Buffalo Soldier Bicycle Corps.

African-American Soldiers that served in the United States Army in the mid to late 1800's were often called Buffalo Soldiers. They were so named by the Native Americans because of their woolly style hair and brown skin. I read a book about a year ago called 'Iron Riders'. This is a story all of America should know. 1st it highlights the black soldier's role in American Military service not even 20 years from the Emancipation Proclamation, but it also demonstrates the role black soldiers played in 'Pilot', or testing roles in military decisions at the highest levels. Iron Riders is a great ride and does have some really nice pictures from 1892.

The Army wanted to test the viability of bicycles in troop movements. Keep in mind that bicycles were a fairly new invention not even being 20 years old at the time. These soldiers were attached to the 25th Regiment based out of Fort Missoula, Montana. They rode their bikes, which weighed almost 90 pounds, plus hauled gear that had to be transported. Their journey was one of 1,900 miles from Fort Missoula to St. Louis, Missouri. There were no roads as we know them now, there were no gas stations, or any of the modern conveniences we take for granted on road trips today. These men endured harsh climates, climbed steep mountains (cycling minds, there were no 5-10- or 15 speed bikes), not to mention serving as their own mechanics on a brand new invention that they were barely trained on!!!

They did make it to St. Louis with much fanfare outside of the city. African-Americans have a rich and long history within the cycling community. Let's shout about it from the roof tops! Click on the link for a picture of the book cover and the 2nd link contains an authentic picture of one of the soldiers who made the journey.




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