Hulman cycling

I peered at the photograph. I wasn’t sure what to make of it. There was Anton Hulman Sr. as a young man on his racing bike with medals placed around him.

The exhibit at the Clabber Girl Museum mentioned in passing that he was the fastest cyclist in Indiana. Really? I was skeptical. I had recently learned about Marshall “Major” Taylor, who was the world champion in cycling in 1899.

Did they mean that Hulman was the fast cyclist at that time (whenever “that time” was)? Was he racing the same time that Taylor was? Where did he race? When did he race?

I pondered how they probably didn’t race each other. Even though they were both Hoosiers, they were separated in age by 14 years. Hulman lived from 1864-1942. Taylor lived from 1878-1932.

Sadly, even if they raced at the same time, they probably would never have raced each other. White cyclists in the US often refused to race against Taylor, and Taylor ended up racing abroad.

They led radically different lives. Hulman was the heir to a wealthy family business. Taylor died in poverty.

So was Hulman the fastest cyclist? Maybe among white cyclists. Maybe among cyclists of his time. My money, though, is on Taylor.

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