Walthour rose from a lowly bicycle messenger in Atlanta to a two-time national and world cycling champion who was nearly as popular in Paris and his adopted home of Berlin as he was in his hometown of Atlanta. Walthour’s career parallels the surging popularity of the bicycle craze that swept America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Like many of his contemporaries, Walthour competed in different styles of races – from sprints (short, tactical contests that start slowly and end in a fury of frame-bending speed) and motor-pacing (high-speed, extremely dangerous contests in which riders follow motorcycles in perilous fashion) to notorious six-day races (grueling, often brutal marathons). Walthour excelled in all three forms. He started his career as a sprinter and developed into a formidable six-day rider, but he achieved his greatest fame and greatest success as a fearless motor-pacer. At the peak of his career, in 1904, Walthour earned more than $60,000, a staggering sum for the time. Babe Ruth, by comparison, earned $80,000 in his highest-paid season with the New York Yankees some twenty-five years later.