Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: SF Bay area
Bikes: Bacchetta Aero, BikeE, Bruce Gordon Rock n Road
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Berkeley bike advocate dies on trek south
A Berkeley man who was riding his bicycle to Santa Barbara to celebrate his 50th birthday with friends was found unconscious on a quiet Woodside road Sunday afternoon and later died, authorities said.
Clay Mankin owned the City Cycle bike shop in San Francisco.
A spokeswoman from the San Mateo County Coroner's Office said an autopsy had not been completed Monday. But Officer Christian Oliver, a California Highway Patrol spokesman, said it does not appear Mankin was hit by a car.
"It looks as though the bicyclist may have had a heart attack," Oliver said. "The only injuries that we saw were lacerations to his side, which were most likely caused when he fell."
Mankin's wife, Alison, said her husband set out Sunday for the 400-mile trip to Santa Barbara to see former City Cycle business partner Chris Smith. He also had planned to visit the man who gave him his first job in a bike shop more than 30 year ago, friends said.
"He was on a bike trip to celebrate his 50th birthday," his wifesaid from their Berkeley home Monday.
Mankin loved cycling and sat on the board of directors of the San Francisco Bike Coalition, working to improve bike access and bike commuting conditions for cyclists, friends said. He had been involved in the successful effort to gain around-the-clock cycling access to the Golden Gate Bridge.
"It would be hard to find someone so well-known, so well-loved in the Bay Area bike community," said Leah Shahum, the executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. "Even across the country, everyone has heard of Clay. He just had a sterling reputation."
Mankin was found unconscious near 18501 Skyline Blvd. just north of the Fogarty Winery in Woodside at 3:37 p.m. Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol. He was pronounced dead at 4:16 p.m., authorities said.
Mankin was alone on this trip, but he often rode with his wife on their tandem bike or with friend and bike store colleague Craig Kelliher. Mankin and his wife had traveled from Milan to Paris on their tandem, and Mankin recently spent 10 days biking in Italy with Davis Phinney, a two-time stage-winner in the Tour de France, and Connie Carpenter Phinney, an Olympic gold medalist.
"He was so much more to us than a director or a leader," Kelliher said. "He and I had a lot in common; we thought a lot the same way. The other day he said, 'You know, I didn't think I was going to change the world, I just wanted to make a living, have some fun and not hurt anyone.'"
In addition to his work with the bicycle coalition, Mankin was involved with the Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program, which provides sports and recreation for people with disabilities, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, friends said.
"He was a leader, and he was involved," Kelliher said.
Mankin is survived by his wife and a young son. Services are pending.