Treasures of the Rare Books Room: Military Cycling in the Rocky Mountains
In 1896 an experiment was launched to see whether the bicycle might serve a useful purpose to the Army of the United States. Lt. James A. Moss, only 25 years old at the time, led a group of black soldiers (a.k.a. Buffalo Soldiers) from the 25th Infantry located in Ft. Missoula, Montana on two experimental trips before undertaking a 1,900 mile bike journey to St. Louis, Missouri. Newspaper accounts, maps, reports and other historical information about the longer expedition may be found at the this bicyclecorps website.
Details of the two experimental trips are found in a pamphlet published by the American Sports Publishing Company titled Military Cycling in the Rocky Mountains. This treasure in the collection of the Milwaukee Public Library is one of three extant copies listed as being owned by public institutions. It gives fascinating details of the trips as well as numerous pictures.
For example, on the trip to Yellowstone Park which commenced on August 15, 1896, the following was listed as the medicines that were taken on the 791 mile trip: "One bottle Jamaica ginger, one box C. C. pills, one box quinine pills, one box camphor pills, one bottle Squib's mixture."
If you are interested in viewing this pamphlet, please call the Art, Music and Recreation Department at 414-286-3071 to arrange a visit.
Patricia DeFrain, Rare Books Librarian