Joseph F. Crowley was born in Yonkers on June 12, 1985, the eldest of three sons born to Mr. and Mrs. John Crowley.
He was drawn to bicycling while attending St. Mary’s School and became so proficient at it that he won the Westchester County Championship at the Wakefield Park when he was 15 years of age.
At the Age of 17 he was recognized as one of America ‘a premier cyclist and was invited to compete for the U.S. Olympic Team in 1013. The dream to wear the red, White and blue in Sweden never materialized for although he won all preliminary races from two to one hundred miles he was run down by a passing car; he was cut of by a milk wagon; he was deterred by a passing train.
Undaunted, he continued wining races and was crowned champion of Westchester, Rockland and Fairfield counties. He defeated such nationally known cyclist as Harry Kaiser, Bronx champion; and Jack Town send and Robert Fischer, The U.S. Army titlists.
From 1912 on he raced in hundreds of races throughout the areas and was a favorite of the fans who packed in New York Velodrome. Offers to turn professional came from many sources throughout the nation but Joe Crowley was most jealous and proud of his amateur status. Thus he wore the colors of such simon-pure organization as the Yonkers YMCA, the Hollywood Inn, the Century Road Club, Acme Wheelmen and the Yonkers Athletic Club.
His greatest achievement took place in 1921 when he set a mark that stands to this day. The record for the 146 mile distance from New York’s City Hall to Albany had stood for years at 10 hours, 3 minutes. All the outstanding riders on the Eastern Sea bored attempted to break this record but fell victim to exhaustion or injuries incurred by riding the dark roads at night.
Leaving New York at midnight Crowley arrived at the State Capitol in the unbelievable of 9hours 21 minutes in spite of the tire punctures and one bad spill.
His attempt to break the record from New York to Boston failed when after covering 219 miles in 14 ½ hours and being almost two hours ahead of the existing record, he was forced to discontinue by terrible road conditions in Northboro, Massachusetts.
When he put away his racing togs for the last time Joe Crowley continued bicycling for his enjoyment and conditioning. His interest then spread to speed boats and flying airplanes. He dedicated a great deal of his time to the instruction of Cadets of the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. He was one of the pioneers of Civil Air Patrol in Westchester Country and rose to the rank of colonel and then commander of New York State.
He died on November 19, 1957, in Yonkers, the city he loved so well.