BERNARDS TWP., NJ _ Bernards Township's Labor Day competitive adult and kids' bicycle races will not be taking place in 2019, out of respect for Greg Cordasco, who had organized the annual Olde Mill Inn races for 27 years before his passing this past April.
Cordasco, the co-owner of Liberty Cycle in Basking Ridge, brought competitive bike racing to downtown Basking Ridge and also helped organized the kids races, which each Labor Day drew hundreds of local children for a sprint on their bikes down South Finley Avenue.
Jennifer Gander, director of the township Parks and Recreation Department said in an announcement that the township hopes to resume the kids bike races in 2020. The bike races have been arranged by age groups, starting with children on training wheels.
"We humbly inform you that The Labor Day Bicycle Races will not be taking place in 2019," Gander said in an email. "Since its inception, The Labor Day Bicycle Races have been a shared effort between Bernards Township and Liberty Cycle."
The township's announcement said that for this, Liberty Cycle has decided not to host the adult portion of the Olde Mill Inn Tour of Basking Ridge, in consideration of Greg Cordasco’s recent passing.
"The Township will follow suit and not hold the children’s portion of the races both out of respect for the Cordasco family, and because the event is largely dependent on the adult tour for logistical planning and participation," the township's announcement said.
"Our thoughts and well wishes are with the Cordasco family and we hope to resume the event in 2020," the announcement said.
Cordasco, 56, was a state, regional and later a National Champion, with more than 25 race wins in his competitive cycling career, before he lost his life to a form of brain cancer on April 24.
Along with the Labor Day bike races, Liberty Corner Cycle and Bernards Township for several years hosted the BaseCamp International races in late spring, which was a National Racing Calendar event and attracted many professionals from the region and internationally to "fly through the streets of beautiful downtown Basking Ridge, NJ over a fast, technical 1.1 mile loop," as the organizers described it on a cycling website.
During those years, Liberty Cycle also held collections for used bikes, which the shop refurbished to give to kids who couldn't afford to buy new ones. In 2017, the shop also opened a cafe that became a place for locals to gather.