CRCA has a long and storied history dating back more than 100 years to 1898 – some of which is described on the CRCA website here: http://archive.crca.net/about/history-project/
But the club’s long history is also captured elsewhere, including in the New York Times archives, via articles that describe the club’s original founding and its activities ever since. There was even a point in time when the New York Times published results from the club’s races, such as this 1917 article describing the first annual Decoration Day handicap ten-mile bicycle road race on Pelham Parkway.
Less than a decade later, the Times would describe CRCA member Lou Maltese’s victory at the 100 mile Sesquicentennial bicycle race in Union City, NJ, where he set a new American record for the distance in 4 hours 33 minutes and six seconds. Following his successful years as a rcaer, Lou would go on to be a driving force behind CRCA in New York City, organizing the 75-mile Apple Lap through all five boroughs as well as organizing Olympic qualification trials in Central Park.
Even more recently the New York Times wrote about races that have long since disappeared from the race calendar, such as the 1970 Axel Swenson Memorial race, which started at 79th Street and East Drive and finished at 96th Street in Central Park. But even then, when races were able to crisscross Manhattan, it was far from easy to host races, as detailed in this 1978 article where Lou lamented “how can you attract people at 7 o’clock in the morning in Central Park.”
Despite these challenges cycling in New York City has persevered. While Central Park and Kissena Velodrome may no long play host to the National Championships, as was the case in 1970, Century Road Club Association continues to host races throughout the year, and thankfully we no longer have to rely on NYT articles calling for “a few brave women and some older men too, equally brave” as part of our recruiting strategy (that same article takes note of the old Thanksgiving race in Central Park where the club gave away 50 turkeys).
If you would like to learn more about the club’s history, visit the NYT archives or http://archive.crca.net/about/history-project/