• Major Taylor

  • The Inspiring Story of a Black Cyclist and the Men Who Helped Him Achieve Worldwide Fame
  • By: Conrad Kerber, Terry Kerber
  • Narrated by: Barrie Buckner
  • Length: 15 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the wake of the Tour de France’s fallen heroes, the story of one of history’s most legendary cyclists provides a much-needed antidote. In 1907 the world’s most popular athlete was not Cy Young or Ty Cobb. Rather, he was a black bicycle racer named "Major” Taylor.

In his day, Taylor became a spiritual and athletic idol. He was the fastest man in America and a champion who prevailed over unspeakable cruelty. The men who aided him were among the most colorful to emerge from the era. When hotel and restaurant operators denied Taylor food and lodgings, forcing him to sleep in horse stables and to race hungry, there was a benevolent racer-turned-trainer named Birdie Munger, who took Taylor under his wing and into his home. Then along came Arthur Zimmerman, an internationally famous bike racer, who gently mentored Taylor when some riders drew the color line and refused to race against him. Taylor’s manager, pugnacious Irishman and famed Broadway producer William Brady, stood up for him when track owners tried barring him from competition. From the Old World came a rakishly handsome, mustachioed sports promoter named Victor Breyer, who lured Taylor overseas for a dramatic, Seabiscuit versus War Admiral-like match race that would be widely remembered a quarter century later.

With a foreword by World Champion and three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond, this spellbinding saga of fortitude, grace, forgiveness, and a man’s unyielding will to win against the greatest of odds is sure to become a classic that will be enjoyed by everyone.

©2014 Conrad Kerber and Terry Kerber (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Featured Article: The Best Biking Audiobooks


Hey, cyclers! If you’re looking for a listen to motivate and energize you while you head out on a ride, these audiobooks are sure to get you pumped up. But whether you decide to listen on or off your bike, this list was curated especially for you. As the summer heats up, you might be looking for motivation to get out there on your bike and onto the streets—or maybe you’re plenty motivated already and just need tips and tricks to up your cycling game. Find the best cycling audiobook for you in the picks below, whether you’re a lifelong rider, a newbie, or any skill level in between.

What listeners say about Major Taylor

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Great book terrible narrator

Let me start by saying how much I loved this STORY! Major Taylor is one of the greatest cyclists and most influential African-Americans in history. The dramatic Flair and beautiful attention to detail bring Major Taylor back to life! I am unable to give it all the stars it deserves simply due to the narrator. I can forgive many of the mispronunciations of foreign languages, but it is much harder to forgive when the names and words are some of the most common and well-known in the cycling vocabulary. I suffered the butchering of words Peloton and the velodrome for chapters but was still shocked when the founder of the Tour de France had his name mangled beyond recognition. Things became even worse towards the end of the book when the narrator ceased to edit out his stumbles but left himself reading the same sentence three times trying to figure it out. I hope this book is re-recorded in the years to come as I would love to listen to it again, but that will have to wait until somebody else is reading it.

2 people found this helpful

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Major Taylor, great story, bad performance.

And amazing story however delivered in a very unfortunate way. The reader miss pronounced so many words, it really detracted from the amazing life of Major Taylor. The editing was also extremely poor and unfortunate as well.

2 people found this helpful

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Embarrassing Mispronunciations

The story is like none other in the history of American sport. That being said, the performance is deplorable. The amount of and consistency of mispronunciations is truly incredible! Greg Lemond, John McEnroe, velodrome, peloton...the list keeps going of words the narrator butchered. There was obviously no quality control and no one in charge heard the book before it was released. It is a shame that a story this amazing is held back by the over bearing annoyance of a plethora of mispronunciations.

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic Book - Epic Story

I really enjoyed this story about a Major Taylor. A great American hero that was loved everywhere in the world, but never completely accepted here in America. He succeed in becoming the first black American world champion in cycling.

The narrator was not up the level a book like this deserves. In addition the countless mispronunciations (including the name of Greg LeMond in the forward), there where times the narrator was droning through sentences as if he was just trying to get this done.

I have recommended this book and will continue to do so, but not without caveats

Please re-record this wonderful book and get Don Chesal’s to read it.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing story of untold hero

The Story of Major Taylor is equally great and tragic. narration is sub-par. worth reading.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Story, poor narrator

This is one of the best cycling stories I have heard but the editing is just poor and narration is loaded with mispronunciations.

1 person found this helpful

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My life is better for knowing this story

Truly Inspiring yet Major Taylor's life story has left me with an extremely heavy heart.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book, frustrating performance

Major Taylor's story should be a prime read for anyone who is interested in sports, race, American history, and our near-term future. Major Taylor struggles with all of these have sad echoes in our current situation in America. The writing in the book is a bit overwrought, and could have been a bit more straightforward. Also although the readers voice and method of narration was excellent, the frustrating frequency with which he would mispronounce even basic words, let alone place names and French words, was all too prominent. He's an excellent reader, with a great future, but needs to do a bit more research and preparation before the read. Similarly the editing of the performance left much to be desired. Nonetheless, with this set of caveats, I would strongly recommend this book!

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A bit of a challenge listening both worth of for knowledge.

The narrator was decent to listen to. Initially the books jargon used that's too advanced to reach all listeners took a bit of adjustment. Many scenarios had to be speculated---must say it's only to be expected knowing the efforts in place to erase black history. For any history buff will enjoy if you are looking for substance.

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The story of America's greatest unknown cyclist.

The story was well told. It had a heartbreaking ending. The amount of racism in the US was embarrassing. And still it goes on. Other countries like France were better. Australia was bad but the US was the worst. The narrator was fine. Major Taylor was a great man who despite it all remained positive relying on his faith in God. On the other hand, there were several great men, who were who white that helped him and stood against them racist acts of 1897 through 1925.
It would make a great movie if anyone would have the focus to make it.

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  • Kitty
  • 10-01-22

Brilliant and fascinating story

An absolutely amazing story of an amazing man’s life. To hear about the racism that went on and indeed still goes on in the US to this day in comparison with the rest of the world is unbelievable.
The book was only tainted slightly by the atrocious pronunciation of French words by the narrator. Some were funny, some just cringe worthy! Following on from this book I am now going to do my own studies into Major Taylor, just such a fascinating person. Brilliant

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  • Clare
  • 09-24-22

absolutely amazing story.

inspirational and remarkable achievement to overcome racism in the late 1890 to warm and inspire change in people through cycle racing.
Major Taylor's achievements are ahead of his time on the bike and off the bike.
This is one of the best historical cycling stories I have heard to date.

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  • Mr. Marlon A. Bromfield
  • 03-19-22

Feel the bone breaking tension of speed.

A total revelation, a story of struggle and faith in a time of segregation. It moves from his reality to local news footage of the time. Loved it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-02-22

a wonderful man

This could have been a brilliant book but it is shamefully dull. Vast sections of repetitive travel details and unnecessary detail. I wish someone would get hold if this, feel the spirit and beauty of the man and tell the story!

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  • Mark McCann
  • 02-22-22

fascinating story of struggles and success

As a cyclist, this was a fascinating story of a forgotten era of cycling.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Victoria S.
  • 02-04-22

A really interesting listen. A journey through the

life of an African American man who became the fastest man on two wheels. Lots of social history.