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U.S. Army Bicycle Corps

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Old 12-07-15, 08:01 PM
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Aidoneus
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U.S. Army Bicycle Corps

Perhaps this is already known by everyone on this forum, but I just watched this PBS show about the Bicycle Corps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNnTSD219GA
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Old 12-07-15, 09:05 PM
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Thanks for the link, I had not seen it and just finished watching. Bikepackers before their time with handlebar and frame bags! Very sad how Mingo and his fellows were treated at the end.
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Old 12-07-15, 09:23 PM
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Thanks for sharing the link. I had no idea about that enterprise.
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Old 12-07-15, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Aidoneus View Post
Perhaps this is already known by everyone on this forum, but I just watched this PBS show about the Bicycle Corps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNnTSD219GA
Cool doc. Thanks.

I'm wondering if those old Spaldings were equipped with coaster brakes? I believe they were invented around this time. The one detailed picture I could find of one of these bikes had one, but it could have been retrofitted. Or were they all fixies? Looks like some may have had rod brakes in front.
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Old 12-07-15, 11:41 PM
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Kewl video. Now for an Army officer to be sent to Montana to work on mountain bikes would be a nice prestige position I guess!

Swiss Army has their official bike with alloy frame/Magura/Alfine etc:

Specifications:

  • Frame: AN6 aluminium, painted black
  • Gears: 8-speed Shimano Alfine
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Marathon Plus 26x1.75
  • Brakes: disc brakes front and rear, Magura MT4
  • Dynamo: Shimano Alfine DH-S501 hub dynamo
  • Accessories: Tool Bag
  • Weight: 15kg
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Old 12-08-15, 04:44 AM
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Being single speeds, I wonder what gear ratio they ran. They would have had to choose a gear low enough to contend with significant amounts of "off road" like conditions.
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Old 12-08-15, 07:01 AM
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And, toe clips, no less.
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Old 12-08-15, 08:03 AM
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According to this source the bikes were geared to 68 gear inches. Granted these guys were young and strong but I would have expected a bit lower gearing. My hat is off to them.


Edit: counting teeth in this photo (admittedly sketchy) I get closer to 50 gear inches, which seems a more appropriate gear.
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Old 12-08-15, 09:08 AM
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If you are ever in Basano del Grappa in NE Italy go the WWI museum located beneath a café at the old bridge across the Brenta river. It includes an authentic Bianchi folding bike that was used by Italian soldiers during the war, complete with rifle rack. There are also a couple of field stoves that, in their basic design, look remarkably like stoves you can buy today. I will try to remember to post some photos this evening.

Found them:

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Old 12-09-15, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rex615 View Post
According to this source the bikes were geared to 68 gear inches. Granted these guys were young and strong but I would have expected a bit lower gearing. My hat is off to them.


Edit: counting teeth in this photo (admittedly sketchy) I get closer to 50 gear inches, which seems a more appropriate gear.
I guess in muddy or steep parts they just walked vs modern expedition tourists who emphasize being able to ride thru almost all conditions. High-ish gear can give more stability over rough surfaces. Interesting to see how old styles come back around, the bike looks a lot like of of those stylish retro-look commuters.
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Old 12-10-15, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
I guess in muddy or steep parts they just walked vs modern expedition tourists who emphasize being able to ride thru almost all conditions. High-ish gear can give more stability over rough surfaces. Interesting to see how old styles come back around, the bike looks a lot like of of those stylish retro-look commuters.

I have always liked that style, I have a bike that bears those styling cues.
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