History[ edit ] According to data extracted from U.
Photo by Frank Jay Haynes. While doing research for an article about military bicycles I came across the above photo of African American soldiers on bicycles.
Inthe 25th Infantry U. Army Bicycle Corps stationed at Fort Missoula, Montana set out across the country on bicycles, on several obstacle intensive test runs of the iron two-wheeled alternative to horses for transportation.
Their greatest trip covered 1, miles to St. Louis, Missouri, returning to Missoula by train.
Writer Lynne Tolman has allowed me to re-publish her succinct article here: Army had a bicycle unit back then, too. The idea had been kicking around for years, as bikes already had been put to military use in Europe, and cycling for sport, recreation and transportation gained tremendous popularity on both sides of the Atlantic in the s.
Miles, born in Westminster, Mass. He wrote that unlike a horse, a bike did not need to be fed and watered and rested, and would be less likely to collapse.
Furthermore, a bike is smaller and quieter than a horse and thus could help a soldier sneak up on the enemy, he argued. The 25th Infantry regiment was made up of black men, known as buffalo soldiers, commanded by white officers. Its Bicycle Corps began with eight riders using one-speed Spalding bicycles on loan from the manufacturer in Chicago.
Their first major outing was a four-day, mile trip to Lake McDonald and back. Each bike loaded with gear weighed about 76 pounds. The lieutenant listed their rations: After crossing Mission Creek, the soldiers had to re-cement loosened tires onto their wooden rims.
Despite breakdowns and delays, their commander considered the trip a success and immediately planned a longer, tougher one. This time the soldiers covered miles in 16 days, visiting Yellowstone National Park. They dealt with mud, headwinds, rain, punctured tires, stomach ailments and other suffering, but the riders all kept a positive outlook, according to Lt.
In 34 days of riding, 20 soldiers averaged 56 miles per day. Their average speed registered 6. Moss at the conclusion: In every kind of weather, over all sorts of roads, we averaged fifty miles a day.
At the end of the journey we are all in good physical condition.Ben Arogundade's book BLACK BEAUTY.
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