The year was 1896. 20 Buffalo Soldiers, led by Lieutenant James A. Moss, traveled 1,900 miles from Montana to St. Louis in 41 days on specially designed bikes.
The 25th Infantry Bicycle Soldiers crossed Yellowstone, mastered the Rockies and Little Bighorn rivers, and surmounted drifts of hail said to be a “full 8 feet high.” Each rider carried his own rations, cooking utensils, blanket, tent and other necessities. They also carried things rarely carried by American soldiers – extra parts for needed repairs and spare tires.
The 25th Infantry was one of four African-American Buffalo Soldier units.
In 1877 The U.S. Army had established Fort Missoula in Montana, and the men of the 25th first arrived there in May 1888. Eight years later General Nelson Miles gave Lieutenant Moss permission to organize a horseless calvary. Moss wanted to prove that cycling was a form a modernization and that it was faster than marching and cheaper than traveling by horse.
In an age when mounted cavalry remained in use, Moss underscored the bicycle’s clear advantages over the horse. “The bicycle does not require much care,” he explains. “It moves much faster over fair roads… and can be hidden from sight more easily. It is noiseless and raises little dust.” He concluded, “Under favorable conditions the bicycle is invaluable for courier work, scouting duty, road patrolling, rapid reconnaissance, etc.”
Moss kept a detailed, day-by-day journal of the events. Starting with the preparations before the tour, to the obstacles faced along the way, the progress and discoveries, to the grand celebration the Infantry received upon arriving in St. Louis.
See the journal @ bicyclecorps.blogspot.com
Read the Full Story @ Historynet.com