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Nelson Vails(6 posts)

Nelson VailsTarantula
Mar 19, 2002 10:17 PM
I am trying to find a web site(s) with info or photos on Nelson Vails (the Cheetah). Any books or even personal stories. I know about the movie. He was just before I became cycle aware, but now I am interested.
This issue of velo news has a photospookyload
Mar 19, 2002 10:52 PM
He is motorpacing in 1982...actually he is holding on to the motorcycle. I knew there was a reason he was so fast. Wait a minute...it might have actually been his 35" thighs that made him so fast.
re: Nelson VailsMikeC
Mar 20, 2002 6:17 AM
I used to live in Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, the home of the Lehigh County Velodrome, where Nelson used to spend a lot of time in the mid-80's. I was the vp of marketing for an amusement park called Dorney Park, and Nelson always used to stop by to chat and pick up some free tickets. He was usually accompanied by Mark Gorski.
Mark was quiet, and Nelson was Mr. Personality, always ready with a story and always surrounded by female cycling groupies, who just seemed to gravitate to him.
I used to commute on my Bianchi Super Leggera, and I was pleased that he always remembered my bike whenever I saw him.
I got Nelson and Mark to spend an afternoon at the amusement park signing autographs after the '84 Olympics. I advertised it quite heavily, but I was devastated by the lack of interest from the public. Even though the park was busy and we had a couple of Olympians ready to get up close and personal, very few people stopped by to meet them. I should have known better than to try to combine my personal interests with business!
Nelson was a great ambassador for cycling. He was friendly, outgoing, articulate, and never acted like a star. And I really knew he liked me when he said how smart I was for being an early adopter of bike helmets, but called me a fred for mounting a home-made mirror on one!
By the way...MikeC
Mar 20, 2002 7:04 AM
I made the mistake of mixing business and pleasure again in 1989, when I paid to have a Tour de Trump stage run through the amusement park. That wasn't a good business move, either!
'86 Worlds....surly357
Mar 20, 2002 9:28 AM
Never met the guy but I do remember the nighttime crit they had in Colo Springs during the World Championship week. He was hawking jerseys and just generally cracking up the crowd along the streets.
I saw in JanuarySherpa23
Mar 20, 2002 9:59 AM
In January 2002, I did a public appearance with some of the other pro cyclists in Colorado and Nelson and I sat together for a 4 hour autograph session. He had his son, Trevor, with him who was having a great time climbing around our legs under the table. Nelson was very mellow and he told me some hilarious stories from his era of racing while we signed autographs. After having raced on some of the tight tracks in Europe (as a points racer) and hearing his stories as a sprinter on those tracks, it really made me grateful for some of the way-paving that guys that Roger Young, Mark Gorski, and Nelson did. All in all, I would have to say that he is one of the coolest guys that I have met in the bike racing world.