Cycling Advocate Dies on Bike Trip

A Berkeley man who was riding his bicycle to Santa Barbara to celebrate
his 50th birthday with friends was found unconscious on a Woodside road
Sunday afternoon and later died, authorities said.

Published November 15, 2005 by Inside Bay Area

By Kristin Bender, STAFF WRITER

Official: Man might have had heart attack on 50th birthday trek

A Berkeley man who was riding his bicycle
to Santa Barbara to celebrate his 50th birthday with friends was found
unconscious on a Woodside road Sunday afternoon and later died,
authorities said.

Clay Mankin, owner of the City Cycle bike shop in San Francisco, was 49.

A spokeswoman from the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office said
an autopsy had not been completed Monday. But California Highway Patrol
spokesman Officer Christian Oliver 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.

Mankin’s wife, Alison, said her husband had set out Sunday for
the 400-mile trip to Santa Barbara to see his 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 years ago, friends
said.

Mankin loved cycling and was 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 his 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 also survived by a young son. Services are pending.