If you are a cyclist and you don’t know who this guy is, you should.
Some of his records stood for 40 years. Even the name “major” was an insult. A reference to the circus uniform he was forced to wear by his handlers.
Revered as a star athlete in Europe and reviled in America as a sideshow freak…
I often wondered if those genetically superior white boys, who couldn’t hang on his wheel felt superior to the lightning fast colored boy…
When he died he was first buried in a pauper’s grave. Thanks to Frank Schwinn and others he was moved to a place of honor, on the south side of Chicago.
There is a velodrome in Indianapolis, his hometown, built in his honor.
I’ve ridden a few times with the New Jersey Major Taylor team. I was the white guy at the back of the pack trying to hang on. They honor the man and his name and his natural talent.
Marshall Walter Taylor, the fastest cyclist in the world.