Wisconsin Bicycling Hall of Fame: Otto Wenz, Sport 2017

For decades, you couldn’t talk about bike racing in Milwaukee without mentioning Otto Wenz. While Otto raced himself when he was younger, his real talent was promoting the sport and was best known for organizing, the International Cycling Classic or “Superweek.”

For decades, you couldn’t talk about bike racing in Milwaukee without mentioning Otto Wenz. While Otto raced himself when he was younger, his real talent was promoting the sport. He became a national figure bike racing for organizing the International Cycling Classic. Better know as “Superweek,” this visionary week-long series of road and criterium races began attracting riders from across the country and the world the 1970s, a time when domestic racers elsewhere in the country only had a limited menu of one-day races.

Black and white vintage photo of a young Otto Wenz standing next to a bicycle
Otto did race in his younger years, but he was best know for promoting the sport he loved.

Wenz also played an instrumental role in planning the 1978 World Cycling Championships for juniors–marking the first time in 66 years since the world championships last came to the United States. The 1978 junior worlds generated international attention in Allentown, Penn., where the track championships were held on the Trexlertown Velodrome, and in Washington, D.C., where the road races were held in Rock Creek Park.

From 1975 to 1979 Wenz served as president of the U.S. Cycling Federation, and afterward directed and chaired various USCF committees. Wenz served as chairman of the 1986 world cycling championships in Colorado Springs, the first full worlds program in the United States since 1912 and perhaps his most important contribution.