Major Taylor's bicycle is on display at the ADT Event Center velodrome for the UCI Track Cycling World Championships, taking place March 24-27, 2005, at the Home Depot Center outside Los Angeles, U.S.
The vintage Peugeot bicycle is on loan to The Home Depot Center from the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in Bridgewater, N.J. The bike belonged to 1899 world cycling champion Marshall W. "Major" Taylor (1878-1932), who was the first African-American athlete to become an international sports superstar. A decade before boxer Jack Johnson and half a century before baseball player Jackie Robinson, Taylor challenged society's attitudes about race and won competitions, fans and respect. He was the second black world champion in any sport, after bantamweight boxer George Dixon.
The Peugeot on display at The Home Depot Center is one of several bikes that Taylor brought home from his seasons racing in Paris in 1901-03 and 1907-09. The bicycle was made at a factory run by the brothers Armand and Eugene Peugeot in Valentigney, France. Taylor likely raced on the Peugeot on outdoor tracks such as the Buffalo Velodrome in the Paris suburb of Neuilly and Parc des Princes in western Paris. In the United States, Taylor raced under contract for Iver Johnson Arms & Cycle Works of Fitchburg, Mass., in 1900 and 1901. Iver Johnson bikes were distinguished by an added underslung top tube for extra stiffness.
With assistance from the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame and the Major Taylor Association, Inc., in Taylor's adopted hometown of Worcester, Mass., The Home Depot Center has created a display showcasing the bike along with pictures and text about the life and legacy of Indiana native Major Taylor, also known as "the Worcester Whirlwind." The Major Taylor Association is raising money for a permanent monument to Taylor in Worcester.
For more information about Major Taylor, his bike, or the work of the Major Taylor Association, got to www.majortaylorassociation.org/news.htm