Cycling Claremont: Bud's on the Bikecentennial in 1976

I am a Claremont transplant, though the move to this Los Angeles County outpost did take place twelve years ago. That is long enough to remember the old Bud's Bike Shop. Not the original, perhaps, but a more recent incarnation, a later owner, but enough continuity, some connection to that venerable institution. Well. At least the name was the same. 

So, I was reading through an issue of Adventure Cyclist, the August / September 2014 issue to be exact. I am that far behind in my magazine reading. 

I was reading the caption accompanying a photo essay and noticed, especially, the part that read: "… the Shimano / Bud's Bike Shop-sponsored van roamed east and west along the Trail that summer…" Hmm, I thought, and took a closer look at the photo. Could it be the Bud's of Claremont? Sure enough, there on the side of the van was a sign reading "Bud's Bike Shop. Claremont. Alta Loma. Covina." How cool is that? Though the photo seems somewhat familiar, I don't believe I was aware that Bud's was involved in that great trans-country ride during the bicentennial year. A little Claremont cycling history. The question: Who is that mechanic? What kind of stories could he tell of that year?

Update: Thanks to a little helper called email as well as some loyal readers who, though they would prefer to see this piece of work revert to its old 'Claremont Cyclist' moniker, continue to check in, I have a few additions. By 1976 the original 'Bud' Day had retired - Bill McCready was running the Claremont store, with his brother out minding the shop in Covina, and Peter Boor taking care of business in Alta Loma. The photo, by the way, was taken by Dan Burden.


  1. I will be at the BikeCentennial 1976 Reunion next month.

    Here is how the van came to be.
    In 1976 the Shimano Van existed to: 
    Refresh, Revitalize & Repair.
    A cool break on a hot day. 

    It traveled 10,000 miles on the 1976 BikeCentennial Transamerica Trail giving out free bike parts, doing free repairs, and offering cold lemonade.

    The Shimano van man had the best job in the world. 

    How did the Shimano Van for BikeCentennial 1976 come to be?

    It was necessary to have a three way partnership:

    1. Shimano Bicycle manufacturing, a relatively new company, 
    was to give away free bicycle parts to anyone who needed them and provided the Shimano van.

    2. BikeCentennial 76 was to provide the driver with food and gas for the van. 

    3. Bud’s Bicycle shop in Claremont, California was to provide all the other bicycle parts and accessories and tools for free for the Shimano Van. 

    How did I become the Shimano Van man? 

    Lets look back:

    I was American Youth Hostel's Vice President, and AYH happened to meet in Buds Bike Shop in Claremont, California. At the same time, I was bicycling in California on two different occasions and ran across 4 people bicycling Hemistour. I biked a lot to run into them twice. 

    I bicycled Europe, with a AYH Leader friend, Ron Mittino, who became a BikeCentennial staff member

    As a bike leader, I led a AYH group down the West Coast of California.

    After biking Cape Cod, I took a Greyhound bus for Missoula, Montana. 
    In Missoula the BikeCentennial gang welcomed me in for dinner.  Greg Siple asked me to pick up some buttermilk, for Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (You needed buttermilk back then). As we all ate together, I told them my problem, I wanted to be a BikeCentennial Leader, but I would only be 20 in 1976, and this was not old enough. (you can guess my age).

    These necessary pieces game together and they were now looking for a Shimano Van driver. I was nominated to be the Shimano Van Man and to work for FREE during BikeCentennial 76, I jumped at the chance! 

    The last pieces of the puzzle were now, together.
    The Bicycle Roof rack was donated by a Palm Springs bicycle shop.  
    My sister Sandi hand made curtains and Bedspread from 1776 Red White and Blue material. 
    Adding my bed, a CB radio, and a necessary 8-track tape player. 
    We were good to go. 

    When did the van take off for the Summer? 
    After June 20th, as I didn’t want to miss my graduation from College of the Desert. Bob Hope was my commencement speaker and I was the Class President.

    One of the highlights was going with Dan Burden across the country.
    We left July 4th 1976. Dan packed up the van with KodaChrome film. As a national geographic photographer, he rode with me on a fun adventure.  We got to experience together most all of these photos that you have seen. 
    He was a little late taking off that day, busy…, but we did make it to see the fireworks that night too. 

    We got to experience most of the tour highlights, and the riders on the trail, we heard from you:. 
    When was the best time to get the fresh Berry pie in Wyoming?
    Where do you get the best deep dish pizza in, Illinois?
    Whose house had the best homemade meal in Kentucky?

    On one side trip, I filled the van full, maybe a dozen bikes and riders, and took off for the 1976 National championship Bike Road Race’s in Louisville, Kentucky. 
    (Which was won by Wayne Setina, who gave us these Shimano gifts to give away.) 

    As BikeCentennial 76 Shimano Van driver: 
    I served a lot of people. 
    I was able to bring a cool break on a hot day to: 
    Refresh, Revitalize & Repair…

    Thank you for letting me serve you!
    God bless!
    John Sutton

    1. Thank you John. Great information. I imagine it was quite an adventure, job, summer of 1976.


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