1960s: Biking thru Coastside Paradise & then…”Dystentery Stew” for Lunch
Story by Stephen Lubin
Email Steve: [email protected]
Prelude: I actually saw more of Erich von Neff at races and multi club rides than at Pete’s. He belonged to the SF Wheelmen and I belonged to Pedali Alpini, which was centered more in the Woodside to Los Altos area. We often rode over Hwy 92 (which was safe in those days) or over LaHonda Road and returned by 92. These days we use Old LaHonda and Tunitas Creek.
When I first started riding in 1961, Pete’s was on Kelly Street behind Cunha’s. The building next to Cunha’s was a funeral parlor and Petes was next door. A few years later the building was demolished to make the parking lot which is there now. Pete moved to the triangle at Main and Purissima. I think he was where the little park is now.
Some of my new school clubmates refused to go in. They called his fare “dysentery stew”. The “old school “riders loved it. He had photos of Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali (Italian Pro Stars from the 40’s) on the wall. If you arrived on a bike he would give you a heaping plate of spaghetti with meat sauce for 25 cents. If any was left on the plate he would scrape it back into the huge pot simmering on the stove. I imagine it being a continuous culture over the years. Pete eventually got a mail order (?) Japanese bride. I imagine that they couldn’t understand each other’s languages but she became a fixture at the restaurant. He had an old Coca Cola top hinged cooler with a bottle opener on the front. There was a supply of Cokes and Orange Nehi inside.
In the middle 60’s Pedali riders hung out in the windows of Peterson & Alsford’s in San Gregorio alongside Ken Kesey and the Hell’s Angels. There was a bug eye MG Sprite among the choppers. I went to architecture school in Eugene, Oregon in the fall of 1968 about the same time Kesey moved back to Springfield (across the river from Eugene) where his family owns the Springfield Creamery. When Thalia & I returned to California in 1972 we missed Springfield’s Nancy’s Honey Yogurt. Now you can get it all over.
One more memory: In 1965 and 1966 Tom Preuss put on the Tour del Mar Bike race (/originally /sponsored by Pedali Alpini/, but taken over by Belmont Bicycle Club in Tom’s era/). I think the race had been going on since 1956 or so, but in those days it was an early morning event so we wouldn’t get caught. Tom made it a well publicized festival of bike racing culminating in an awards ceremony and dance at the IDES Hall in Pescadero featuring the Qucksilver Messenger Service *and* the Grateful Dead.
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