dandyhorse magazine’s 12 days of Christmas gift giveaway now closed




Announcing dandyhorse magazine's 12 days of Christmas readers' survey!

From December 13-25 we'll be giving away one fantastic prize pack each day to a lucky reader. To enter all you have to do is fill out our 2011 readers' survey now:


In just one week, on Tuesday December 13 we'll start selecting winners!

Over 12 days we'll be giving away the prize packs linked below:

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12

Prize packages feature products from:

Prizes donated by our sponsors.

Kitties do not come with prize packages. All cats and kittens are available for adoption through the Toronto Animal Services.

Rules: dandyhorse will randomly draw one winning name each day starting Dec. 13 2011 for a period of 12 days. By completing our readers' survey and providing your contact information you will automatically be eligible for all 12 draws until your name is drawn. No purchase necessary. Prizes can be picked up at dandyHQ by appointment or will be available for pick up at a dandy event in February 2012. dandyhorse magazine respects your privacy. Your contact information will not be shared, sold or given away and is obtained for the purpose of contacting winning participants. Prizes are as awarded and cannot be exchanged or redeemed for cash value.

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“The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World” Major Taylor

Paris, May 27, 1901. After winning the first heat, Major Taylor shakes hands with his French opponent, Jaquelin, at the start of the second heart, which he would also win. Taylor won his first World Championship in Montreal at the Queen's Park Track on August 10, 1899, making him the first black world champion bicycle racer.

ALL Images courtesy of Cycle Publishing.

"The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World"

Major Taylor was also the first black professional cyclist

Story by Tammy Thorne and Manny Perez

Major Taylor was born Marshall Walter Taylor on this day, November 26, in 1878 on the outskirts of Indianapolis into a poor farming family and eventually came to be known as “The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World”.

The story of his life is illustrated beautifully in the coffee table book, Major Taylor: “The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World” by Andrew Ritchie, published in October 2009 by Cycle Publishing.

dandyhorse magazine was sent a copy of this extremely well-documented, 208-page biography of the world’s first black professional cyclist and has since kept it with our most treasured cycling reference books.

On the anniversary of his birthday, and as we have begun our series “How we got here: from the days of the dandyhorse” we thought it would be appropriate to share some of Major Taylor’s amazing history from a book that provides the fullest account of his life.

The stories are lush with detail and easy to follow, aided by the 100-plus wonderfully preserved duotone photos, like this rare action photo from Paris 1903 below, which shows Taylor in the back ready to make a jump on his Dutch (Meyers) and Danish (Ellegaard) opponents:

Here are a few tidbits from the first pages of the biography, which include more intimate details of Taylor’s first encounters with the bicycle...

Well before being taken under the wing of bicycle men “Birdie” Munger and Arthur Zimmerman, young Taylor had benefited from his father's talents as an experienced coachman and his subsequent connections to a very wealthy white family: The Southards. The Southard's son, Dan, was the same age as Marshall and they became playmates. So, Southard hired Marshall as a companion for his young son and treated young Taylor as his own.

Ritchie uses Taylor’s autobiography from 1929 as a source for rich quotes from Taylor himself, like this: “All of the other playmates were from wealthy families and they all had bicycles so Dan made sure I had a bicycle too and I soon became a big favourite among them. Perhaps because of my ability to hold up my end in all the different games we played…such as cycling and trick riding...” Taylor’s autobiography was called: The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World: The Story of a Colored Boy’s Indomitable Courage and Success Against Great Odds.

But when the Southards moved to Chicago he was left to the 'regular' life of a common errand boy. The bicycle helped him get work as a teenager. He began delivering papers.

One day he needed a bike repair and went to Hay & Willits bike shop in town. Following the repair, Taylor “made a fancy mount” on his bike and Mr. Hay asked “Who taught you that trick?” Taylor replied that he had taught himself and when Hay smiled doubtfully, Taylor said, “that was one of my easiest tricks” and offered a number of better tricks. Hay cleared the shop floor for Taylor and the exhibition was so good he hired the 13-year-old immediately to perform in front of the shop…that day! The promotion was so popular that the police had to be called to clear the ensuing traffic jam.

Hay wanted the teenager to come work for him on a regular basis, and after a short negotiation, Hay offered him $6 per week, one dollar more than he was already making on his paper route and a shiny new bicycle worth an entire $35. Taylor said his “eyes nearly popped out of his head” but told Hay he would consult his mother on the offer first. Taylor began working full-time for Hay shortly thereafter where he did regular shop duties, but also performed bike tricks daily in a soldier’s uniform as a publicity gimmick to entice new customers.

There is no definitive story on how he got the name Major or why it stuck, but the story of the soldier’s uniform is sometimes used to explain its origins.

No matter how he came to be called Major, he was very likely the fastest rider in the U.S. from 1897 through 1900. But his greatest struggle was prejudice. Ritchie notes: “…In a world where black people were expected to know their place and not to challenge the dominance of whites, the success of this plucky youngster against white competitors came as a disturbing shock… and his astonishing speed as a revelation.”

His many achievements rank him as one of the most extraordinary pioneers among black athletes.

Taylor was the first black athlete to compete regularly in an integrated sports team for an annual American championship and he was also the second African-American World Champion in any sport, behind boxer George Dixon.

By 1898 he held seven world records at distances from a quarter to two miles but he refused to race on Sundays which ultimately hampered the sheer number of titles he would achieve. As noted, he became world champion in 1899 and American sprint champion in 1899 and 1900. He then broke a series of world records and received rapturous acclaim during a triumphant tour of Europe. The French still talk about the 1901 races of Paris today. He was the most admired, the most controversial, the most talked about and quite simply the most famous bicycle racer in America at the time. He had become the most prominent American athlete of the day and one of the most celebrated black Americans.

The story of his rise to fame is a fascinating one that Ritchie tells well in Major Taylor: "The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World."

Here are a few more of the wonderful photos from inside:

America's first racially integrated professional sports team, the 1897 Boston Pursuit team.

Major Taylor poses on his bike showing his winning posture. This photo was taken in the Fall of 1899 after Taylor broke several world speed records. (As noted at top, Taylor raced and won the 1899 Montreal World Championship.)

Toronto artist, Janet “Bike Girl” Attard  also has a fantastic Major Taylor stencil based on this pose (but a different photo).

Taylor died on June 21, 1932, in the charity ward of Cook County hospital in Chicago. He was buried at Mount Glenwood Cemetery in a "pauper's grave" and later, in 1948, exhumed on Frank Schwinn's dime at the behest of the Bicycle Racing Stars of the Nineteenth century -- a group of ex-professional bike racers. Taylor's remains were moved to a more prominent and honourable location in the cemetery with a proper memorial plaque.

This monument (image below) was erected in 2008 in memory of Major Taylor  in his adopted home town, Worcester, Mass.

The book Major Taylor by Andrew Ritchie is available here and here.

More information on Major Taylor is available via the Major Taylor Association.

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The challenge of a lifetime on the Tour d’Afrique

By: Duncan Hurd
Photo courtesy of: Tour d'Afrique

It's a book that deftly details the pain, the unending challenges and the daily suffering of a 12,000-km bicycle journey across Africa, yet it also leaves readers desperately wanting to join the riders through it all.

The pages of 10: Celebrating Ten Years of the Tour d’Afrique Bicycle Race and Expedition feature big photos of harsh conditions, crashes and stunning views that riders encounter on the four month trip from Cairo to Cape Town. Over mud, sand, crumbling asphalt and even lava rock, riders -- some inexperienced others seasoned racers -- must overcome obstacles few cyclists will ever experience. In retelling their stories, the travellers featured in this book give you an uncensored account of the pain of days spent in the saddle and the exhilaration of having overcome a challenge of a lifetime.

How do you find the strength to ride for four months? How do you stand the heat and punishing road conditions on an exposed bicycle? How strong are the bonds you'll develop with the people you'll meet on this journey? No question, no matter how intimate, remains unanswered in the pages of 10: Celebrating Ten Years of the Tour d’Afrique Bicycle Race and Expedition.

This inspiring coffee table book is now available from Tour d'Afrique, get it here.

Past dandyhorse collaborators the Zenga brothers captured their experiences on the Tour d'Afrique in 2008, sharing their journey in the film Where Are You Go:


Win a copy of 10: Celebrating Ten Years of the Tour d’Afrique Bicycle Race and Expedition by completing our Readers' Survey!

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BIXI Toronto expands coverage by 50%

Why Are You on a BIXI Today and How Far Are You Going?
Lucy rides a BIXI from our Bike Spotting BIXI. Photo by Tammy Thorne.

BIXI Toronto will begin relocating 17 stations starting this Saturday, November 26, 2011. On-street stations are being moved to prevent damage during snow removal. Stations with lower usage will also be relocated.

The City of Toronto and BIXI will place these existing stations at new locations outside of the current service area. Originally covering 8 square kilometres, BIXI users will get access to stations now covering 12 square kilometres, an expansion of 50%. The station at Phoebe Ave and Spadina will also grow with 24 new docking points added.

BIXI Toronto has reached 3936 members after only 6 months of service and riders have made 372,417 trips. BIXI Toronto is also reporting that the average number of trips per day has seen little decrease even as outside temperatures continue to fall. Toronto's bike-share system is up and running year around, the first system open all year in Canada.

BIXI Toronto station relocations are as follows:

From To
Shuter St/ Bond St SW corner Sherbourne/ Carlton (Allan Gardens)
CNE SW corner Trinity/ Front (Distillery)
Peter/ Queen SW corner Bathurst/ Queens Quay (Island Airport)
Duncan/ Queen NE corner Queen/ Van Auley
Mutual St/ Gould St SW corner corner Gould/ Mutual
Hayter St/ Bay St NE corner Euclid/ Bloor
Beverley St/ College St SE corner Bathurst/ Lennox
Beverley St/ Grange Ave SE corner Queen/ Portland
College St/ Roberts St NW corner College/ Major
Hoskin Ave/ Devonshire Pl SE corner Bloor/ Brunswick
Surrey Place/ Grovesnor Ave NE corner King St/ Princess Ave
Yonge St/ Dundonald St NE corner College St/ Borden
University Ave/ Richmond St SE corner Wellington St/ Portland St
Church St/ Granby Ave NW corner Church St/ Alexander St
University Ave / Charles St NE Bay St/ Scollard Ave
Mutual Ave/ Dundas NE corner Sherbourne St/ Wellesley St
Jarvis St/ Shuter Ave SE corner Bathurst St/ Dundas St

Stations will be moved on these days:


1. University Ave / Charles St
2. Peter / Queen
3. Mutual Ave / Dundas


1. Expansion of Phoebe Ave / Spadina Ave
2. College St / Roberts St
3. Church St / Granby Ave


1. Beverley St / Grange Ave
2. Jarvis St / Shuter Ave
3. Mutual St / Gould St


1. Hayter St / Bay St
2. Surrey Place / Grovesnor Ave
3. CNE


1. Shuter St / Bond St
2. Duncan / Queen
3. Yonge St / Dundonald St


1. University Ave / Richmond St
2. Beverley St / College St
3. Hoskin Ave / Devonshire PI


Earlier this summer our Bike Spotting team found that BIXI riders were already travelling outside of the service area: Why are you on a BIXI and how far are you going?

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Bike Spotting at Occupy Toronto

Photos by Cassandra Kardos and Tammy Thorne

Occupy Wall Street is a demonstration that began on September 17, 2011. Protesting growing economic divides, the demonstration has spread to cities across North America. Occupy Toronto began on October 15, 2011 and St. James Park was soon filled with private tents and yurts donated by unions. As of today, protestors in Toronto and other cities across Canada, have been moved from their encampments.

We were there on ‘eviction day’, November 22, and asked some of the protestors and curious passers-by: How does the bicycle influence your personal economy?

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