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Bicycle Corps

In the summer of 1897 a 1,900-mile bicycle trip was made by the Twenty-fifth Infantry Bicycle Corps from Fort Missoula, Montana, to St. Louis for the purpose of testing bicycles for military use. Led by Lt. James A. Moss, the soldiers left the fort on June 14, 1897, and passed through Wyoming and the southwestern corner of South Dakota before reaching Nebraska. The July 16, 1897, issue of the Humboldt Leader (on microfilm at the Nebraska State Historical Society in Lincoln) reported the cyclists' arrival in Humboldt:

"The bicycle corps of regular army soldiers arrived in Humboldt this morning about eight o'clock but went on through to Verdon their next stopping place. The corps consisted of twenty colored soldiers from several companies of infantry stationed at Ft. Missoula, Montana, under command of Second Lieutenant James A. Moss, Twenty-fifth regiment, Surgeon J. M. Kennedy and Edward H. Boos, a young newspaper man, are members of the corps.

"Two members of the company stopped in this city at the Filson house and procured refreshments while the main body pushed on. Their presence attracted quite a crowd which spent the time while they were eating in a careful examination of their wheels and a general discussion of bicycles in general . . . .

"The corps is on the way to St. Louis. The start was made one month ago Wednesday and the destination will probably be reached July 25. So far the average distance covered each day is fifty miles. . . . In the worst of the sand hill country in Nebraska they made thirty-eight miles a day. . . .

"The corps will cross the Missouri river at Rulo which was their destination on leaving this city. They will follow along the north bank of the Missouri river as closely as possible until they reach St. Louis."

(May 1998)



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