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Tracing Tracy Territory

Tracy connections lead to discovery of ‘Bike Angels’

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Last week, I told of my telephone contact with Pam Wilson Lundeen in Fairbanks, Alaska, as part of reporting the connection between Baylor University’s recently-crowned NCAA national championship basketball team and Pam’s twin brother, Tracy High basketball record-setter Allen Wilson.

Allen’s receipt of a full-ride basketball scholarship to Baylor in 1968 was the main connection. Allen’s playing career at Baylor, however, was cut short by a severe knee injury, but he remained a diehard Baylor fan until his death in 2001.

Well, in contacting Pam, I recalled that just a few weeks ago I received an envelope in the mail from Pam’s sister, Mary Wilson, who with her husband, Jim, operates the Naughty Boy Wineries in Potter Valley near Ukiah.

Mary, who uses her initials to go by the name of Emjay, enclosed a clipping from the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat that told about programs in Sonoma County communities where used bicycles are being restored for sale at low prices — mostly to cover the cost of new parts — to families unable to pay today’s sky-high prices for new bikes for their children.

One of those “bike angels” who makes the non-profit Community Cycles program possible in Cloverdale, just north of Healdsburg, is former Tracyite David J. “Dave” Macial.

Mary wrote: “David is the kind of person that was raised in Tracy, went to the Plunge (managed by Mary’s dad, Tracy’s first fulltime Recreation Director Joe Wilson) and cares!”

The newspaper account, written by Press-Democrat columnist Chris Smith, told that Maciel, whom he described as “a bike-avid retiree of 66,” spotted a newspaper article about bike-for-kids programs in area towns and mentioned to his wife, Bridgette, that it would be easy enough for him to pick up a couple of children’s bikes, restore them and make them available to kids who’d like a bike but can’t afford one.

“It just snowballed from there,” Dave is quoted by columnist Smith as saying. “I’ve never seen anything take off so fast.”

Last Saturday, Cloverdale’s community bike program held a bicycle sale, offering children’s bikes at a minimum price of $60 plus parts and adult bike starting at $100 and parts.

The high prices of new bicycles these days coupled with the growing popularity of bike-riding for both children and adults make the Cloverdale program all the more appealing, and intriguing, as a community venture. And who knows, Dave Maciel’s experience in Cloverdale just might ignite interest in a similar program in the town where he grew up attending St. Bernard’s School and Tracy High.

I’m certain there are bicycle enthusiasts in the ole tank town who would love to make restored bikes available to Tracy youngsters. We’ll see if there are any potential volunteers ready to give it a try.

Sam Matthews. Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by email at shm@tracypress.com.

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