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Art Wilcox, Mike Haak, and the Macht Schnell Bike Club
by David Steffen. Last updated May 14, 2018.
Unfortunately, this is the only picture of Art Wilcox we have. (He is "mooning" a passing car.)
Two Modesto cyclists who were not Modesto Roadmen but had a great impact on them were Art Wilcox and Mike Haak. Although they were not Roadmen, we rode with Art and Mike occasionally, especially on Mountain Loops. In fact, it may have been they who inspired the Mountain Loop. They were older than us; Art was a year older than the oldest of the Roadmen (Paul Robinson, David Steffen, and Jeff Cowdrey) and Mike was five years older than Art. Even allowing for that difference in age, it is my impression that they were a lot more sophisticated than we were (which wasn't very hard, we were quite naive.) They knew a bit more about cycling but a lot more about the world, politics and culture than we did.
According to the report on the 1967 Mountain Loop in the Modesto Bee, "[The] Macht Schnell cycle Club [is] an outgrowth of a now defunct Young Men's Christian Association club in Modesto. Its name means "hurry up" in German." Art Wilcox, Mike Haak, and Jared Zeff were listed as members in that report, but to my knowledge, Jared only participated this once (and did not finish the ride); the only members of Macht Schnell I ever knew about were Art and Mike.
Art was president of his class at Davis High School in 1966. Davis was one of the three public high schools in town. (There were three public high schools in Modesto back then, most of the Roadmen went to Downey High School, Fred went to Modesto High School.) Art was a trickster, always doing something crazy (like glueing a toilet to the floor in the middle of the main hallway of Downey High School) and was frequently in trouble.
Mike and Art had a huge impact on the Modesto Roadmen, inspiring us to great adventures in cycling and influencing the culture of our club, introducing a counter culture element that became characteristic. I, for one, will always be grateful to them.