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Fatty Arbuckle's Nephew Gains a Lap on the Old San Jose Velodrome

Fatty Arbuckle's Nephew Gains a Lap on the Old San Jose Velodrome

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Fatty Arbuckle's Nephew Gains a Lap on the Old San Jose Velodrome

Longitud:
182 página
3 horas
Editorial:
Publicado:
Oct 15, 2011
ISBN:
9781465736437
Formato:
Libro

Descripción

Dangerous and frequently dirty bicycle racing on the steep banking of Murphy Sabatino’s board track at the San Jose Fairgrounds, 1950 – 1952. Road racing on single-gear track bikes when it was considered effeminate to do so on a road bike. The flavor of this era is conveyed in fictitious events based upon actual incidents, such as the cyclist who fastened a wire to a boxer’s mouthpiece in order to be towed to victory by an automobile.

The sport had no shortage of vibrant, and often eccentric characters at the time such as Oscar Juner, Cocky O’Brien, Dewey Maxwell, Leon Meyer, Ernie Ohrt, and the Gatto brothers, who show up in these stories. Mythical characters based upon actual characters provide further color - the mobster Lido for instance.

Editorial:
Publicado:
Oct 15, 2011
ISBN:
9781465736437
Formato:
Libro

Sobre el autor

Erich von Neff is a San Francisco longshoreman. He received his masters degree in philosophy from San Francisco State University and was a graduate research student at the University of Dundee Scotland.Erich von Neff is well known on the French avant-garde and mainstream literary scenes. He is a member of the Poetes Francais ,La Societes des Poetes et Artistes de France, Vice Chancelier de la Federation Poetique de Saint Venance Fortunat, and Membre d'honneur du Caveau Stephanois.He has had the following publications in France (en français):Poems: 1252Short Stories: 264Small press books 8Prix (Prizes) 26Erich von Neff's novel "Prostitutees au bord de La Route" (Prostitutes by the Side of the Road) was published by "Cashiers de Nuit" (1999) with a grant from Centre Region des Lettres de Basse-Normandie.Erich von Neff's book of poems "Les Putains Cocainomanes" (The Cocaine Whores) was published by Cahiers du Nuit, 1998. "Les Putains Cocainomanes " was discussed on 96.2 FM, Paris, 1998 by Marie-Andre Balbastre, Poem # 45 was read.Several poems from "Les Putains Cocainomanes "were read at the Cafe Montmarte in Paris,2010. Several poems from "Les Yeux qui faiblissent ont faim de la vigilance eternelle de la verite "were read at the Cafe Au soleil de la Butte in Paris, 2014. Poems from " Un Cube chrome a l'interieur d'une coquille d'oeuf cassee" were read at the Cafe Au soleil de la butte" in Paris 2014.A Trophée Victor Hugo was awarded to Erich von Neff's novel "Une Lancia rouge Devale Lombard Street a tombeau ouvert," (The Red Lancia Roars Down Lombard Street), 1998. Several poems from my "Le Puttane della cocaina" (The Cocaine Whores) were read by Giulia Lombardo at the Caffe Litterario in Rome, at the Caffe Palatennistavolo,Teni Italy & Caffe degli artisti in Milan, Bookbar in Rome, Bibliocafe in Rome , and in five other Italian cafes in Italy,2014. Several poems from my "Le Puttane della cocaina" were read by Giulia Lombardo at the Caffe Palatennistavolo,Terni Italy in February ,6 readings in May 2015, 3 readings in June 2015, 2 readings in July, 4 readings in August, 4 readings in September,3 readings in October, 5 readings in December, 2015. 2 readings of my "Le Puttane dela cocaina"were read by Giulia Lombardo at the,Caffe Palatennistavolo,Terni Italy, January 2016. 2 readings of my "Le Puttane della cocaina" were read by Giulia Lombardo at the Caffe Palatennistavolo, February 2016. My poetry book "Un Cube Chrome a L'Interieur d'une Coquille d'Oeut Cassee "was published by Henri Tramoy editeur of Soleils et Cendre, France,2016. In 2018, 30 short stories and 3 poems were published in Russian magazines. In 2019 my book of poems Le Cabaret de la Souris Rugissante ( The Cabaret of the Roaring Mouse) was published by Atlier de l'agnew, editor Francoise Favretto. Le Cabaret de la Souis Rugissante was awarded a Trophee Edgar Allen Poe by Simone Gabriel editor of Cepal magazine.Le Cabaret de la Souris Rugissante was read by my translattor Jean Hautepierre at L'Autre Livre bookstore in Paris on September 5th.It was also read by Jean Hautepierre at the Cafe de la Marie in Paris on October 15th. It was read by the French actor Sebastien Bidault at the Bar-Restaurant du Palais in Paris on December 18th. There were four good reviews.

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Fatty Arbuckle's Nephew Gains a Lap on the Old San Jose Velodrome - Erich von Neff

Fatty Arbuckle's Nephew Gains a Lap on the Old San Jose Velodrome and the Los Angeles Six

Published by:

Erich Viktor von Neff at Smashwords

Copyright (c) 2011 by Erich Viktor von Neff

All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

Although some of the stories included in this work have as their basis actual persons and events, this is a work of fiction, so names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

Smashwords License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy.

* * * *

Synopsis

Humorous stories about bicycle racing in 1952 California, when eccentric, dedicated cyclists kept the sport going between the downfall of the great six day races and the rise of American champions such as Greg Lemond and Lance Armstrong.

Dangerous and frequently dirty bicycle racing on the steep banking of Murphy Sabatino’s board track at the San Jose Fairgrounds, 1950 – 1952. Road racing on single-gear track bikes when it was considered effeminate to do so on a road bike. The flavor of this era is conveyed in fictitious events based upon actual incidents, such as the cyclist who fastened a wire to a boxer’s mouthpiece in order to be towed to victory by an automobile.

The sport had no shortage of vibrant, and often eccentric characters at the time such as Oscar Juner, Cocky O’Brien, Dewey Maxwell, Leon Meyer, Ernie Ohrt, and the Gatto brothers, who show up in these stories. Mythical characters based upon actual characters provide further color - the mobster Lido for instance.

Short Stories

1. An Ocean Shore Ride

2. Gussie Won that Sprint

3. Fatty Arbuckle's Nephew Gains a Lap on the Old San Jose Velodrome

4. Coast Highway Race 1951

5. World's Fastest Bicycle Sprint

6. Ohrt's Bicycle Academy

7. Shinn's Bike Shack

8. Harry Guidi

9. Harold Kirkbride

10. Gene Griffith

11. San Francisco Wheelmen Meeting at the American Cyclery

12. The Way to Beat the Gatto Brothers

13. Boulder Creek Sprint

14. The Civic Auditorium Six

15. Ken Winkie and the 101 Club

16. Berryessa Fruit Growers' Sprints

17. Grunau Training Center

18. The Los Angeles Six

19. Mount Hamilton on a fixed?

20. The Wooden Rims of the True Cross

21. Wheels of Fire

22. The Friendship Six

23. The Fix

24. Second Place

25. The Zen of Bicycle Riding

26. The Myth Track

An Ocean Shore Ride, 1952

As you pass Romano's Restaurant (formerly located at 270 Rockaway Beach in Pacifica), going south, you will notice, on the spit, the remnants of a road which is now slowly sliding into the sea. But, as some of us, at least, will remember, it was not always this way. The Ocean Shore Railroad had rumbled along those curves, hugging the cliffs, and, then, when it had defaulted in '20, the Old Highway One followed the line. Well, for the most part.

Rumor has it that a starlet had driven a Cord off the road. An apparent suicide. Undoubtedly other cars had gone over the embankment. But it is the young and beautiful whose death tends to stick in the mind.

On an overcast winter morning we had rendezvoused at the Old Stadium Velodrome in Golden-Gate Park (now called The Polo Fields). We had proceeded down El Camino, and had swung over via La Honda to the coast. We must have looked like throw backs in time preparing for the 1929 Berlin Six Day Race, or the New York Six. Our silk jerseys, while perhaps not as colorful as those of today, reflected our ethnic origins or hometown, and not some anonymous plastics or cosmetics firm for which we had no use. They sported in woven silken letters: Unione Sportiva Italiana, Deutsches Velo Klub, Norsk Sykell Klubb, Pedali Alpini, San Francisco Wheelmen and Belmont Bicycle Club.

We rode track bicycles with fixed gears, braking with leather gloves that had been reworked by Italian shoemakers (such as Rosario Rameri of Balboa Shoe Service in San Francisco), who had also put on our cleats. Effeminate men, or worse we believed road -- road bikes which were not allowed in races even on the road, those of us who toured rode our track bikes even then. Our track bikes had German names like Dürkopp, Bauer, Schuhmacher,... Or, if they were an American marque, they were made by men who looked like clones of Lem Motlow on the Jack Daniels label. They, -- Oscar Watson, Ken Winkie, Dewey Maxwell, Pop Brennan, ... -- smoked cigars and brazed their machines beneath 55° velodrome banking.

Riders like, Willie the Whale, weighting close to three hundred pounds, tested them, riding motor pace on the track. The bikes were fitted with Dürkopp or BSA hubs and cranks, the rims were made of laminated wood.

There were about thirty of us. The blue colors of the Unione Sportiva Italiana dominating the field of jerseys. Our cranks churned nearly the same cadence as we all rode nearly the same low winter gears, between 66 and 72 inches.

The wind slipped our legs. We inhaled air heavy with ocean spray. I followed Oscar Juner's Dürkopp jersey. Oscar and his partners, Nick van Male, and Peter Rich had raced at the Six Day Bike Race in San Francisco's Civic Auditorium, and were now racing on Murphy Sabatino's portable board track at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds.

We had passed Linda Mar and were now heading around the spit that lies south of Romano's Restaurant. Beneath us the waves pounded the rocks. Ahead of the Dürkopp jersey were other jerseys. Some of them I could not see through the fog. One after the other, ominous shapes of riders drifted past me as we rotated pace.

We had rubbed our legs with Sloan's liniment. They felt like fire at first. This subsided, then they were numb to the cold.

The pace slackened only slightly in the wind. We rotated more to maintain the momentum of the pace, than to insure that each of us took egalitarian distances. For instance, John Parks at six feet nine inches had enough wind in his face; he therefore, took shorter pulls at the front. Some, like Bruno and the Gatto brothers yelled oaths, in Italian, when they felt the pace was not to their liking.

Riders swung off and rolled back to the rear of the pace line. The Dürkopp jersey disappeared. I now took my pull at the front for about ten or twelve seconds, as I said, shorter pulls meant the momentum of our pace could be maintained even in thick fog and a head wind. Though this idea seemed to grate on Dan Kaljian who had formed his ideas of labor on his father's farm near Avnik Armenia. When Dan took his turn he muscled the handlebars as if he still had a shovel in his hands.

The wind howled in my face as I tucked down for my pull at the front. I tore into the wind, yet was a particle in it. Supposedly you do twenty percent more work at the front, but in the shifting head wind, it seemed as if that figure was greatly underestimated. I rolled off leaving the Norwegian sprint champion, Kurt Olesesen, to battle the wind. At sometime in the latter part of the ride Kurt had failed to hook John Parks' wheel. At six feet five, reasonably Kurt wanted to pace behind someone taller. At times I could hear him behind me cursing and swearing in Norwegian. For John, of course, there would be no such pace line options.

I caught my breath now safely tucked in behind the Dürkopp jersey again. Thankfully Dan Kaljian suggested we warm up at the Boots and Saddles Bar in La Honda. Most of us had several belts of Christian Brothers brandy or Jack Daniels (by Bartender and owner Oren Arms). John Parks and Kurt Olesesen had vied each other for the attentions of the blonde. But, eventually, the ride had to resume, and she was left behind, but not alone.

Later in the ride we had refilled at Pete's Cafe in Half Moon Bay.

I sucked more ocean spray and Sloan's liniment into my lungs. We passed the spit . . . now slowly sliding into the sea, remnants of the curves still hugging the cliffs.

Beneath us, below the pounding waves, was the Cord.

Gussie Won That Sprint

On Friday evenings in the early 50's, in San Jose, Italian farmers would drive home to eat meals prepared by mama, her sisters, aunts, and even cousin Gino. Then they would climb into wooden paneled station wagons or pickup trucks and head toward Murphy Sabatino's Velodrome off Tully Road near the San Jose Speedway.

Soon surrounding Murphy's board track were station wagons, pickups, and even a few Model A pickups. Some of the pickups had bales of hay in the beds, others still smelled of hogs, or chickens recently marketed. One after the other the headlights would be turned off and the engines would wind down. Italians spoke in their native dialects, some hardly understanding one another. They left a parking space near the ticket booth. Nearby a truck was parked; Gatto Brothers was written on the side.

A Duesenberg drove up. It's headlights flickered, then went out. The door opened slowly.

Lido, a few would remark under their breath as he walked toward the velodrome.

Meanwhile they lined up at the ticket booth, talking excitedly. Basta the mama would say trying to silence her brood.

As chief judge Lido sat in the infield near the finish line, on a stool that was obviously too small for him. He smoked a fat cigar and drank from a cup into which he had poured something from a thermos. From the color and the way he constantly perspired I assumed it was wine. At the bell lap of any race the other judges would crowd near the finish line always carefully leaving an aisle for Lido to have a clear view.

Clang, clang, the bell rang. The crowd was immediately on its feet. The riders jockeyed for position, leaning on each other and elbowing their way through pockets. Oaths could be heard in Sicilian and other Italian dialects.

A wave of electricity surged toward the finish line. The outcome always seemed in doubt as jerseys kept changing positions.

Bang. Bang. Lido would fire his pistol in the air signaling the race was over. I often wondered if it was loaded, for from the way he handled it I was sure it had other uses.

The judges would now confer among themselves as to the second through fifth placings. Then one of them would confer with Lido. The crowd was silent. Lido would pull the cigar out of his mouth, pause for a moment, and in a gravelly voice that was just above a whisper he would say Gussie won that sprint. He put the cigar back in his mouth and folded his arms across his chest. There were no arguments.

Gussie won that sprint. Actually it was true since races did end in sprints which Gussie won. But in team races and in points races laps gained count above sprint prime points.

Lido could say, Gussie won that sprint, but the team of the Gatto Brothers had in fact taken second or even third place. When this happened in team races it was usually behind the teams of Les Williams and Don Peterson or the Rhodes Brothers.

In spite of the seemingly obvious, there were times when the unthinkable happened. Someone — usually a Sicilian whose son was in the race — actually questioned Lido's decision.

What's the matter with you, didn't you see my boy Luigi. Luigi won that sprint. Punctuated, of course, by hand and arm waving.

Amazingly Lido would listen patiently, wait till papa's arms quit flailing, and then re-render his decision. Sometimes he would even put his arms on papa's shoulder. I know how you gotta feel, but Gussie won that sprint.

Placated, papa sat down. Luigi felt better. The placings, however, remained the same.

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