[CR]Cyclo-Pedia and Gene Portuesi

From: kurtsj@mtco.com
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
Date: Tue, 06 Feb 2001 09:08:48 -0600 (CST)
Subject: [CR]Cyclo-Pedia and Gene Portuesi

Hi gang, I was searching the web for Cyclo-Pedia, and came up, unfortunately, with an obituary for Gene Portuesi. Mr. Portuesi's demise was certainly news to me. I hope it is in the spirit of the CR list if I attach the text of his obit, as it does a nice job of listing all of his contributions to American cycling. I know that I benefited from the Cyclo-Pedia catalogs and the wide variety of equipment that they sold.

Steve Kurt


Eugenio 'Gene' Gildo Portuesi
        Died July 9, 2000
        FIFE LAKE - Eugenio "Gene" Gildo Portuesi, born Dec. 19, 1916, in Detroit, and local Fife Lake resident since February 1970, passed away Sunday at home.
        He is survived by his wife of 31 years, Rita "Rit" LaBrash Portuesi; one brother, Salvador "Sal" Portuesi of Riverview, Fla.; niece, Linda Portuesi Gould of Battle Creek; and nephews, Sebastian Portuesi Jr. of Seattle, Wash., David Portuesi of Mount Clements, and Michael Frances Portuesi of Bakersfield, Calif.
        Gene and Rit owned Cycle Sport Shop, which they moved from Detroit to Cadillac, in February 1970. In October 1980, where as a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association, Gene retired in Fife Lake to hunt and fish.
        One of the United States' most outstanding coaches for the sport of bicycle racing, Gene became interested in bicycle racing as a teenager when his family lived for several years in L'Escarene, a village in the vicinity of Nice, France, where he enjoyed watching the Tour de France come through his village every year.
        He began his racing career in Detroit, with a bicycle he brought back from France in 1936, where he won the Men's Michigan State Bicycle Racing Championships in 1938 and 1939. However, due to family obligations and finances, he wasn't ever able to represent Michigan in the National Championships.
        At the end of World War II, Gene, in partnership with Mike Walden, opened two stores as Continental Sport Shops in Detroit. Shortly afterwards Gene was drafted and spent two years in the Pacific theater in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged in 1947. Gene's brother, Sal, managed one of the stores until his return. In the early 1950s the partnership was dissolved and Gene opened Cycle Sport Shop on Michigan Ave. in Detroit, a landmark for the racing community and the home of the Spartan Cycling Club.
        In 1953 he created the first mail-order catalogue ever dedicated to fine bicycle racing equipment, the "Cyclo-Pedia." Not only did this expert offer the finest in road and track equipment, the catalogue was filled with information concerning diets, weight training, and tactics for both road and track racers. Gene had his team members taking vitamin supplements and doing weight training that well prepared them for world class performances.
        With his second outstanding contribution to cycling, Gene was responsible for coaching many cyclists who became national and world champions. Because of this talent, he was picked as the coach of the USA 1964 Olympic cycling team for the games in Tokyo, Japan.
        Visitation hours will be 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. today at Covell-Smith Funeral Home in Kingsley.
        Special services will be conducted by Lay Pastoral Minister, Bernadine Hess on Thursday at 11 a.m. at the funeral home with burial immediately following in Grayling.
        Gene will be remembered by his friends and family for his dedication to the American principle of hard work and faithful service to those whose lives he touched.
        In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Father Flanagan's Boys Home, Boys Town Nebraska, 68010.