Rare Major Taylor race photos

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66TigerCat

I live for the CABE
I recently acquired these from a seller in Belgium. c.1907, Major Taylor vs. Charles Van Den Born, Belgian National Champ (and later early aviation pioneer). The location is the velodrome at Bois De La Cambre, a park in Brussels. The photos were taken from the infield so they may have been taken by an official track photographer or an amateur who had access. What makes these so rare (and awesome) is that you don't see MT action shots very often. There are two in this lot, the shot of them coming out of turn four and the one of them doing a track stand (note Taylor has his right hand on the tire to steady himself). Also, the pic of him in the robe pre-race is such a great candid shot. Taylor is likely riding a Peugeot. Very excited to add these to the archive.
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66TigerCat

I live for the CABE
Essentially yes. The track stand was a technique that cyclists employed to gain an advantage over their opponent. The riders would creep up to the starting line and balance themselves by applying pressure forwards and backwards to the crank in order to remain upright. If you could force the other rider to pass you you could then draft behind him and have ample power to beat him to the line. Taylor is slowing himself to a stop with his hand in order to stay behind Van Den Born. I believe this was more common in Europe than the US at the time, or maybe it's the other way around. I hope I was able to explain that clearly. Someone who has raced on the track could probably sum it up better. @corbettclassics
 

The Spokemaster

Finally riding a big boys bike
The guys who raced way-back-then were genuine HARD MEN, MADE OF STEEL ....we do not have athletes like them nowadays ....the word TOUGH fails to describe them ....the racing was 'bare knuckled' like a 'knife fight' on wheels

Marshall Taylor was well acquainted with the notion of 'suffering'

They rode fixed gear bicycles ....pedal forward = go forward ....pedal backwards = go backwards ....no brakes
 
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