It was a lovely day. We loved seeing the brownstones, the flowers our neighbors planted in tree beds, the warm sun splashing our faces as we rode around Harlem's open spaces.
We rode east down 120th Street and crossed Mount Morris Park West, heading toward Fifth Avenue....and promptly found about 30 professional and semi-professional road bikers in brightly colored spandex bearing down on us at high speed! What the heck was that?!? we wondered as we jumped the curb to get out of the way.
Turns out, we unwittingly rode right into the middle of the oldest continually held bike race in New York City - the Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic. This Sunday, June 20th, the 37th annual Classic will be held at Marcus Garvey Park. From the Classic press release:
"Cycling in New York City has a long and storied tradition dating back to the 1800's when Madison Square Garden was first built for track cycling," said Senior Vice President for New York City Sports Marketing Andrew Gould. "The sport of cycling has continued to flourish in New York City throughout the years, due to world-class events such as the Harlem Cycling Classic, and it brings me tremendous pleasure to add a new chapter to this event by awarding the prestigious NYC Mayor's Cup to this year’s winners."
Created as a Father’s Day event in 1973 by David A. Walker, a community affairs police officer who also brought double Dutch to public schools, the race has molded several generations of New York cycling talent, including Nelson Vails, a former bicycle messenger and a silver medalist at the 1984 Olympics.There will be a series of children’s and community races from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Each child who competes will be given a free helmet and T-shirt. Winners of the children’s races will each receive a free bicycle.