History makers work to create a new attraction – the Historic Riverton Century

Riverton Bicycle Track sketch, NY Times 6-9-1895_2
Riverton Bicycle Track sketch, NY Times 6-9-1895_2

By now you know about the planned ride to celebrate the 1895 Tri-State Relay Race from the NY Times Building. Thousands of cycling enthusiasts attended the finish at the Riverton Athletic Association’s bicycle track right here in Riverton, NJ.

Quoting from my new friend, Rob Gusky’s Facebook page promoting interest in the event:

Plans are being made to recreate the spirit of this race by organizing a ride from the New York Times Building to Riverton on June 7, 2014.  This 100 mile ride will be completed in one day and is a cooperative effort between a number of bicycle clubs and organizations across our region.

Sporting Life, 6-22-1895 bicycle graphicRob keeps his followers up to date on developments with frequent updates as he manages the project from his home in Wisconsin. Despite the warnings your mom told you about meeting people on the Internet, Rob has been planning this event since last December with a growing number of people whom he has never met. The amateur cycling community has embraced the effort since Carlos Rogers said he was going to “set the wheels in motion to help make this happen.”

An early adopter, Rob had me on board as soon I heard the name Historic Riverton Century.

HRCentury official logo2Previous posts here and here have expressed my enthusiasm for Rob Gusky’s creation of a bike ride with a historical theme as well as his laudable effort to fund and install a historical sign to mark the place where the bicycle race track once stood near the corner of South Broad Street and Thomas Avenue.

Anne Racioppi is the latest person to advance the project with her huge contribution of a truly exceptional official event logo. Rob broke the news to his Facebook followers this way:

Thanks to the help of Anne Racioppi, the Historic Riverton Century now has an official logo!  Anne is not only a talented graphic designer, but she is also a cyclist and is planning to join us for the ride on June 7.  We are now in the process of getting a jersey designed with this logo – let us know if you like the logo by liking this post.  Here is a link to Anne’s site if you want to know more about her work – she responded to our call for volunteer help, what a great community we have here!   https://www.facebook.com/anneracioppigraphicdesign

I had to “like” Rob’s post and look up this incredibly generous person. (I relate these Facebook exchanges only because I realize some visitors here do not have an account, so skip ahead if you heard this already.)

Anne very graciously commented:

The cycling community has given me so much help and love and support over the past 7 years of racing. I became an adult around these friends, many of which became family. Now that I’m out of the limelight I would love to continue giving back to this great community that gave me so much.

I followed the trail to Anne Racioppi’s AR Graphic Design Facebook page…

…and told her what I thought of her logo.

Hi, Anne – Thank you for contributing your considerable bicycle track collagecreative gifts to make this logo.  Choosing to place the words inside an oval that is reminiscent of the old Riverton bicycle track is genius! The historic fonts and flourishes, dramatically framed title, along with an image of a rider extracted from the only known photo of the track, all combine to create a truly exceptional logo for the Historic Riverton Century. Warm regards, John McCormick

Lest you think she whipped up this logo in fifteen minutes with some autopilot computer program, she explains her process:

Rob wanted to pay homage to the very first race so the logo was designed as though it were from the time period. Letterhead Fonts has the best period fonts and Billhead, Booth, and Hensler were used here. Every piece of this was hand drawn and streamlining the rider (Arthur Augustus Zimmerman) was very easy thanks to the high res scan from Riverton’s Historical Society.

 

By now, I am really impressed. (This, despite the error I introduced in 2009 with 2014 HRCentury_posterZimmerman’s name. We actually do not know the names of any of the persons in this undated photo.)

For Anne to contribute to this project such a high quality and complex hand-drawn logo executed with top-drawer fonts is commendable, but it turns out, not all that remarkable.

I am learning that cyclists are a generous and close-knit community. And Jeopardy-smart. Anne’s contribution of her extraordinary talent to the cause speaks of the dedication to the sport and bond that occurs as these athletes work cooperatively toward the goal of creating something new.

Meanwhile, the clock is still running on the historical sign donation site, a jersey design for riders is in the works (participants buy their own), an application for the sign placement process has started with Borough Council, a Discover NJ History License Plate Fund Heritage Tourism Grant has been applied for, and publicity arrangements are moving forward.

Three months from today, on June 7, the first Historic Riverton Century will be, well… history.

The next day, Sunday, June 8, the plan is to commemorate the 1895 New York Times Tri-State Relay Race with a historical marker near where the race track once stood.

Let’s get it done. – John McCormick

 

 

 

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