old guys do I guess?) since I was on my MTB and without knowing who he was, I asked him how long he had been cycling and he said since 74 and that was locally. I then asked if he was ever a SGW (only game in town at the time) member and he said yes. I told him that he and his brother used to school my friend Steve and I while on their track bikes (we didn't refer to them a 'fixies' back then!!!). According to Greg, when he, his brother, and Tom Bartlett started the RRs, they were done solely on said track bikes. I also told him that he and his brother TOLD Steve and I that they would turn us into bike racers! Funny thing because Harvey had told us the same thing! Turns out they were right but forgot to add 'mediocre' when they said it!
Thirty sevens years later I'm still a mediocre rider riding the same river roads. It's great to see Mike, Steve Uhler, Greg, and Bill still out there. Hoping for another 37 years! Enjoy the ride!