June Morrall (JM) to Don Martinich (DM)
Thank you for the fascinating email! I had no idea there was so much cycling around here. I would love to know more. I did eat at Pete’s Cafe a couple of times before the building vanished….how I wish I had had the experiences you had. How did you get the photo?
DM: I grew up on the Peninsula. My parents, my sister and I moved to sunny San Carlos in 1944 from the foggy Sunset in SF. Â Eventually we ended up in Menlo Park. Â After graduating from Menlo Atherton HS and diddling a bit at CSM I spent 4 years in the Coast Guard. Â Around the time I got out I became highly interested in European bicycle racing and the bikes themselves.
DM: Living along the edge of the northern portion of the Santa Cruz Mountains, it was the obvious place to ride. The coast side of The Hill had a lot of lightly trafficked and scenic roads so it was also a natural place to ride. Â I ended up joining the local cycling club, Pedali Alpini, where I found many riding partners and a little organized competition. Â Back then our races weren’t sanctioned by local authorities so the coastal roads were ideal locations. Â We did time trials near San Greg[orio] and had a road race up and down the coast called the Tour Del Mar.
DM: The photo of Erich [ von Neff] is from a time trial we held in April of 1964. Â After the the time trial several of us repaired to Pete’s for a spaghetti lunch. Â That’s when I snapped the foto of Pete. Â By the way, I was so pleased to find Steve Lubin’s article on Pete’s on you site. Â Steve and I used to ride together quite a bit in the mid-60’s. I have family living on King’s Mountain so I decided to come down from Davis to watch the Tour of California come up Tunitas Canyon last Monday. Â Who should I run into after 40+ years, but, Steve! Â Erich came up in the conversation and it was Steve who suggested that I contact you. Â Actually, I would have probably done that any way. Â The photos that I took of the time trial are going to be part of a web page on vintage cycling I am working on. I will send you the url when I get it up.
(JM): And why are you called “Dutch?” There was a famous “Dutch” Alves in Half Moon Bay.
DM: The name “Dutch” was given to me by a friend in high school and it just stuck. Â I’m not Azorean like the Alves family but my father was born on an island along the Dalmatian coast. Â There are similarities between the two cultures.
JM: What’s your rumrunning connection? I would be honored, truly, if you tell me more.
DM: My father, who grew up in North Beach from 1912 on, had apprenticed as a machinist and became a journeyman in 1920, just in time for prohibition. Â He had a partnership in a saloon for a while and then some people he grew up with got into the import business. Â They bought several WW1 surplus boats and would buy imported liquor from Canada from off the ‘motherships’ that hovered out beyond the 12 -mile limit. Â They would pull into coves in dark of night and offload to small dories who would come in through the surf and unload on the beach. Â People with trucks would be waiting at the designated spots and drive the liquor back up to SF at night and hope to avoid the feds and highjackers.
DM: It all sounds a bit dangerous to me but these guys were all in their early 29’s. Â I remember my Dad mentioning Pedro Point, Moss Beach, and Martin’s Beach as landing sites. Â Imagine braving that surf in the winter!
JM: Erich von NeffÂ is a special writer and I enjoy posting his work.
DM: I loved Erich’s race down the coast story. Â It had a real magical quality to it. I wish there were more.