|Matt Gass, near the Diablo Summit, sometime in the 70s.|
Sometime in the early-mid 70s I bought a Gitane Grand Sport Deluxe from a now-defunct bike shop on Mt. Diablo Boulevard in Walnut Creek. I ued it to commute to Diablo Valley College. I few years later my neighborhood friend, Matt Gass, who was a cyclist and a garage sale explorer suggested I go with him in search of the restorable saxophones he enjoyed searching for. We started spending Saturdays and Sundays riding all over the county, garage sale to garage sale. We never found much, but we rode a lot.
Matt had a Stella bicycle and, unusual for the time, a helmet. He always said his brain was worth protecting. So I bought a Bell Biker too.
He taught me how to draft, ride with a group, clean my chain and replace a freewheel. He took me on a ride up to the Mt. Diablo summit for the first time(42 x 26...30 pounds of steel... I was younger then.)
Matt had a wonderful quirk I never told him I noticed for fear he'd stop. He was unable to ride past an animal and not make the sound of that animal. Riding up Pig Farm Hill was always fun because I knew he'd be oinking before the ride was over.
We rode together constantly until he moved to attend UC Davis. His departure made cycling a lot less fun for a long time. I still remember him fondly when I ride some of our old routes, like our "Tour of Walnut Creek" or past Easy Street in Danville.