History

History

David Walker — a New York City Police Department’s Community Affairs Officer in Harlem’s 28th Precinct created the
Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic
in 1973.

The Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic was designed as a community event focused on bicycle racing and safety programs for young men.
The event held its initial contest on (Father’s Day) Sunday, June 17th, 1973

at (the formally known as)—Mount Morris Park which was just renamed Marcus Garvey Park—in honor of the famed Activist, Journalist and Publicist Marcus Garvey.

Within three years, the race grew and became one of the premiere attractions of the United States Cycling Federation.
Each year the event draws more than 400+ United States Cycling Federation (USCF)—(now known as USA Cycling) licensed cyclist from the greater NYC
area as well as nationally ranked

competitors and international licensed riders—in addition to 100s of community amateur participants.

Since its inception in 1973, hundreds of national and international champions, as well as Olympic champions have raced the Skyscraper Classic.
Most notably is Nelson Beasley Vails,
a road and track cyclist from Harlem. Who won his first series of amateur races at the Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic. He rode as a professional from 1988 to 1995, representing the USA in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, where he won the silver medal in the 1000-meter Match Sprint, behind compatriot Mark Gorski.

Vails was the first African-American cyclist to win an Olympic medal and he was inducted to the US Bicycle Hall of Fame in 2009. Nelson attends the Skyscraper Cycling Classic every year.

David Walker — a New York City Police Department’s Community Affairs Officer in Harlem’s 28th Precinct created the Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic in 1973.

The Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic was designed as a community event focused on bicycle racing and safety programs for young men.
The event held its initial contest on (Father’s Day) Sunday, June 17th, 1973 at (the formally known as)—Mount Morris Park which was just renamed Marcus Garvey Park—in honor of the famed Activist, Journalist and Publicist Marcus Garvey.

Within three years, the race grew and became one of the premiere attractions of the United States Cycling Federation. Each year the event draws more than 400+ United States Cycling Federation (USCF)—(now known as USA Cycling) licensed cyclist from the greater NYC area as well as nationally ranked competitors and international licensed riders—in addition to 100s of community amateur participants.

Since its inception in 1973, hundreds of national and international champions, as well as Olympic champions have raced the Skyscraper Classic.

Most notably is Nelson Beasley Vails, a road and track cyclist from Harlem. Who won his first series of amateur races at the Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic. He rode as a professional from 1988 to 1995, representing the USA in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, where he won the silver medal in the 1000-meter Match Sprint, behind compatriot Mark Gorski.

Vails was the first African-American cyclist to win an Olympic medal and he was inducted to the US Bicycle Hall of Fame in 2009. Nelson attends the Skyscraper Cycling Classic every year.

David Walker— a New York City Police Department’s Community Affairs Officer in Harlem’s 28th Precinct created the Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic in 1973.
The Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic was designed as a community event focused on bicycle racing and safety programs for young men. The event held its initial contest on (Father’s Day) Sunday, June 17th, 1973 at (the formally known as)—Mount Morris Park which was just renamed Marcus Garvey Park—in honor of the famed Activist, Journalist and Publicist Marcus Garvey.

Within three years, the race grew and became one of the premiere attractions of the United States Cycling Federation. Each year the event draws more than 400+ United States Cycling Federation (USCF)—(now known as USA Cycling) licensed cyclist from the greater NYC area as well as nationally ranked competitors and international licensed riders—in addition to 100s of community amateur participants.

Since its inception in 1973, hundreds of national and international champions, as well as Olympic champions have raced the Skyscraper Classic.

Most notably is Nelson Beasley Vails, a road and track cyclist from Harlem. Who won his first series of amateur races at the Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic. He rode as a professional from 1988 to 1995, representing the USA in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, where he won the silver medal in the 1000-meter Match Sprint, behind compatriot Mark Gorski.

Vails was the first African-American cyclist to win an Olympic medal and he was inducted to the US Bicycle Hall of Fame in 2009. Nelson attends the Skyscraper Cycling Classic every year.


Executive Committee

Richard Cox – Team Unity Incorporated.

Event Promoter/Unitysports Productions
Richard Cox has served as Team Unity’s Executive Director since its inception in 1994; Ironically (a few years earlier) Richard returned to his native Harlem (Born in the Sugar Hill Section); to work alongside founder Detective Sargent David Walker, Sr. (NYPD Community Affairs) as he developed the Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic into one of the most celebrated community partnership events in America. A few years after David Walker passed away in 2008; Richard worked alongside several promotions before assuming the role of Race Promoter/Director in 2015. Since then Richard has expanded the event’s mission to include several programs which keeps the Skyscraper brand active year round as well as developing new partnerships with national associations and business leaders.

Nelson Vails

United States Olympian Silver Medalist (1984) Member;
Cycling Hall of Fame
Harlem Born Nelson Vails started his career racing at the Harlem Skyscraper Cycling Classic. He rode as a professional from 1988 to 1995 as well as representing the United States at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, where he became the first African American to medal in cycling. He was inducted to the US Bicycle Hall of Fame in 2009. Vails was also seen as a New York bicycle messenger in the film Quicksilver. He didn’t just play a bicycle messenger in “Quicksilver,” he worked as one in New York City. His nickname was “The Cheetah.”—the “Fastest Cat in the Jungle”.

Stephanie Luff, PhD.

Harlem resident Dr. Stephanie Luff is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Sturgeon lab group, Icahn School of Medicine here in New York City. An avid cyclist now venturing into the competitive ranks in 2021; Dr Luff received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology/Genetics, Dept. of Biological Sciences from the University of Delaware in 2016. Her competitive resume consists of several races with the CRCA and (of course) the Harlem Skyscraper.
  • David Walker
    Founder - 1973
  • Richard Cox
    Director
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