Major Taylor

Major Taylor

Major Taylor

Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor (26 November 1878 – 21 June 1932) was an American cyclist who won the world 1 mile (1.6 km) track cycling championship in 1899 after setting numerous world records and overcoming racial discrimination. Taylor was the first African-American cyclist to achieve the level of world champion and only the second black man to win a world championship in any sport — after Canadian boxer George Dixon. (Wikipedia)

In the 1890s Worcester, Massachusetts was the capital of a very robust bicycling sport and industry in the United States. The city hosted six bicycle manufacturers and thirty bicycle shops with most of the bicycle shops fielding a racing team which competed in the many regional and national racing competitions.

In addition to winning the world one mile championship, Taylor won many other titles and at one point held the world record for seven different racing events. After his death in 1932, Taylor and his feats faded into history and he was largely forgotten in Worcester and in the nation’s bicycling community.

Beginning the Race

Beginning the Race

During the last 30 years the bicycling community has rediscovered its iconic champion. A few years ago Worcester placed a sculpture of the rider in front of the city’s public library and the major cycling association in the city holds an annual competition called the “Major Taylor George Street Hill climb“.

Held on George Street which is reputed to be the steepest street in Massachusetts and also the street on which Taylor trained during his race preparations, race contestants run time trails up the 500 yard street.

Gritting it out

Gritting it out

The event draws professional and amateur riders from all over the east coast and although the race only lasts a little over twenty seconds for the best riders, the stress on their quads lasts for days!

Moving on up

Moving on up

Almost at the Finish Line

Almost at the Finish Line

A Tandem Effort

A Tandem Effort

The race includes brackets by age and several multi-rider categories. This is a Father/Son team…..notice the look on the son’s face!

Major Taylor's Great Grandson

Major Taylor’s Great Grandson

This is Major Taylor’s great-grandson who lives in the Boston area and participates in the event each year.

The Greybeards

The Greybeards

These guys have some serious hair!

Picking up

Picking up

About 20% of the riders fail to make it up the hill. It’s only 500 yards but gravity often wins!

68 and defying gravity

68 and defying gravity

She’s competing in the 60-70 age bracket and finished 2nd. Awesome!

The competition is held in August each year and in 2015 it was cancelled because of rain. These photographs are from a race held several years ago.

Thank you for reading my latest blog entry. If you thought it was worthy of your time and you hadn’t already done so, please take the opportunity to subscribe by clicking the “Follow” button on the right side of the page. You will receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Also, you can share this blog entry on your Facebook page by clicking the share button below or you can email it to folks by clicking on the “Email” button.

Frank

Shrewsbury, MA

Aside | This entry was posted in Bicycling, Major Taylor. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Major Taylor

  1. Adrienne Landry says:

    Great pics once again, Frankie. But at 1a.m. all that sweating makes me feel yucky.

    Like

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