The Original Mountian Bikers?
October 20, 2005 1:23 PM   Subscribe

Were these the original mountian bikers? Forget about Marin County in the late 70's. The real pioneers were members of the 25th Infantry Regiment who did a little riding in Montana. They are also the subject of a book titled Iron Riders and a PBS documentary called The Bicycle Corps.
posted by fixedgear (14 comments total)
Dang, I was hoping for some photos of the bikes and bikers. I bet they have some in the documentary.

Neat find and quite appropriate given your nick, fixedgear!
posted by fenriq at 1:45 PM on October 20, 2005

Nice find.
Thanks fixedgear!
posted by Floydd at 2:00 PM on October 20, 2005

Riding through sand and over rough terrain on those heavy iron suspensionless things must have been absolutely murderous. It's amazing they made it.
posted by CynicalKnight at 2:07 PM on October 20, 2005

posted by drezdn at 2:22 PM on October 20, 2005

CynicalKnight, just face it, son ... We crap bigger than you.

posted by Wulfgar! at 2:26 PM on October 20, 2005

Pictures here and here.
posted by fixedgear at 2:27 PM on October 20, 2005

Sweet, thanks for adding the photos, fixedgear!
posted by fenriq at 3:12 PM on October 20, 2005

The Swiss Army operated bicycle regiments from 1895 to 2003. And I must say, using 25-kg. bikes in the Swiss Alps certainly qualifies as martial!

There were a few other European armies that used bicycles in combat, notably the Belgian Army against Guderian's tanks in 1940 (unsurprisingly, it wasn't a great success). And the Swedish Army bikes are quite hip these days...
posted by Skeptic at 4:02 PM on October 20, 2005

As skeptic has pointed out, the US army story, while interesting, hardly qualifies as original, unless you're only interested in US stories. And isn't metafilter global? But not to be too snarky, it's still an interesting story.
posted by wilful at 4:13 PM on October 20, 2005

I heard a interesting theory that anyone who rode a velocipede bicycle pre, say, 1915 was an original mountain biker.

Mainly because roads were so crap that most riding could be considered off-road, or on tracks.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:19 PM on October 20, 2005

Great post! I have tons of respect for the people who rode (and ride) massive bikes like these, let alone toured on them.

Did anyone else notice that that second photo is a mirror-reversed detail of the first?
posted by Songdog at 6:35 PM on October 20, 2005

We crap bigger

And here I thought Montana was famous for the size of it's sky.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:39 PM on October 20, 2005

The most amazing use of bicycles in warfare was the Japanese lightening-quick dash down the Malay peninsula in December 1941 to invade and occupy Singapore. From the link:

The Japanese divisions were equipped with about 18,000 bicycles. Whenever the invaders encountered resistance, they detoured through the forests on bicycles or took to the sea in collapsible boats to outflank the British troops, encircle them, and cut their supply lines.
posted by mono blanco at 2:38 AM on October 21, 2005

Don't forget these guys.
posted by LordSludge at 9:39 AM on October 21, 2005

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