Adults of the the
Modesto Roadmen

My Thoughts about the Importance of the Adults Who Helped the Modesto Roadmen, An Organization Created and Motivated Without the Help of Adults

by David Steffen

Not to acknowledge the extremely generous and selfless help so many adults gave to The Modesto Roadmen would be both ungrateful and wrong, morally and factually. However, it would, I think, miss the most important feature of The Modesto Roadmen to lose sight of the fact that this was a 100% kid created, kid run organization. We decided we wanted 10-speed bikes, and used money we earned and saved to buy them with no advice or encouragement from our parents or any other adults. Once we had the bikes, we poured over roadmaps, finding interesting places to go and roads to get us there, again, entirely on our own. Nobody pushed us, but we found ourselves riding farther and faster, week by week. We hung out in our local bike shop ("Bab's Cyclery", see Bob Boranian, below) and picked up magazines there in which we found out that people raced bicycles. We contacted ABL of A on our own and figured out the bureaucracy for getting signed up as a racing club on our own. We never recruited for new members, other kids would see us riding, want in on the fun, and our membership would grow. But at various points, despite our best efforts, we would run into barriers we needed adult help to get past. None of us was old enough to drive, so our parents would drive us to races all over Northern California. Henry Laws, my neighbor two houses down, purchased a tandem bicycle (the first we had seen) for he and his wife and joined some of our rides. Races don't organize themselves, the other clubs whose races we rode in let us know it was our turn to organize a race of our own. We had no idea how to do that, but Henry Laws came to the rescue. I say we navigated the ABL of A bureaucracy "on our own", but the "bureaucrats" (all volunteers with plenty other things to do) went the extra mile to help us through the process. We felt like outsiders at school, outcasts among our fellow students who worshiped cars and laughed at bikes, but the teachers at the High School saw what we were doing and got us involved organizing bike rides for our fellow students, integrating us into the school's social life despite our best efforts to remain outside it. A veteran of the Nazi Resistance in Holland saw us riding one day, and as a former racer in Europe, realized we were doing it all wrong and took it upon himself to coach us. We asked for none of this, it was freely offered. So here they are:

Adults Important to the Modesto Roadmen