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Ride Along With Kevin Dekkinga To The Major Taylor Invitational

This past weekend I had the honor of attending the first-ever Major Taylor Invitational in Indianapolis. Thank you to our friends at the Major Taylor Cycling Club of Central Indiana, a program of Bike Indianapolis, for hosting this historic gathering of Major Taylor Bike Clubs, which rallied these storied clubs under a new, unified Major Taylor Cycling Alliance name and celebrated the legacy of Major Taylor.

A native of Indianapolis, Marshall “Major” Taylor is considered one of the greatest professional cyclists in history. Despite facing ceaseless discrimination from the cycling authority and gatekeepers in the industry (the League’s precursor, L.A.W. included), Major went on to hold seven world records, winning races all over the world and becoming an inspiration to aspiring cyclists across the globe.

More than 500 cyclists participated in the three-day festivities, which included plenty of opportunities to discover the history of Major Taylor’s hometown. Friday afternoon kicked off with a ride to the Major Taylor Velodrome, followed by Saturday’s 100K road event and evening reception at the Indiana State Museum, featuring the inspiring new exhibit, Major Taylor: Fastest Cyclist in the World.     

Through the exhibit, visitors are able to “hear from great contemporary cyclists about how Taylor’s story has inspired a new generation of Black riders, see Taylor’s bicycle and many artifacts from the museum collection donated by his daughter Rita Sydney Taylor Brown, plus learn about bicycle safety and design, tinker with bikes and bike parts, test their skills and times on stationary bikes and more.”

Saturday and Sunday, paced group rides marked the celebration of Juneteenth and allowed for members of clubs across the county to meet and ride together. Having been to more cycling events than I can count, I can’t speak highly enough of the organizers, volunteers and clubs for hosting such a welcoming and high-spirited event. It was truly a party on two wheels. 

Thanks, also, to my new bike friends at Major Taylor Louisville, Major Taylor Cycling Club DFW, Metro 313 Cyclones, and all the League members I was able to catch up with on Saturday’s ride. The League of American Bicyclists is proud to support this event and we look forward to working with this new organization to amplify and support the movement of Black cycling clubs around the country. Thanks for the great time!