If anyone has the DVD collection on World War 2 called "The World At War" you should go to the section on war in the Pacific. First I should say this documentary was first released in 1974 and is both longer and better than Ken Burns' series called "The War". I like all of Ken Burns' stuff but the earlier work on WW2 is far more extensive. Anyway, I was watching the original show many years ago with my WW2 veteran father. He was a submariner and served in the Pacific. In one scene it shows long lines of Japanese foot soldiers riding bicycles along mudding jungle roads. The narrator was going on about how hard it was for the Americans to get their armor and gear around because of the conditions. He then went on to describe the use of the bike by Japanese soldiers as their "secret weapon" because they could move faster than the US guys.
I remember turning to my dad years ago and asking him if this was true. Did the Japanese have this "secret weapon". He looked at the image on the TV screen with an odd and almost disgusted look on his face. He said, "Bikes? Christ, no. The boys were more worried about frikken machineguns and knee mortars. Bicycles? What the hell?"
I recently got a new DVD set of "The World At War". On seeing the Pacific part again I thought of my father.
This same film series is filled with European scenes with bicycles of all kinds ridden by refugees and those who stayed put. It's worth a look if you can find it.