24 July 1997

Day 41 - St. Peter, MO to St. Louis, MO

Distance travelled: 36 miles
Winds: none
Grades: Up and down
Weather: rain
Condition of roads: bad
Delays: Bicycles –15m/ Tires – 0m/ Lunch – 0h/ Other – 5h 45m
Actual travel time: 7h
Rate per hour: 5.1 mph
- Lt. James A. Moss Report to the Adjutant Synopsis of Trip

Places & times mentioned: St. Peter (5:30 AM); St. Charles (1:30 PM) St. Louis (5:30 PM)

“Our last camp was made three miles from St. Peter and the next morning, July 24, at 5:30, we mounted our wheels and started for the goal—St. Louis. We had but thirty miles to go but Providence was very unkind to us, and before the command had travelled five miles, a heavy rain was upon us.
At 1:30 p.m. the Missouri River was crossed again at St. Charles, twenty miles from St. Louis. Rolling our wheels in the broiling sun, through the muddy river bottom and then a mile or two on a rough railroad track, we finally struck the Rock Road. About 4:30 we got our first view of St. Louis, and an hour later, entered the city—and thus it came to pass that the Twenty-fifth United States Infantry Bicycle Corps made the greatest march known of in military history.
- Lt. Moss, Los Angeles Times The Army A-Wheel, Nov. 21, 1897

REACH ST. LOUIS--- --- The 25th Infantry Bicycle corps reached St. Louis yesterday and their entry was witnessed by 40,000 people. The news comes through Col. A.S. Burt, who was notified by wire by Lieutenant Moss in command of the corps. On June 14, the corps left Fort Missoula, making the trip over mountain roads, cactus beds and wagon roads in 32 days. It was a grand ride and beset with many difficulties, from the incessant rains along the route. Few accidents were reported, and those of no consequence. There were no delays made for pleasure and the boys pedaled hard to make a good record and have accomplished it. The whole world was watching the result and the bicycle in the army of the United States will hinge upon Lieutenant Moss’ report of the trip.”
- E.H. Boos, Daily Missoulian

“When they neared Saint Louis on July 24, 1897, the end was finally in sight. The Honorable H.V. Lucas, head of the Associated Cycling Clubs reception committee, along with W.C. Simmons, F. Durant, C.C. Hildebrand, Clif Allen, and Wm. W. Nisbet rode out to meet them. These greeters did not arrive by themselves but were joined by a crowd of 1,000 cyclists, who wheeled out to escort the corps into town, where they received a grand welcome.
Upon reaching the city by way of Easton Avenue, they were met by Sergeant Collins and a squad of mounted police, who led the way down Union Avenue to Forest Park, that great expanse of green in the center of St. Louis. More people stopped to greet them and learn about their journey.
The St. Louis Globe-Democrat reported:
There was quite a crowd of pleasure seekers and wheelmen at the Cottage in Forest Park to greet the soldiers. As the mounted police rode up the hill, followed by the local wheelmen and then the travel-stained soldiers, three hearty cheers of welcome were given by the crowd at the Cottage. The soldiers dismounted, and after a few minutes conversation between Mr. Lucas and Lieut. Moss the latter ordered his men to camp on a hill beneath the oaks just south of the Cottage, which had been selected by the wheelmen’s committee as a most suitable spot. Lieut. Moss and Dr. Kennedy took supper at the Cottage with Henry V. Lucas and other local wheelmen. The troops enjoyed a meal of rich, juicy beefsteaks, and other substantial articles of food at a long table in the bicycle shed, and they seemed to appreciate the repast after a day’s hot travel with nothing but hardtack and bacon and coffee to supply the inner man.
As the soldiers rode up the hill at the Cottage and dismounted they bore in their looks the evidence of forty odd days of severe travel over mountain and desert for a run of almost 2,000 miles. They wore blue jackets…..[get the rest of this later
- Sorenson, Iron Riders pg. 64

website with info about The Cottage: http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/parks/forestpark/history/early.html

1 comment:

Pat H said...

Wow. What a trip. Today should be Ride Your Bike To Work Day!