Bicycles in the US Military – A Memorial Day Special

I thought it would be fun to look at some history of bicycles in the US military as part of Memorial Day.

Westfield Columbia
US Air Force Westfield Columbia

 

The US Army first procured bicycles in 1942. While the Army intended the bicycles for couriers and messengers, they got plenty of use getting around bases.

At that same time, the US mandated lighter bicycles moving from an average of 57 pounds to  a maximum of 47 pounds to reduce the use of steel. Manufacturing of children’s bicycles was also suspended although adult bicycles were desired to get workers to and from the factories.

One interesting story I found was about spy training at the British Camp X in Canada. The alumni of this training included Iam Flemming and influenced his writing of the James Bond novels. The training mentions using bicycles to get around covertly because the train stations were watched very closely and motor vehicles were often stopped and searched. But bicycles blended in with the every day people going about their business.

Here is a really nice page of Military Bicycles of World War II.

So here is to the men and women who lost their lives defending our freedom and those who served and those that still served. And an extra salute for those who turned a pedal in their duties. All so we have the freedom to pedal our bikes.