The Story of Iron RIDERZ

Tribute Bicycle Built called; Iron RIDERZ S.E.

This some grown man stuff here...There isn't another like it in the whole world...3 HOTTER THAN this...colored spokes, rimz, nasty handle bars are coming soon!








In 1897 a contingent of twenty black soldiers, a white West Point officer, a military surgeon and a young newspaper reporter rode bicycles from Fort Missoula, Montana to St. Louis, Missouri, following the Burlington Northern railroad.




The groups' leader, Lt. Moss, was trying to prove to the army that bicycles could be a valuable asset. I first became acquainted with this little known gem of history through the children's magazine Highlights in the early 90s. I have been fascinated with it ever since. George Niels Sorenson's Iron Riders presents this story and the broader context of those "Buffalo Soldiers-on-wheels".





He tells us of the practice trip the bicycle corp made to Yellowstone Park before their epic St. Louis run and the lives of the riders after their trip. This 8 x 10 book has many primary source pictures, documents and maps which illuminate the text. It's the only informational book I know of devoted to a story which deserves a wider audience. If you are a middle school history teacher, like me, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. It would make a fantastic unit.



But I agree with the other reviewer: anybody who likes black history, social history, military history, bicycle touring, the west and/or unsung heroes will find a lot to enjoy in this book. And, if you like this book you'll want to check out the PBS video The Bicycle Corps: America's Black Army on Wheels and the children's book Black Wheels.

The subtitle, "Story of the 1890s Fort Missoula Buffalo Soldiers Bicycle Corps" is a good general description of the book's contents. I had never heard of Ft. Missoula, much less known that they had a bicycle corps, before stumbling across this book in the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial's bookstore. It's not a long book, but it covers its topic well. Of course I was interested in the horrendous ride from Missoula, Montana to St. Louis, but the account of the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry saving the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill was enlightening.



Also (all too) informative was the account of the "discharge without honor" by order of President Theodore Roosevelt of 167 soldiers, many of them formerly of the bicycle corps. The book also includes numerous photos, a number of which are wonderful shots (and very well-printed) of the soldiers in Yellowstone National Park. I highly recommend this book as an entertaining account of a dedicated group of American soldiers who happened to have been of African descent.



This is the lively story of the only bicycle corps the U.S. Army ever authorized. Using buffalo soldiers, this 1890s African-American unit conducted drills and exercises on wheels. 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. Learn more about the adventures of this little known buffalo soldier unit and fascinating details about this era in America. Well researched and a good read. Full of rare pictures and drawings.



The subtitle, "Story of the 1890s Fort Missoula Buffalo Soldiers Bicycle Corps" is a good general description of the book's contents. I had never heard of Ft. Missoula, much less known that they had a bicycle corps, before stumbling across this book in the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial's bookstore. It's not a long book, but it covers its topic well. Of course I was interested in the horrendous ride from Missoula, Montana to St. Louis, but the account of the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry saving the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill was enlightening. Also (all too) informative was the account of the "discharge without honor" by order of President Theodore Roosevelt of 167 soldiers, many of them formerly of the bicycle corps.

 
 
 
 

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Amyatij said...

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February 25, 2013 at 3:47 AM

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