Part of the vision of this blog is to remember and promote the past contributions of long forgotten African-Americans within the ‘Cycling Culture’. One of those forgotten contributions was made by the only bicycle corps the U.S. Army ever authorized. Using African-American Soldiers known as buffalo soldiers, so called by Native Americans because of their thick woolly hair, this unit conducted drills and exercises on wheels. In 1892, they rode into Northern Montana on muddy trails and toured Yellowstone on their 100-pound iron bicycles. As proof of their capabilities, these Iron Riders pedaled 1,900 miles from Ft. Missoula, across the snow-dusted Rocky Mountains and steamy Great Plains, to St. Louis. As they approached the city over 1,000 civilian bicyclists rode out to escort them into town in a great parade. (Pictured left on this blog)
As an Ex- United States Marine, the story of this particular unit hits home to me because in theory, as a black U.S. Marine, I am in essence a ‘Buffalo Soldier’ myself! I found a website called http://www.militarybikes.com/ that features an actual bicycle designed especially for military use. It is a Mountain Bike that folds and is very functional as a tool that can be air-dropped from military planes, folds to fit in back of a Hummer, and can even be folded to fit snugly into many of the land assault crafts currently in use by the U.S. Military.
It also allows the distance traveled by ‘Light Infantry’ to be tripled each day of operations. As someone who used to have to walk 20 + miles with 50 pounds of gear strapped to my back while in the Marine Corps, I personally understand the value of this equipment. GREAT GOING MONTAGUE!