Marshall “Major” Taylor, also known as the “Worcester Whirlwind” was a champion bicyclist who broke world records and competed around the globe at the turn of the century. He was also a black man. He started racing professionally at age 18 and in a single year, by 1900, he held several major world records and had competed in events around the globe. Intense racism, however, was always an uphill battle for Taylor, who retired at age 32.
Now, a giant banner will show him, steely-faced on two wheels, on the side of the Casey Storage Solutions on McKeon Road, visible to motorists on Interstate 290. As the Worcester Telegram reports, the 23-foot image sites alongside basketball player Bob Cousy, an astronaut suit designed by the David Clark Co. and a distinctive neon sign that depicts Coney Island Hot Dogs.
News of the $100,000 banner project comes just ahead of the Gran Fono New England KMC Cross-Fest bicycle race, which benefits the Major Taylor Association. The Gran Fono race offers both challenge and enjoyment for riders of all skill level. The four different routes will each weave through the breath-taking autumn landscapes of New England. Passing through small towns, farms and stunning fall foliage, riders will have the opportunity to ride through Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, with portions covered by hard-packed gravel and others fully-paved. There will be competitions on each route, but competition is optional. Continue reading