The Start, June 8, 1895
Rob Gusky has given frequent updates on his Facebook page about the Historic Riverton Century ride he organized. Like the original 1895 cycling event, this one originates from New York City and ends here in Riverton.
But the landscape has changed considerably between the Big Apple and our little borough in the intervening 119 years since six-man teams representing the states of New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey competed in the New York Times Tri-State Relay Race.
Rob writes from his home in Wisconsin:
We are leaving for Riverton tomorrow morning (Thurs.) and plan to arrive in Riverton Friday afternoon, then head up to NYC by train with our bikes. If all goes well, we will be back in Riverton after the 100 mile journey at around 5:30 pm, the Riverton Police Dept. is providing us an escort once we return to town and we will ride about 3.5 miles through town ending up at the Riverline Station.
In 1895, the New York Times reported…”there were gathered crowds of interested people at every town and hamlet through which the cyclists flew.” Teams were easily recognized by their colored sashes; New York racers wore blue, Pennsylvania men wore white, and the New Jersey team wore red.
At the Finish in 1895
The grandstands of the Riverton Athletic Association’s bicycle track were filled to capacity with fans, many of whom had arrived by special train. Winners received gold medals and rock star-like popularity during that Golden Age of Bicycling.
Be on hand to cheer on Rob and the two dozen or so other cyclists when they arrive at Riverton some time after 5 pm on Saturday.
RAA Bicycle Track historic marker
On Sunday morning at 10:00am there will be a dedication celebration of the historical marker at the former site of the Riverton Bicycle Track near the Riverline station. Incredibly, Rob raised all the money for the sign through crowdsourcing and obtaining a grant from the NJ Historic Trust.
I have to be there to thank the man who organizes such a complex event from halfway across the country and then leaves us with the bonus of a free historic marker. Won’t you please be there, too?
This event will take place at 10 am on Sunday June 8, 2014. Later on Sunday at 1 pm, Carlos Rogers’ 4th Annual Historic Riverton Criterium returns to the streets of Riverton.
- John McCormick