|Frank Kramer. Photo -
nationale de France, département
Estampes et photographie
One of the greatest of those early American greats was Frank L. Kramer, of East Orange, winner of 16 consecutive US Titles. He won most of those titles in Newark. And the one and only time Kramer won the UCI World Title, he rode to victory on the track in Newark. And one of the few times Kramer lost a US title, he lost to his good friend and the greatest African-American cyclist of all time. Equally legendary 'Major' Marshall Taylor beat Kramer at the Vailsberg Velodrome in 1900 (unconfirmed). And for those that don't know, it is likely that Taylor would have challenged Kramer for many more US Titles hadn't racism made it much more appealing to Taylor to race in Europe and elsewhere abroad.
So here is my simple proposal. Why not approach Mr. Rechnitz to bring his velodrome to Newark? His gift could go a lot further in the Brick City than it could in Brooklyn. It could also be a new focus of community reinvestment and sports culture in Newark. Despite the plague of doping in the professional sport, bicycle racing is bigger than ever with amateurs. A velodrome in Newark would bring hundreds if not thousands of cyclists to the city with money in hand. With Newark's and New Jersey's storied history as the epicenter of bicycle racing during the Golden Age of Bicycling a hundred years ago, Newark is the natural choice for Mr. Rechnitz' velodrome.