I have quite a few old photographs, autographs and other cycling memorabilia. I thought that people might like to see some of them. Some of the people in these pictures are famous and some are just my buddies. I've made no attempt to put these in any order, chronological or otherwise, but sometimes there are segues from one picture to the next.
Here is a shot of Greg LeMond that I took at the first National Criterium Championships, Wayne, N.J. in 1979. LeMond was the reigning Junior World Road Champion. The woman he is talking to is Leslie Moore. She was married to Leonard Harvey Nitz at that time. LeMond went on to win the World Professional Road Championships and the Tour De France three times.
I took this picture of LeMond the next year (1980) at a race in Point Lookout that my club (the German Bicycle Sports Club) promoted with the backing of 7-11. LeMond had just turned pro with Renault. He had been promised start money for the race as well as a hotel room and ground transportation. He flew into JFK and his ride didn't show up. He took a taxi to the hotel and there was no reservation. Outraged, LeMond refused to do the race. He rode to the course and watched. (More on this race later.)
After the race Greg bummed a ride back to his hotel with my buddy Andy Feehan. They spent the rest of the day hanging out together. Andy has a photo of himself giving LeMond a massage.
Somebody told me that the guy Greg is talking to in this picture is the person who set up the deal between 7-11 and Jim Ochowitz to start a cycling team. The 7-11 team turned into the Motorola Team and that team morphed into the Postal Service Team that recently changed to the Discovery Channel Team. There will be a quiz...
I would have failed my own quiz. Here is a correction from Steven Sheffield:
"Just so you know, the USPS/Discovery Channel Team grew out of Thom Weisel's Subaru-Montgomery / Montgomery-Bell team (Tailwind Sports, formerly Montgomery Sports), NOT 7-Eleven/Motorola (which was Jim Ochowicz's Northland Sports)
Thanks Steven. And here is a little info from Wayne Stetina:
"That was the Dutch Sports agent who secured the 7-Eleven sponsorship AFTER Eric Heiden agreed to join the Team. His name is George Taylor."
Well anyway, a side-bar to this story is that the lawyer who negotiated LeMond's first professional contract lives here in Northport. He has a Maillot Jeune that Greg gave him as a gift.
On a more local theme: Mark Young (center) won the Junior race at the 1991 Oyster Bay - Oysterfest Criterium. Mark worked at Centerport Cycles at the time and rode with The Long Island Wheelmans' Association that I sponsored. The jerseys that we wore that first year were hand silk sceened by yours truly. The guy on the right is Jim Daugherty. Jim was another talented local rider. He later worked as a soignor for the Postal Service Team at the Tour De France.
Mark was a year younger then the other guys but he was very smart. He gambled that no break-aways would be successful so he didn't go with any. Nor did he chase. He was comparatively fresh for the finish and blew everyone away in the sprint.
Charlie Issendorf won the senior race that same day. I am friends with Charlie and his father, John, going back to the mid 70's when we were in the German Bicycle Sports Club. Charlie started racing when he was about 10. He went on to be one of the best riders in this area. Today Charlie has a company that supplies custom sublimated team clothing for many of the top national squads. Recently he has gotten involved in race promotion and has taken over running the Kissena Club races in Prospect Park, the training races at Floyd Bennett Field and the Tour De Parc criterium in Cedar Creek Park. On top of that Charlie has a Web site: racelistings.com
This is Charlie with Vito Perucci... A few years ago
This Eddy Merckx's autograph that I got on the back of a Hempstead Cycles (where I worked) business card. I met him at the International Bicycle Trade Show at the old N.Y. Coliseum in 1975. His English was poor and my Flemish was nonexistant. Our converstion was minimal.
This is me at the Kissena Velodrome in 1981 riding the first frame that I built. When I first started riding at the track I crashed hard because I forgot to keep pedaling and I happened to have my hands off the bars at the time. Track bikes have no mechanisim to allow you to coast. If you try to stop pedaling it can get ugly but you can usually survive it if you are holding on. I guess I learned at least half of my lesson...
This is Aloric Gaifer. Aloric was a great rider who came to New York from England. His father, Allen, was a top cycling journalist in England, and later in Canada. Sadly, Aloric recently lost a long battle with brain cancer. He was an exrtemely tough rider. For the last 15 years he had been living in Pennsylvania and did a lot of coaching at the velodrome in Trexlertown.
This is Al Toefield. I don't think anyone has made a bigger contribution to bicycle racing in New York then Al. He was the founder of the Kissena Club. He was instrumental in getting the Kessena Velodrome built. He ran the Spring Series in Central Park. He was the Chairman of Cycling for the Empire State Games. He ran all the races at the Kissena track. He ran the District Championships. With the Seubert Brothers, Pete Senia and Syl Greco he brought the National Road Championships to Bear Mountain in '82. He was the president of the Metropolitan Cycling Association. He ran the Skyscraper Classic in Harlem... I'm sure that I am forgetting a bunch of stuff.
Al was a detective with the New York City Police department, and his connections with the city opened quite a few doors with regards to getting race permits. Al and his partner, Angelo, owned Kissena Cycles on the Long Island Expressway service road a few blocks from the track. Al and Angelo both died from pancreatic cancer within a few months of each other in 1989.
I was just about to open my shop when Al died. Al's son- in-law called me to see if I had any interest in buying the contents of Al's shop. I went and took a look. I remember that there was a bunch of really interesting old chainrings hanging on the wall. I offered to buy them but he wanted to sell the whole contents as one lot. It was pretty sad to visit the shop.
Coincidentally, Joe Sulc, who I worked for at Engelbosch Cycles, grew up in the apartment above Kissena Cycles. The bike shop wasn't there yet though. At that time the place was a barber shop and Joe's father was a barber there.