Marshall W. “Major” Taylor is the fastest man to ride a bicycle you’ve probably never heard of.
When an NYC pro racing team signed him in 1898 at age 19, bicycle racing was huge – consistently selling out Madison Square Garden.
Major Taylor – a name he got in his early days performing bicycle tricks in full military garb – won his first race at 13. His then boss Louis “Birdie” Munger, a former pro cyclist and bike manufacturer himself, decided it was time for the big fish to leave the small pond of Indiana. He became a professional biker at the age of 18.
Birdie became Taylor’s race manager and father figure in The Big Apple. He stood up with him in the face of the sport’s widespread racism. During races, Taylor faced verbal and physical attacks from other cyclists but never lost his nerve. He went on to set several world records in the sprint discipline.
In 1828, a few years before his death, he published a memoir called The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World. He died poor, but he’s honored in both Indiana with the Major Taylor Velodrome, and in cycling clubs across the USA.
Sometimes it takes time until you shine.
You want do know who else is fast? This here kung-fu nun biker gang.