This is a shot of the field before the start of the Bob Brown 30-mile road race in Berkeley CA in by-God 1947. I recognize a few of the riders' names (but not Bob Brown's) from hearing about them as legends in American cycling history. Long before the bike boom of the early '70s, long before Americans cared much about fitness, long before electronic Dura-Ace.... What a great old shot!
Andrew Ritchie, mentioned in the text, has just completed his second Major Taylor biography, sure to be a tale well told. Here's a link to Jim Langley's blog and a review of Major Taylor, the Fastest Bicycle Racer in the World.
Nineteen-forty-seven. Think of it!
Added later: You wonder if some or many of the guys in the photo had been exposed to road racing while stationed in Europe during WWII. Certainly there was velodrome racing in the States pre-war as the text suggests, but road racing? I think not.