With a little help from a lot of friends

Rob Gusky HRCentury/ Community Ride 2016 by Carlos Rogers
Rob Gusky HRCentury/ Community Ride 2016 by Carlos Rogers

Tethered to my workplace until 5PM that day I knew I would be unable to catch the arrival of the HRCentury riders, so I appealed to the Universe and it delivered in the form of this great pic of HRCentury creator Rob Gusky from Carlos Rogers.

Rob looks pretty fresh after biking a hundred miles from Millburn, NJ to Riverton.

Susan Dechnik sent in most of the following photos.

The ride took longer than anticipated since the cyclists ran into a punishing headwind for much of it.

Also conceived by Rob Gusky, the 3-Mile Community Ride was to follow the conclusion of this second realization of the Historic Riverton Century, and many residents of all ages awaited in the former District parking lot.

HRCentury 2016 button
HRCentury 2016 button

Meanwhile, HSR member Susan Dechnik handed out souvenir buttons bearing Anne Racioppi‘s imaginative logo and explained the connection to the 1895 NYC-Riverton Relay Race to those who were unaware.

Carlos Rogers commends the HRCentury riders
Carlos Rogers commends the HRCentury riders

The arduous trip caused the bicyclists to converge on the parking lot from different directions and not all at once.

Carlos Rogers congratulated Rob and the other riders. A cheer arose from the crowd as the Community Ride began led by the Century riders.

The ride ended with a ceremony at Memorial Park.

Mayor Cairns Wells at left, President Phyllis Rodgers, Town Historian Paul Schopp
Mayor Cairns Wells at left, President Phyllis Rodgers, Town Historian Paul Schopp

Mayor Suzanne Cairns Wells, Lifelong Wheelman Gary Sanderson and Riverton’s Town Historian Paul W. Schopp each addressed the audience and congratulated the athletes on their achievement.

In his address Mr.Schopp 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,” and described the 1895 Tri-State Relay Race which inspired Rob to create the Historic Riverton Century in 2014. Find a text file of his address here.

Gary Sanderson
Gary Sanderson

Attired in vintage wheelman gear and displaying his restored 1895 Indian Racer bicycle, Gary Sanderson described the adversity experienced by the riders in 1895 with traveling miserable roads on failure-prone single-speed bicycles. Read Gary Sanderson’s remarks here.

Bill Hall at left, Rob Gusky, Carlos Rogers at right
Bill Hall at left, Rob Gusky, Carlos Rogers at right

Mr. Gusky cited nonagenarian Bill Hall for his dedication to bicycling, and recognized Carlos Rogers for creating in 2011 the Historic Riverton Criterium which every year contributes money to local organizations and individuals. To date Carlos has distributed over $20,000!

Rob recognizes the women athletes
Rob recognizes the women athletes

Gusky called up the women participants in this year’s HRCentury and Phyllis Rodgers and Pat Brunker presented them and the men with sashes reminiscent of those worn by riders in 1895.

Later, many in the group met at Riverton’s Orange Blossom Cafe to eat and to recount details of their experience.

Everyone agreed that the two big bike spectacles now associated with the second weekend in June are community assets which combine to promote the sport of bicycling as well as provide family fun.

Rob recaps the day for Bill Brown
Rob recaps the day for Bill Brown

Perhaps it was the influence of the euphoria of a bicyclist’s high, but Gusky and Crew were already heard scheming to recreate the next ride.

Are you up for it?

Later on Facebook, Rob Gusky generously thanked the many people and organizations that made this year’s Riverton Century and Community Ride a success.

Century route planner Randy “Wheels” Jackson of the Major Taylor Cycling Club also wrote a lengthy Facebook piece recognizing those who had made it possible for him to “…relax and enjoy the ride.”

The creation of the Historic Riverton Century Ride by Rob Gusky and the Historic Riverton Criterium by Carlos Rogers now rank among the most treasured traditions of the Borough. The Historical Society of Riverton is privileged to be associated with them both.

Please add your own photos or submit comments. – JMc






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