The Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic is the oldest continuously held race in New York.
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.
“It all began with the Harlem race,” Mr. Vails, 48, said in a phone interview. “Back then, they gave away watches from Disney World, and I remember thinking, ‘The winners got stuff!’ ”
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