Wednesday, April 11, 2012

In the begining

matt gass
Matt Gass, near the Diablo Summit, sometime in the 70s.
Fans of me, and this blog, have been asking for ages "Yes, but where did it all start?" It's time to reveal my humble roots and at the same time, marvel that I can still even ride.

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.


  1. Anonymous11:09 PM

    I lived most of my life in Virginia Beach before moving to West Virginia, and starting road cycling. The only time I saw "farm animals" were on grade school field trips, or going to the petting zoo section of Busch Gardens. Seriously. Every time I see cows/horses/donkeys/goats, I end up yelling that in a very cutesy way. My LBS friends say I'm trying to find a(nother) lover, while for me, I'm just excited to see "foreign" animals!

    Life is great out here~

  2. Very cool story of your beginnings in the cycling world. Fortunately for me my first helmet was second generation Bell which was 15% less dorky! Now you have bike that's half the weight and a helmet that's about 1/4 the weight of your first. I bet you would destroy your younger self on a climb now.!

  3. Midland3:35 PM

    Love the history lesson's Curtis.

  4. Not farm animals... but I do an awesome turkey gobble.

  5. Still riding my Bridgestone RB2. The Nishiki is gone. I'm a little younger than you - helmets and gloves were cool by the time I started wearing spandex. I remember that the cycling made my mother nervous - but not as much as the spandex :)


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