20 July 1997

Day 37 - Laclede, MO to Macon, MO

Distance travelled: 49.5
Winds: none
Grades: Up and down
Weather: Forenoon fair; Afternoon rain
Condition of roads: fair
Delays: Bicycles –0m/ Tires – 20m/ Lunch – 0h/ Other – 2h
Actual travel time: 8h 30m
Rate per hour: 5.8

- Lt. J.A. Moss Report to the Adjutant Synopsis of the Trip

Places & times mentioned: Laclede [5:30 am]; Brookfield (AM); Macon, MO

Days Corp laid off:
July 20 1/3rd day at Macon, MO

“BICYCLE CORPS IN THE RAIN. Macon, Mo., July 20. – A wet and chilled crowd was the Twenty-fifth bicycle corps as it came into this place this afternoon. They left LaClede at 5:30 am., and not withstanding their efforts to outrun an approaching storm for 45 miles the rain finally caught them and they were completely drenched. Efforts will be made to reach St. Louis Friday evening.”
- Idaho Daily Statesman Wednesday July 21, 1897

• I think they laid over in Macon because of the drenching they got. The distance reportedly travelled does not jibe with the Google distance.
• No lunch was taken. Why? They were trying to outrun the rain.
• Only 39.18 GoogleEarth miles from Laclede to Macon Missouri

The Bicycle Soldiers. The Twenty-fifth Infantry Bicycle corps camped at Laclede Monday evening and passed through Brookfield Tuesday morning. The company numbered twenty—Lieut. James A. Moss, Surgeon J.M. Kennedy and eighteen privates. They left Fort Missoula, Montana, June 24 [sic – they left the 14th] to ride to St. Louis and back for the purpose of testing the bicycle as a means of moving troops. Complete moving outfits, including tents, cooking utensils, etc. all carried on the wheels, each man carrying sixty-seven pounds on his bike. They have made an average of fifty miles a day over the entire route. The first twelve days out it snowed two days and rained ten, nevertheless they made their daily average of fifty miles, and one day covered seventy-two.
Henry V. Lucas, of St. Louis, met the company at Laclede, and arranged with the officers to reach St. Louis this morning [article published in Brookfield Gazette July 24, 1897] where the local wheelmen will meet the soldiers and give a big parade this morning. The corps will remain in St. Louis about two weeks before starting on their return trip. The privates were all colored men and the two commissioned officers were white. They looked rather “seedy” as they had been on the roads in dust, rain and snow for thirty-five days, but said they all felt much better than they looked.”
- Brookfield Gazette [Brookfield, MO] July 24, 1897

“General Miles has interested himself in the bicycle for army use and has for years maintained that the cycle would come into valuable miliary use, “ said he. “messengers in many state camps now ride wheels instead of horses, and there are already bicycle corps attached to the military of various commonwealths. We have had long distance relay rides, where dispatches have been carried, and the results have been not only satisfactory, but truly astonishing. There is now being made the greatest and strongest test ever attempted with the silent steed. By order of General Miles, a squad of twenty colored infantry men of the Twenty-fifth regiment, U.S.A. under command of Lieutenant James A. Moss, is on the road awheel, attempting the journey from Fort Missoula, on the western slop of the Rocky Mountains, to St. Louis, a distance of about 2000 miles. The soldiers will have to cross the main divide of the Rocky Mountains and do the rest of the journey where improved roads are unknown. Of course, very careful preparations were made for the trip. The result is awaited by military circles in St. Louis, and everywhere for that matter, because in a great measure the advisability of having a bicycle corps in the regular army will be determined by the success or failure of this experiment. “
- Galveston Daily News [Galveston, TX] pg. 8 July 20, 1897

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