Wear a helmet. Ride at your own risk. Obey the rules of the road. Bring a pump, tube and tools. Be courteous towards your fellow riders and the public.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Kent Quong - 1976

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!

Kent Quong


  1. I second Kent's comment... wow, I remember all those guys, those were great times! I started in 1976 also. I was just starting to ride and learned a lot from the more experienced guys in the group. I remember some of the early rides left the Biz and went down South Land Park at some point and came out on Pocket road. Then over the bridge at Freeport. I used to work at Skip's Bikes on Florin and would catch the group at SLP and FLorin. A lot of fun memories.

    1. Hey Dan, good to hear from you! If you have a good story to tell, it would be really great to hear it. I am collecting stories and history about the ride. Feel free to message us at our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SacramentoRiverRide
      or email me at charleshutcheson@gmail.com

  2. Dan, sorry I left your name out! I knew there were two Bartletts out there! Were you the one that bought my Woodrup frame from Kendall?

    Chuck, I don't remember any Italian accents but the rest of what you envisioned is correct! The Bell "turtle shell" helmet came out right about that time along with Cool Gear's hard shell helmet (which resembled a hockey helmet!). I stuck with the hairnet with a Clement cap over it for the Euro-look though! We brought our Detto Pietro shoes into a shoe repair shop next to Towers on Broadway to get the cleats nailed on but we did get Pumas, with attached adjustable cleats, within the next year or two. Steve and I started off with down tube shifters but soon learned from the "masters" that we had to run a bar-end shifter to control the rear derailleur with so we wouldn't have to reach down to shift during the dash for the line. That was the hot set-up which I think Harvey may have started(?)!

  3. I started doing the river ride in 75 or 76. I started riding with Jess Polakoff, Jim Gaston, Tom Bartlett, Steve Uhler, Mike Fitzwater and others in 1975. I joined SGW, shortly after it was formed. The sponsor was Juan Cuervo.
    I still ride the same fix gear bike, 42 x 17, romani Italian steel frame. Bobby Edwards tough Norm Alvis and Me to ride cyclocross. Still riding, but race primarily cyclocross.
    We bought leg warmers at the ballet shop. Sally Edwards had just started Fleet Feet in the front room of an Victorian on J Street (?).