Photo by Hélène Goupil

Rafa Macias, who was known to many as Don Rafa, has passed away.

The owner of Don Rafa’s Cyclery at 2929 16th St. suffered a heart attack while driving home from his daughter’s house on Jan. 20, according to another daughter, Lupe Macias. He was 60 years old.

He had worked on bicycles for most of his life, first in Mexico and then in the Bay Area.

In the late 1990s, Macias moved to the United States and started working at local swap meets, renting space and fixing bicycles on site.

Mission Loc@l’s Claudia Escobar filmed a documentary about Macias in which he talked about buying used bikes that no one wanted anymore.

At a car auction once, he spent $150 on 100 old bicycles. He rented storage because he didn’t have enough room for them in his apartment.

He fixed the bicycles and was able to start his business, Don Rafa’s Cyclery.

Flowers and a portrait of Don Rafa were placed in the front window of his shop. Photo by Hélène Goupil

In 2009, Macias told Mission Loc@l’s Rigo Hernandez that his motto at work was to treat people with respect and promptitude.

Lupe Macias, who has been helping her father at his shop for more than three years, is now running the store.

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Hélène Goupil

Hélène Goupil is a former editor at Mission Local who now works independently as a videographer and editor. She's the co-author of "San Francisco: The Unknown City" (Arsenal Pulp Press).

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  1. Sad news. He did some work on an old bike of mine and always had a sweet, gentle smile. I live around the corner and will miss seeing him in the shop. My condolences to his family, who are wonderful community neighbors.

  2. Como me hubiera gustado haber conocido a Don Rafa. Se aprececia en el video que fue un hombre muy trabajador, sano, honrado, y con grandes valores. Que en paz descanse.