This Memorial day, as we remember all who sacrificed for us, let us cyclists also remember the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps at Fort Missoula, Montana back in 1896. Those are the Buffalo Soldiers you see up there, at Yellowstone. This Infantry was established to see if bikes could work for military purposes in mountainous terrain. Seeing as bikes were getting popular and the Europeans had already been using them for both recreation and military use, we decided to give it a look.
General Nelson A. Miles started all this. He’d seen a six-day race in Madison Square Garden and got the bug. He thought that, unlike a horse, a bike didn’t need to be watered, rested and fed (although most of us have babied ours more than any horse). There’s also the stealth qualities of a bike, compared to a snorting, neighing horse – an asset in battle. So the Bike Corps was formed.
Spalding bikes loaned the soldiers some single speed bikes and they set out on their first jaunt – a four-day, 126 mile trip. Each bike plus gear weighed over a hundred pounds. Not bad considering their rations:
“…1 jar Armour’s extract of beef, 7 cans beans, 2 lbs. salt, 5 lbs. prunes, 6 lbs. sugar, 5 lbs. rice, 2 lbs. baking powder, 1 can condensed milk, 20 lbs. bacon, 3 cans deviled ham, 2 ounces pepper, 2 lbs. coffee, 35 lbs. flour, 3 cans corn, 1 can syrup, 3 lbs. lard.”
The roads were muddy and steep, creek crossings meant tires had to be re-cemented to the wooden rims, but despite this, longer and tougher journeys were planned to test the men’s mettle. Journeys of 790 miles in 16 days and, the biggie, a 1,900 mile, 34 day journey from Missoula to St. Louis.
In the end, they realized that an Army Bicycle Corps could travel twice as fast as a typical cavalry or infantry and at one-third the cost and effort.
A large part of those tremendous stats and conclusions can be attributed to the spirit and toughness of those Buffalo Soldiers.
Thanks, guys. And thanks to everyone who’s made the ultimate sacrifice.
(Thanks to Tubulocity for the image and info)
HAPPY FRIDAY. RIDE YOUR BIKE THIS WEEKEND.
Look at that yo yo, that’s the way you do it.
In 1985 the Dire Straits album ‘Brothers In Arms’ hit #1 in the US and 24 other countries. It went on to sell over 20 million copies worldwide. Which is why Mr. Knopfler up there can afford vintage bikes like that.
Man how times have changed. Our man Lanolin at Ritte Van Vlaanderen made some videos that are better than that “Money For Nothing” video, but he did them in about 30 seconds on the internet.
With the sultans…with the sultans of swing…
That’s it. Have a great one and ride safely this holiday weekend.
BE SURE TO “LIKE” US ON FACEBOOK.
Why? Who the hell knows. There’s really no real major benefit to you.
But that’s Facebook for you.
You will get our posts conveniently added to your news feed.
It’ll make us look good. We’ll be able to tell people “…hey, we have X amount of Facebook followers…” and they’ll be all “wow, cool” and that’s about it.
It’s shallow but, well, there you go.
Anyway, give it a think.
Again, there’s virtually nothing in it for you but, hey, social media.
Trees give us oxygen, fruit and shade. Life.
They’ve provided protection since day one.
Now there are these. The wooden helmets from Coyle Designs.
We first saw one in person protecting the friendly dome of our buddy Chris from Topanga Creek Bicycles. That’s him up there. Chris, being a small businessman who supports offbeat brands, met Dan Coyle at Sea Otter and not only thought the helmets were cool but knew he needed to put his money where his mouth was about supporting small business.
It’s not an easy purchase – they’re not cheap. But unless you’re a helmet geek who scours the blogs for the next hot helmet design and has to have it right away, you use a helmet for a long time. And each one of these is hand made from a single piece of wood. Given the time you’ll own it and the time that went into making the thing, it ends up being worth it.
And judging from the crowd around Chris any time he stops on the trail, it’s the best icebreaker going.
It’s murder getting the kids out the door early enough and on their bikes.
But all the stress and angst blows away in the breeze almost instantly.
There is hooting and hollering and racing to the next cross street and curb-hopping and laughing.
A perfect way to start the day.
Funny, same thing happens when we ride our bikes to work. Imagine that.
Happy Monday, all.
HAPPY FRIDAY. RIDE YOUR BIKE THIS WEEKEND.
Starting to feel summery out there so it’s time for a shot of Mr. Hamill using his 10 speed Schwinn to rage on the hesher who stole his bitchin’, heavily-customized and seriously bastardized Stingray in the straight-to-betamax, Annie Potts vehicle, “Corvette Summer.”
And where’s your helmet?
Speaking of Schwinns and Corvettes, the Schwinn Corvette has got a little porteur vibe going there.
Speaking of heavily-customized Stingrays…
That’s all for now. Ride safely.