Portrait of African American cyclist and champion Marshall "Major" Taylor, seated on a bicycle, 1898. CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — This weekend, a 30-mile bike ride on the South Side will honor America’s first Black national sports hero: Marshall “Major” Taylor. The ride will take place Saturday, on the Major Taylor Trail, which runs south from the Dan Ryan Woods to the Whistler Woods. It’s the only trail dedicated to Taylor’s memory.
“He’s best known for being the fastest man alive on a bike,” said Dr. Brenda M. Dixon, with the Major Taylor Trail Keepers. Major Taylor Trail, which runs south from the Dan Ryan Woods to the Whistler Woods, is the only trail dedicated to the memory of Marshall “Major” Taylor. In 1897, Dixon said Taylor joined America’s first racially integrated professional sports team, the Boston Pursuit.
Two years later, Taylor raced his bike and won the Montreal World Championship. The victory made him the first Black American to win a cycling world title. Three years later, he entered 57 races in the European Tour — of which he won 40. Over the course of his career, Taylor broke several world speed records.
“All of our great ‘first’ athletes, they all stand on his shoulders,” said Dixon. Cyclists stop for a photo as they ride along the Major Taylor Trail. Dr. Brenda M. Dixon, with the Major Taylor Trail Keepers, said Taylor was "quite a remarkable man." "He did so much more for us than just being the fastest man," she said. […]