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Early Club History - 1968-1978

The Early History was excerpted from Ken Montgomery's club history document, circa 1992

In the early summer of 1968, Audrey Belarde, sister of Cliff Belarde, read a notice of a moonlight bike ride in the newspaper. A group, including members of the Belarde Family and Miles "Woody" Wood, decided it sounded like fun and agreed to attend. The ride was sponsored by the American River Wheelmen. They rode from Eppie's in Florin Center to Elk Grove starting at 11:00 PM and returning to Eppie's for breakfast at 3:00 AM. The group joined the American River Wheelmen and enjoyed the biking, but as time went by decided they could not live with their style of leadership. So in the Fall of 1968 they were motivated to organize their own bike club. Woody became the first president and Cliff his vice-president. The club affiliation was with A.Y.H. (American Youth Hostel). And thus was born the SACRAMENTO BIKE HIKERS. Their dedication for many years provided the sound foundation that has made the Sacramento Bike Hikers the oldest remaining bike club in the area.

This history was compiled from old ride schedules, fliers, and newsletters that are in the club archives and from the records of Sam Lambert. If there are things of significance that you know have been left out, please let us know. The long term goal of this history is to preserve the records of the club as accurately as possible, and as such, is presented here so you may know how our club has evolved to the present (Hopefully, additions to this club history will be made by the current members of the club. If there's anything you can do to help, please let us know).

In this picture, Co-Founders Cliff Belarde and Miles (Woody) Wood present a patch to Dwight Eberly, the designer of the club's first logo.

In the early years, club meetings were held at the A.Y.H. facilities at Cal Expo, in members' homes and sometimes after one of the rides.

In 1969, the club adopted the name SACRAMENTO BIKE HIKERS, suggested by Pat Dane. In August l970, there was a pilot North Coast Tour and in August 1971, a pilot Lassen Tour. The members voted for an annual North Coast Tour - so in August 1972, our first North Coast Tour started. Cliff Belarde led the first six tours assisted by Miles (Woody) Wood, Dwight Eberly and others (1972-1977). Gene and Susan Chase led the tour for three years (1978-1980), and then Frankie and Wayne Kincannon took over and along with Bill Ralston. Mike and Sandy Fox led the last Tour in 1995, Ken Montgomery ran it as a 'weekender' in 1996 and its fate is unknown for 1997.

The first club logo & ride schedule masthead were designed by Dwight Eberly in 1971.

The club's rides have always been posted on a quarterly basis. Our earliest surviving ride schedule is from January-February-March 1971. The club started with 4 to 6 rides each month which ranged in grade from what would now be called an 'F' ride, such as along American River Drive, to 'A' rides from Plymouth to Fiddletown. The Rating code used at the time was E, C, C+, B, A and AA. Anyone could come on the 'E' rides, but you had to have completed a 'Qualification Level' to do the harder rides. A 'C' ride had a '25-in-3' (25 miles in 3 hours or less) qualification. The 'C+' a '25-in-2'. The 'B' level was a '50-in-5'. The 'A' grade was a '75-in-7'. And the AA was a '100-in-8' qualification. You earned a patch, like the one drawn here, that you would sew to your jersey. This would allow you to do the harder rides.You could bring your single speed or 3-speed to the 'E' rides but the upper qualifications required a 10 speed bike.
Other activities included raft trips, progressive dinners and pool parties. Work crews put up fences, poured concrete and planted grass and shrubs at the Cal-Expo A.Y.H.

In April 1972 it was decided our club colors would be canary yellow and kelly green. Did you know we had a club motto? "Not For Myself Alone But For The Group." 

In 1973 the club bought a wheel truing stand that members could 'check-out' for $1 to help defray costs. (Gee, I wonder where it went!) In October 1973, the club was affiliated with L.A.W. (League of American Wheelmen).

In April of 1974 a spin-off group from the Bike Hikers formed the Sacramento Wheelmen (not to be confused with the Capitol City Wheelmen, formed in 1886). Doug Klein, founder and first President of the Wheelmen, felt there was a need for a singles type touring club with more socializing than offered by the family oriented Bike Hikers. Their emphasis has shifted (as has ours) over the years, but they still share a number of members with the Bike Hikers.

In April 1975, affiliation with A.Y.H. was dropped. For a time in 1975, each ride schedule had a complete route map printed of one of that quarter's rides. In l975, the L.A.W. Sanctioned Century led by Dr. Don Bouchard was our first Century Ride.

In the last quarter of 1976 the club started a Trainee Ride series. These were set up to become more challenging as the season progressed. Cam Lambert was the coordinator for this series and it continued through 1979.

In 1977, the club inaugurated the annual El Dorado Century -led by Mark Drake, Bill Ralston and Gail Rothwell. Our club membership totaled 59, with 13 of those being family memberships.

Shown here are Frankie and Wayne Kincannon at Sand Flats, September 1976

In January 1978, our newsletter, the Leaky Valve (named by Dale Kemery) started. After several variations in style, the Ride Schedule took on its current form.

1978 was a busy year. Tracking of member ride mileage started for the first time in January and was recorded by the Recording Secretary (Vicki Drake). All club-sponsored rides counted, including the El Dorado Century. Mark Drake of Elk Grove Bike America was carrying our club jerseys (Kucharik, made in green and yellow) and the price had gone up from $17.17 to $18.95.

The club was extremely active in bicycle safety programs and worked with the Sacramento police department, who assigned a traffic sergeant to work with the club. There was talk of running radio and TV public service ads to promote safe cycling and a fund was established to provide resource costs. Also in 1978 much new camping equipment was purchased, encouraging joint rides with out of town bike clubs. The map library was developed, we obtained a club banner, made a new club patch, obtained a storage shed, and made many donations to local associations (namely the Lung, Heart, and Diabetes Associations). 215 riders rode in the El Dorado Century in 1978.

One of the members (Jack Tillotson) had hip surgery to replace a ball and socket and was out for 6 months. Forty-two people were on the North Coast Tour in both 1978 and 1979.

Christmas parties had been held in previous years, but starting in 1978 the party was moved to January (1979) and became a combination of potluck, awards presentation (first year for this) and installation of new officers (held at the Crofoot Park Clubhouse in the south area). Sam and Cam Lambert were named 1978 Club Members of the Year.