Some 201 cyclists will have bragging rights for years to come for being part of a record-setting number of cyclists who competed in the 40th David Walker Skyscraper Harlem Cycling Classic at Marcus Garvey Park. Sixty-nine starters in the men’s race cycled 25 miles.
Peddling across the finish first was Chris Chong-tenn from Corona, Queens, who was timed in 42.13 minutes, as was the second and third place finishers, Kelvin Savinon from Manhattan and Roger Parmelee from Brooklyn.
The women’s champ was Amy Cutler (20 miles, 43.31) from North Bergen, N.J., who out-raced a women’s field of 31 starters. Fabienne Gerard from Manhattan and Sequoia Cooper from Kutztown, Pa., came in second and third.
In the Pro Men’s division, Marcel Kalz from Germany and a record 99 starters raced more than 35 miles. Kalz finished in a time of 58:08. Yondi Schmidt from Denmark and Euris R. Vidal from Fort Lee, N.J., finished second and third. The race was founded by David Walker, a detective in Central Harlem’s 32nd Precinct some 40 years ago. Walker didn’t just found and organize the Skyscraper Harlem Classic, he also founded the community girls’ double Dutch program in the early ’70s. A few years later, the program also welcomed boys, and community competitions were held in public schools and recreation programs throughout Harlem.
As his double Dutch program grew in popularity, the major championship event was held on the square at Lincoln Center. The legendary Ruby Dee became the program’s biggest supporter. Walker’s double Dutch program soon spread outside of the city, then around the country. Eventually, double Dutch programs were introduced around the world and, in particular, in Japan. The international championship competition is now hosted by the world-famous Apollo Theater. Walker’s daughter and son are heavily involved in both programs.