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The great bicycle race of 1975

March 19, 2011
By HOWARD RILEY, hjriley@adelphia.net

I have so many stories to write, all backed up on my desk, waiting for more details on this and that like the great bicycle race of 1975 featuring Little Joe Gladd as the racer to beat. Jerry Cavallo has all the old stories on this from Enterprise clippings (from which all the following quotes are taken), featuring Bill McLaughlin and his magic typewriter. Hit a bunch of keys on that old typewriter, and one could never tell what kind of a story would pop up on that 8-by-10-inch piece of paper - for instance:

"Much quiet betting favors Joe Cavallo, who inherited his father's Italian build 'Vespucci' when he died two years ago. Joe rides the road from Turtle Pond to the Belvedere daily and has clocked in some amazing times." Now, truth be told, Joe may never in his life have been on a bicycle but that would spoil the story.

There was a very real bicycle race, however, named the Dr. Sageman Memorial Race to raise money for the civic center. The chairman of the event was John Morgan, and the races were ABLA (?) sanctioned. There were many classes of racers in age and distance, which I can't quite piece together from the information at hand, so I will stick to all the promotion for the "Old Timers" class, again promoting Little Joe as the guy to beat. For you late arrivals, Little Joe owned a very popular bar and restaurant where Ayers Insurance is located today.

Article Photos

A Bill McLaughlin sketch

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Challenges and other bits and pieces

"Pete Gladd of M. Gladd & Sons, Datsun dealer on Lake Colby Drive, has so much confidence in the stamina of his famous athlete brother that Pete will contribute $10 in the name of the Saranac Lake Skating Arena Fund for every old timer who beats Little Joe on race day.

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"Red Plumadore, representing the Golden Age of Sports, is expected to be on the stating line. Don Scammell and Tony Piro of the beverage industry have been classed as eligibles. The hottest rivalry is among cafe owners Joe Isabella, Vincent Pelletieri, Dew Drop Morgan and Joe Cavallo, who are somewhat natural enemies to begin with. The problem of dogs roaming the streets will be handled by the judicial branch in charge of unleashed animals.

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"The Restaurant Owners Association have listed Joe Isabella as a 3 to 1 favorite, if he enters. This wagering edge is based on the knowledge of Joe's stamina developed by running up and down the five flights of stairs in the Alpine Hotel (which he then owned) all winter getting his legs built up. He said that Joe Cavallo's idea of getting in shape was to send his wife out of town for a month, which oddly enough took place just recently.

"When Dew Drop was approached (about racing) he was noncommittal but thought Vinnie Pelletieri might have a chance if his feet reached the pedals. These pointed slights don't bother the diminutive Broadway Cycling Sultan who sports the new Adler elevator-soled racing shoes and who considers competition the life blood of Broadway. Little Joe himself is favoring barrister Jim LaPan, better known as a yatchsman, may be the man to beat. Hoots and cries of 'nonsense' greeted that prophecy.

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The serious race

"A special 26-mile event is part of the A.B.L.A. 52-mile feature drawing the cream of the crop of professional riders and top amateurs from all over the east. A second feature is also programmed for local athletes covering a 13-mile test sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and Miller High Life. A $1,000 prize purse is up for grabs starting at 10 a.m. and ending at noon.

With entries coming in from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont and New York, Sageman bike race Chairman John Morgan indicated today that the field of participants may go over the original expectations."

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The "Bell" history

Jerry Cavallo has the history of his Italian family in pictures on the wall and a picture of the Belvedere when it was three stories tall. His family has been at that site since 1933 - beginning the business when prohibition ended.

It was a comfortable feeling when I would deliver the Enterprise to the "Bell" in 1942 and see Jerry's grandfather and his friend Steve Carpenter sitting at a table in the window just to the right of the entry door to the bar - playing cards, visiting or just watching the passing parade on Bloomingdale Avenue ... and that parade was pretty steady with the Old Military Estates (or Cantwell Estates) crowded with beautiful homes and influential families. The two-, three-story Gutshow cure cottages on the corner of Bloomingdale Avenue filled with TB patients. Turn up Pine Street to the numerous cure cottages in the Helen Hill area, and you had a great flow of cars and people passing on the avenue.

 
 

 

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