Cities across America are abuzz with the eco-friendly and traffic-ending powers of the bicycle. As localities continue to encourage the use of these manually-operated two-wheeled vehicles, there’s one entity that likely isn’t interested in the trend: The U.S. Army, which tried and failed to develop a bicycle unit in the late 19th century.
In 1869, the Army formed the experimental 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps as one of a few specially designated African-American military units — one that traveled via bicycle. Its members were the famed Buffalo Soldiers.
“There is no doubt in my mind that during the next great war, the bicycle, with such modifications and adaptations as experience may suggest, will become a most important machine for military purposes," according to then-Maj. Gen. Nelson Miles.