The fastest bicycle rider in the world at the turn of the twentieth century was “Major” Marshall Taylor. After entering his first race as a joke in 1891 at the age of 13 and winning it, by 1899 he held seven world records. Despite this success, however, he was kept from entering any national championships because of racial prejudice; Taylor was African American and the son of a Black civil war veteran.
A century after Taylor’s first race, the Major Taylor Trail was created along an old rail line to link the Dan Ryan Woods in Chicago with the Whistler Woods in Riverdale. Replacing a rail line that split the neighborhoods it ran through in two, the trail “has brought the community together,” says Peter Taylor, president of the Friends of the Major Taylor Trail. The Trail also features a mural documenting the life of Major Taylor. Peter Taylor, joins the show to chat with Worldview’s Food, Health and Culture contributor Monica Eng and Steve Bynum, in this week for Jerome McDonnell, about the stories of the trail and its legendary namesake.