Historic Riverton Criterium includes women’s races

Carlos Rogers, has quite literally made history in Riverton in more ways than one.

Besides bringing back a new era of competitive bicycling to Riverton after more than a century’s absence, perhaps no other individual in Borough history has proven to be a more generous donor to worthy local causes than he has – over $35,000 so far.

Another way has more to do with the level of professionalism with which he has promoted and managed the Historic Riverton Criterium since 2011.

Start of the Women’s Race, HRC 2015

Some followers of Carlos Rogers may not be aware of his efforts to champion the promotion of women’s racing. As the CAWES Cycling Team observed in 2015, “…he made a decision that many promoters are not willing to make: he added a women’s field!!!”

Women’s races have been part of the Historic Riverton Criterium ever since.

2018 Women’s race, HRC Facebook photo

One can sense their teamwork and passion for the sport that the women of RIPTIDE-CAWES Cycling Team have from their vivid descriptions of the 2018 Historic Riverton Criterium races.

Their website post added,” A special thanks to the race organizer and sponsors for not only including a Women’s 4/5 category, but also increasing the 1/2/3 prize money.”

The performance of today’s trailblazing women cyclists reminds us of Abbie Rollins, the pioneering New York cyclist who competed in the 1895 NYC-Riverton relay race and became the first woman relay rider.

Sporting Life, June 15, 1895, p32

Weak segue? Maybe… Find out more about women cyclists discussed here in previous posts:

Annie Londonderry, around the world cyclist, 1895
Abbie Rollins, first woman relay race rider, 1895

In his 2016 address during a ceremony marking the arrival of Historic Riverton Century riders, Borough Historian Mr. Paul W. Schopp described the 1895 Tri-State Relay Race which inspired Rob Gusky to create the ride in 2014. Paul acknowledged that “…women have always maintained a keen interest in cycling and the mix of riders in today’s Riverton Century uphold the long legacy of female cyclists.” See an excerpt below.

If you think the first Tri-State Relay Race was an all-male event, you would be wrong! Twenty-two-year-old Abbie Rollins resided in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and worked as a stenographer and typist for the city’s Parson & Blish architectural firm.

Born in New Jersey, Abbie represented her home state in the first leg of the relay race, riding with two men from the Times building to the ferry and then on to Little Falls. She was reportedly the first woman cyclist to ever take part in a race of this type.

Evening Star (Washington, DC) August 7, 1895. Page 3

Abbie obviously loved cycling, for a brief newspaper article mentioned that she was with a group of riders traveling between New Brunswick and Plainfield about two months after the relay race. Approximately five miles from Plainfield, she suffered a burst pneumatic tire. Another cyclist attempted to perfect a repair with chewing gum, the only substance readily available, but it did not hold.

George K. Parsell, an architect working in the same office as Abbie, offered her a seat on his bicycle handlebars. She accepted the offer and deposited herself there. She found the ride quite comfortable and, as the would-be couple entered Plainfield, people flocked to the sidewalks with their mouths open as Parsell and Abbie rode by.

Abbie left the cycling world in November 1901, when she married the Rev. Howard Rutsen Furbeck, who had received his pastoral training at the Reformed Theological Seminary in New Brunswick. The couple had one son and four daughters. Abbie accompanied her husband to the various churches he served until his death on October 16, 1917. She continued to care for her children and then lived for many years with her son, Howard Rollins Furbeck Sr., until she died on March 12, 1961.

Find the complete text file of Schopp’s address here.

Annie Londonderry, around the world cyclist, 1895

Tell us about the HRCriterium from your perspective as a competitor or spectator. Click below to leave a comment.

Iris Gaughan is still seeking race marshals for the HRCriterium on June 9. Please contact us if you can spare an hour.

 

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