The Origin of Crescent City Cyclists

Have you ever wondered how long Crescent City Cyclists has been around, or how it got started. As the current keeper of the club’s collection of early newsletters and other documents, I decided it would be a good idea to sift through this archive of local cycling history and republish some of the more interesting tidbits on the website. This first installment is a newsletter article celebrating the CCC’s tenth anniversary in 1987. Yes, the CCC was founded way back in 1977! In the article, former member Tom Loretto describes the genesis of our organization.


CCC’s Ten Years of Wheeling

{From CCC Newsletter, Vol. IV, No. 3 – Summer 1987.}

Labor Day 1987 marks the 10th anniversary of the CCC. What began in 1977 as a group of 25 people interested in touring in and about the New Orleans area has blossomed into a full fledged touring club committed to promoting bicycling in New Orleans and providing a variety of rides to its several hundred members.

The CCC traces its roots to former Gus Betat’s Broad St. store manager, Gregg Gullotta, and the New Orleans Bicycling Club (NOBC). In 1976, Gregg and present CCC member Chris Jenkins were loosely affiliated with the NOBC. However, the NOBC was, and still is, a racing club. That is, the bicycling events it promoted were races, and not tours. Chris and Gregg’s attempts to spread their interest in bicycle touring were thus frustrated because there was no organized touring club in New Orleans.

In the fall of 1976, Chris and Gregg placed a touring addendum in the NOBC newsletter to announce slower paced rides. These rides soon attracted a small but strong contingent that held an expressed interest in bicycle touring. Present CCC member Marc Weiss was a part of this group. He and Gregg both believed an organized touring club should be formed, so a meeting was held at Gregg’s house in fall, 1976 to finalize this. The attendees decided that the incipient touring club should have no affiliation with NOBC or Gus
Betat’s, as these were both racing dominated enterprises. Consequently, a club name without the initials N.O. was deemed important. Thus, the title “Crescent City Cyclists” was conceived. This alternative caught their fancy, and “Crescent City Cyclists” was approved as the name of the new club.

The momentum captured by this meeting and the regularly held touring rides set the wheels of the hoped for touring club in motion. On August 28, 1977 the Crescent City Cyclists held their first official meeting. A subsequent letter dated September 27, 1977 announced 25 paid members, at the $10.00 entrance fee. Members decided the club’s purpose should be to promote recreational bicycling in the New Orleans area. Marc Weiss served as the CCC’s first president.

One year later, the club rolled on solid financial pavement. Board members thus decided to continue their pursuit of promoting recreational bicycling in and about New Orleans. They elected a new president, Chris Jenkins. She filled this role for 1978-79. N. B. Day became the first newsletter editor, and was responsible for the release of a monthly publication complete with bicycle notes and ride schedule. In 1978, the CCC became a League of American Wheelmen (LAW) affiliated club. By financially supporting the LAW, the CCC is listed in the LAW directory of USA bicycle clubs, and receives LAW patches for LAW-sanctioned century rides. {The LAW is now known as the League of American Bicyclists (LAB).}

The CCC is still on firm pavement, with a sound financial base and a membership of over 400 {in 1987}. Past presidents include Mike Leathers (1980), N.B. Day (1981), Ralph Haberger (1982), Brian Lambert (1983), Mark Manson &. Brian Lambert (1984), and your incumbent William Hudson (1985-86). CCC board members have regular meetings, and the club prints a fine quarterly newsletter. At least one city and one country ride are offered each weekend. The aspirations of the founding members have been well met. However, there is no reason for the growth of the CCC and subsequent benefits to New Orleans bicyclists to slow or stop. Club members are all too aware that a good portion of New Orleans auto drivers don’t give adequate rights to bicyclists. The continued growth of the CCC can only serve to mitigate this problem. Happy 10th Birthday C C C — may you continue to grow and prosper!

— Tom Loretto

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