Mighty oaks from little acorns grow
The Oakland Composite high school mountain bike team has been in existence since at least 2005. It was the first composite team in the NorCal High School Cycling League. A composite team is a team composed of kids and coaches from a region, rather than from a school. A composite team's job is to start school teams. Oakland Composite has started; Oakland Tech, Skyline, Piedmont, Alameda and Bishop O'Dowd High School teams, as well as either launching or helping to launch Davis, Richmond, Hayward and Alameda Composite teams, and also Oakland Devo, a middle school team. Oakland Composite was founded by Matt Fritzinger circa 2005, who also founded the Berkeley High School Team, the NorCal League and the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. (NICA)
The goal of Oakland Composite is to get more kids on bikes in Oakland, to grow youth cycling culture in the region, to improve the diversity of riders and the places that riders can go. The larger goal is to develop good people who are lifelong cyclists.
A long, long time ago, there was such a vibrant cycling scene. In the 1880s through 1900s, Oakland was full of cyclists. There was a big cycling scene, lots of races, people rode for fun and transportation. There was a big team in Oakland called the Acme Wheelmen, the riding division of the Acme Athletic Club. Their logo was the "winged acorn".
Oakland is named for the Oak tree, therefore a winged acorn was an appropriate logo. Across the bay, their big nemesis was the Bay City Wheelmen(symbol, Maltese Cross). One of the other teams against which they competed was the Olympic Club, (winged "O") which still exists today. Some financial hard times spelled the demise of the Acme Athletic Club. The advent of the car, and then World War I seemed to combine to put the bicycle out of people's minds, at least in America. Interestingly, the Acme Wheelmen had reunions well into the 1950s, and their preferred meeting place was Redwood Canyon; a place where we like to ride. The bicycle was an all-terrain machine in the 1890s. Most roads were dirt.
Oakland Composite has never had its own identity as a team. Our jersey has featured colors and symbols which were appropriated from the place we live; the Oakland Tree logo, a variation of the Oakland A's 'elephant' logo, and the Team Oakland Star logo on our jersey for years, because they have sponsored and helped us from the very early days.
This year, Oakland Composite has its own image. We have adopted the "winged acorn" of the Acme Wheelmen, and their colors; red, black and white in our new team kit. We are celebrating a vibrant cycling culture that once existed in this city, does now, and will only improve so long as we are getting more kids on bikes. Here it is:
We are super excited about 2019!
Thank you Morgan Fletcher for being head coach of Oakland Composite for the past 7 years and passing along the history of biking in Oakland and how it relates to Oakland Composite!