It was with great sadness that I read this morning on Bicycle Retailer that Clay Mankin, owner of City Cycle of San Francisco passed away while riding his bike on Sunday, November 13, apparently of natural causes.

When I lived in San Francisco, I worked for one of Clay’s competitors, Tony Tom at A Bicycle Odyssey, in Sausalito.

That did not keep me from frequenting City Cycle on many an occasion, both as a patron and as a friend.

Clay was an incredibly kind and gentle man, from my experience, who many times helped me out when I needed something for my bike, and couldn’t wait until I got to Sausalito.

When I didn’t have the cash to pay for something, he would let me put it on account and take care of it later when I had the money.

Clay Mankin was one of the few bike shop owners that place customer service first; which is what helped him build such a large and loyal clientele.

The Bay Area cycling scene has lost one of its most cherished members. Clay Mankin will be sorely missed. My heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Alison, and to the staff and clients of City Cycle.

Clay Mankin (1955-2005), Requiescat in pace.

Update: 11/18/2005

Bicycle Retailer reported yesterday that Clay Mankin’s death has been determined to have been of natural causes.

According to City Cycle store manager, Craig Kelliher, “Clay’s departure was an entirely organic event. He departed before he and the bike came to a stop. In other words, he never touched the ground. I cannot imagine any other flight plan he would have preferred.”

Update: 11/25/2005

Just found this article about Clay’s sudden departure from the San Francisco Chronicle (dated 11/16/2005).

VeloNews also published a very touching remembrance of Clay by Connie Carpenter-Phinney (also dated 11/16/2005).

PezCyclingNews has this to say about Clay (dated 11/21/2005).