Community Profile: Major Taylor East Bay Cycling Club
Major Taylor East Bay Cycling Club’s mission is “to develop the skills of Black cyclists, promote health and wellness in Black communities, and promote safe cycling practices.” Founded by Kellie Scott, the organization fills a void in the Bay Area cycling community. When Scott returned to the Bay Area after years of living in Los Angeles, she missed the sense of community and acceptance she felt when she lived and rode in LA. For those not familiar with Los Angeles’s cycling community, it has multitudes upon multitudes. Any given day or night, one can find a group ride tailored to one’s physical and social needs. The Los Angeles paradox, a diverse bike culture in a world that immediately associates LA with cars, is not lost on the riders. The tongue-in-cheek #lasucksforcycling started appearing throughout social media along with images of epic rides, groups, and events.
While the Bay Area has wonderful cycling terrain, the broad cycling culture evident in Los Angeles has a way to go. Major Taylor East Bay is Kellie Scott’s contribution to change that. Understanding Major Taylor’s athletic and cultural significance helps frame the organization and its goals. Major Taylor was a professional cyclist and at the same time his name now signifies a movement.
World cycling champion Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor.
Marshall Walter “Major” Taylor was a professional cyclist whose racing career spanned from 1896 to 1910. He was the first Black athlete to win a world cycling championship and the second Black athlete to win a world championship in any sport. Known for his velodrome sprint skills, Taylor challenged racial prejudice, becoming a pioneer for future athletes subjected to discrimination. Major Taylor’s importance as an inspiration to others has gathered steam. As of this writing, there are Major Taylor-inspired bike organizations in 28 states as well as Britain and Kenya.
In its mission to promote health and wellness in Black communities, Major Taylor East Bay features regular group rides, some for all levels and others for advanced riders. Sunday’s Chabot Loop is for all skill levels and a good entry point for riders looking to train up. Wednesday morning’s well-named Major Pain, on the other hand, is for those with advanced group riding skills looking to further hone bike handling and conditioning.
For more information about the organization, membership, and rides, visit www.majortayloreastbay.com.