About Andrew Ritchie

Dr. Andrew Ritchie

Dr. Andrew Ritchie is a bicycle historian and author of several books, including the authoritative biography of the pioneer African-American world champion cyclist, Major Taylor. Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer was first published as a hardback book in 1988 (Bicycle Books, San Francisco), and then in 1996 as a paperback by Johns Hopkins University Press. A new, enlarged edition, with text revisions and many new illustrations was published in 2010 as Major Taylor: The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World (Cycle Publishing, San Francisco).

Andrew Ritchie’s first cycling history book, King of the Road: An Illustrated History of Cycling (Wildwood House, London and Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, 1975, now out of print), is well recognized as a reliable, short historical account of the origins and evolution of the bicycle. Most recently (2011), Ritchie has published Quest for Speed: A History of Early Bicycle Racing, 1868-1903, which began life as his doctoral dissertation, and contains a lot of information on the early technological and social history of the sport in Britain, the United States and France which was previously unavailable.

There has been an outpouring of interest lately in making a motion picture about Major Taylor’s life, and Major Taylor has been optioned. A Google search shows an extraordinary level of social activity in the United States honoring and rehabilitating the memory of Major Taylor, including the creation of the Major Taylor Association, the building of the Major Taylor Velodrome, the erection of a statue of Taylor in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the formation of many black cycling clubs which strive to perpetuate Taylor’s memory  with their ambitious athletic and educational goals.

Andrew Ritchie has taught and lectured in various contexts, and is on the planning committee of the International Cycling History Conference. He lives in El Cerrito, California, with two cats  and many books

Not to be confused with “the other Andrew Ritchie,” who designed the brilliant, best-selling Brompton folding bicycle, the best folding bicycle in the business. Brompton has become one of the healthiest survivors of the crumbling British bicycle industry! Actually, this blog’s Andrew Ritchie (who has owned a Brompton for 10 years and takes it everywhere with him) and “the other Andrew Ritchie” knew each other slightly at Cambridge University in the 1960s and were once briefly introduced to each other at a pub. Also not to be confused with Tom Ritchey, the mountain bike guru and designer of Ritchey bicycle components.

Andrew Ritchie can be contacted via email at jabritchie@hotmail.com



  1. Andrew
    As I’m a neighbour of the ‘other Andrew Ritchie’ and we haven’t talked for a long time, I thought I would get in touch. As I write this my older son’s partner is leaving the house with her Moulton. He (older son) is a cycling enthusiast and assembler and rescuer of bikes. Cycling is his default means of transport including a regular ride from their cottage in the Cotswolds to Oxford (15 miles e.w.). We both cycle in town as we always have done and are both fit, partly as a result, although I also walk a lot including the occasional long distance trek.
    We’re both retired from OUP but both do freelance work. I’ve just acquired a Masters at Oxford in Restoration History and may go on to a D Phil. We’re off to Helsinki tomorrow to visit our younger son, partner and grandson where we will train to the Arctic circle and hope for the northern lights.
    How are you? Last time we met you were over here to visit your (ailing?) father and hurried home because of the earthquake – so that dates it. You had a daughter (Sophie?). I assume you heard about Sue Ayling’s death a few years’ ago?
    Drop me a line. I hope cycling is keeping you fit too.
    Best wishes
    Tony Dale

    • Hi Tony,

      Nice surprise. I’ll reply at length later today. Interesting that you are in touch with the “other Andrew Ritchie”. I didn’t know he lived in Oxford. Are you still in the same house?

      I will be in the UK over the Xmas period. I will most likely be staying with Andrew Oxley in Reading. Perhaps we should have a get together??

      More later,


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