Full Circle: Cycles in American Track Racing

The foundations of competitive cycling in the United States were built at its velodromes, from the early days of Major Taylor and Bobby Walthour, to the high point of the Six-Day racing era of the 1930s. Velodromes were one of the most popular sporting venues in the U.S. at that time and attracted the world’s best riders. Yet from those early days of widespread national and international popularity, the sport declined during and after World War II, with the last annual Six-Day race occurring in Madison Square Garden in 1961.

Home Sweet Home: How U.S. Racing Can Reshape Pro Cycling

Bicycle racing in the United States has always charted a maverick course.  American Six-Day track races were the most successful and lucrative cycling events in the world in the early 1900s – think of the “Madison” events, so named because many originally took place in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.  The sport was hugely popular across many segments of the American public, and the U.S. produced the majority of the star racers throughout that era.  But in the many decades since then, if an American wasn’t winning the Tour de France, then the coverage and interest in bike racing simply hasn’t been there.  In short, bike racing hasn’t really captured the attention of the broader American sports audience, and has fluctuated in popularity ever since the Second World War, when those “golden days” wound down. Enterprising bicycle race promoters stepped into this gap during the 1970s...