Life in War Times and Beyond
Through the 1930’s club racing and championships continued. Of note were long distance rides by member Tom Smerglio, and the feat of member Albert Marquet who rode a measured mile behind a specially prepared racing car to a new record speed of 86.95mph!
Throughout the 1930’s club’s divisions ran race series on many of the roads of New York and continued to host banquets for the Italian riders and victors of the Six Day races at Madison Square Garden.
Following upon the Great Depression, the World War II years affected cycling greatly. Otto Sr. noted that at many races during the war years there were more officials than racers. In deference to the members involved in the armed services the club championship was suspended in the years from 1943 to 1946.
The club moved its offices during this period to locations at 627 Lexington Avenue, W46th Street, and Bleeker Street. (USI 50th Anniversary Banquet Brochure Article by Otto Eisele, Sr.)
The organizational change that came in 1944 when the UCI recognized the ABL meant the American Bicycle League would continue organizing the Olympic trials and this meant that Otto Sr. and the Unione Sportiva Italiana would be involved in their organization.
Following WWII the Six Day races were no longer as popular and the semi annual races moved out of the Garden to one of NYC’s armories where dedicated followers could continue to cheer their sport.
In 1948 a young rider named Wendell Rollins moved to the area and stayed with the Eiseles. Wendell proved to be better than anyone thought and made the Olympic team as a member of the USI. He was the first USI member on an Olympic cycling squad. (Otto Eisele Jr.)