21 July 1997

Day 38 - Macon, MO to West Quincy, MO?

Distance travelled: 63
Winds:
none
Grades:
Up and down
Weather:
fair
Condition of roads:
bad
Delays:
Bicycles –30m/ Tires – 0m/ Lunch – 2h/Other – 3h 30m
Actual travel time:
10h
Rate per hour:
6.3
- Lt. J.A. Moss Report to the Adjutant Synopsis of the Trip

Place & times mentioned: Macon, MO; (West Quincy is not mentioned but was along the path of the railroad and fits the mileage figures stated.)

“Soldier ‘Cyclists at Macon. Macon, Mo., July 22--Under command of Lieutenant James A. Moss, a company of 23 soldiers, who left Missoula. Mon., July 14 on a test of the bicycle for army purposes, camped here last night on their way to St. Louis. The company expect to reach St. Louis by Saturday morning.”
-The Evening News [Lincoln, Nebraska] July 22, 1897
THEORY:
The Evening News says the Corps camped at Monroe this night or somewhere beyond it. Monroe is on Moss’s travel map. However, Macon to Monroe is only 40.5 Google miles….Moss reported they rode 63 miles this day. Going past Monroe, it is 63 Google miles to the place just south of West Quincy, MO where the railroad tracks take an abrupt turnabout and head south. The 63 mile point is .64 (little over a half mile) miles south of that junction

"Twenty-three colored soldiers of the regular army who left Missoula, Mont., on June 14 to ride eastward on bicycles as a test of their fitness for army service have reached Macon, Mo."
- Morning Herald-Despatch [Decataur , Illinois] Thursday, July 22, 1897

"Uncle Sam’s Bicycle Soldiers
A part of a colored regiment of the U. S. Army passed through the northern limit of the city last night. They were mounted on bicycles, each man carrying his blanket, repeating rifle, tent, etc. They are officered by Lieutenant J. A. Moss, a white man. The regiment was formerly stationed at Fort Missoula, Montana, but Lieutenant Moss desired to test the efficacy of the bicycle in long distances, so he chose this method of going through the country. The party was headed for Jefferson Barracks where they will report and thence to Chicago. They have encountered bad weather and roads, but have stood the trip remarkably well. They pronounce the bicycle a success as a means of army transportation. They have averaged 70 miles per day. There are few if any, horses could keep this up for such a length of time as have these men."
- Monroe City News, July 22, 1897, Pg. 1, Col. 3
[this story e-mailed to me by Nancy Stone Monroe City Historical Society]

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