Robert David Rodale, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Rodale Press, Inc. in Emmaus, Pennsylvania was the son of the company’s founder J.I.Rodale. He served as a writer, editor and manger for the company for 20 years before taking the lead in 1971 after his father’s death. Throughout his career he worked to develop, promote and gain acceptance for innovative ideas in the areas of farming, gardening, food, nutrition, health and fitness.
Under Robert’s guidance, Rodale Press expanded the publishing program J.I. had established with ORGANIC GARDENING and the nation’s number one health magazine, PREVENTION. Newer Rodale publications including BICYCLING, RUNNER’S WORLD, MEN’S HEALTH and WOMEN’S HEALTH have all become leaders in their fields. Rodale also publishes highly acclaimed books on gardening, health and fitness and the environment.
Robert Rodale was a member of the United States Skeet Shooting Team competing in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. While there, he became fascinated with the bicycling events and on returning home, he began the construction of the velodrome in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania. The velodrome was completed in 1975.. In 1977 Rodale purchased BICYCLING magazine, which has become the most successful bicycling magazine in the country.
On September 20,1990 Rodale was killed in an automobile accident in Moscow while in the Soviet Union to launch a Russian language edition of The New Farm magazine.
After his death, the 103 acre Bob Rodale Cycling and Fitness Park which includes the 333 meter velodrome was established in Trexlertown by Lehigh County. The park includes a 1.3 mile long 24 foot wide asphalt track for bicycling, walking and jogging.
TREXLERTOWN PA VELODROME TIMELINE
1975 Trexlertown Velodrome hosts its first race on Oct. 12
1976 First full season of the Trexlertown Velodrome begins. U.S. Olympic Team spends the early season in T-town.
1977 First Air Products Developmental Cycling Program, the only cycling program in the U.S. offering free instruction.
1978 Hosts Jr. World Cycling Championships, first cycling world championships in U.S. In 62 years. Also hosts the International Madison Championships.
1979 Renamed The Lehigh County Velodrome
1980 Five-time Olympic gold medalist Eric Heiden races in front of a record crowd.
1988 The Iron Curtain lifts for a special USA vs. USSR Dual Meet. Dave Letteri becomes the first Air Products Developmental Cycling graduate named to an Olympic Team.
1989 Hosts Jr. World Trials. Five of the six qualifiers are from velodrome programs.
1990 ABC Wide World of Sports broadcasts the Olympic Cup live from T-Town.
1994 Marty Nothstein, a T-Town native becomes the first U.S. man in 82 years to win a world sprint title.
1995 Ground breaking begins for the $2.5 million velodrome renovation and expansion to accommodate the Olympic Trials.
1996 Track renamed Lehigh Valley Velodrome and hosts U.S. Olympic Trials with 30,000+ spectators. Nothstein wins Silver medal at Atlanta Olympic Games.
1997 Hosts UCI World Cup of Track Cycling
2000 Nothstein wins Olympic gold in Sydney, Australia
2009 Hometown Olympic Gold Medalist Marty Nothstein ushers in the next era as the velodrome’s new executive director.