Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare

War is an ugly business, in which whoever moves fastest and strikes first often triumphs. So long before there were tanks and planes, people used bicycles to rush into combat. For decades, people experimented with machine guns on bikes, military quadricycles, and bicycle infantry. Here are the greatest moments of pedal-powered battle strategy.

A military Premier, 1888

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(via Oldbike)

The Soldier's Standard Bicycle, by Pope Manufacturing Co., 1892

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare

(via Oldbike)

The 25th Infantry U.S. Army Bicycle Corps at Minerva Terrace, Yellowstone Park, 1896

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare

(via Northern Rockies Heritage Center)

A tandem tricycle fitted with two Maxim guns, with a big supply of ammunition in box-like appliances, by Gregory & Co., from The Windsor Magazine, 1898

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(via 25th London)

The first armored fighting vehicle, a quadricycle with a 7.62 mm Maxim machine gun and shield, made by F. R. Simms, 1899

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement
Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare

(via Fiddler's Green and R/C Tank Combat)

Cyclists in the Lancashire Fusiliers, c. 1910

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A miliary bike with a Colt automatic gun by Pope Manufacturing Co., New York

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(via WW2Aircraft)

A German Bicycle Infantry on the Western Front, 1914

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(via Wikimedia Commons)

A couple of soldiers from the Italian Rifle Battalion, carrying their bicycles on their backs as they walk up a hill, c. 1915

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

A tandem bike by Pope Manufacturing Company

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(via Digitalisierung des Polytechnischen Journals)

Premier No. 11 Service Model, 1915

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(via Oldbike)

The German army cycle corps in a forest, c. 1915

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Military Bicycles from The Illustrated War News, Febuary 21, 1917

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(via BSA Museum)

Hungarian troops riding into Ipolysag, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), to take over the town from the Czechs on October 11, 1938. They made a symbolic occupation of two Czech towns, while Czech and Hungarian experts met at Komarom to decide the actual limits of Hungarian occupation of Czech territory.

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(Photo via AP)

The steel helmeted German cycle corps participating in the Great Parade past Hitler, which was held in celebration of his 50th birthday on April 20, 1939.

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A Finnish military cycle patrol, carrying spare bicycles, during exercises near the Russian border, 1939

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Truppenfahrrad, Germany, WWII

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement
Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement
Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(via Fallschirmjager)

Columbia Compax Folding Bicycles, 1941

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement
Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(via Vintage Columbia Bikes)

U.S. Air Force pilots at a bomber command station in England use bicycles to travel the mile-long tarmac from their headquarters to their giant planes on June 8, 1942

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(Photo via AP)

British BSA Airborne Folding Paratrooper Bikes, used in all the major landings in WWII

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(via Pathfinder Group)

Belgian Congo colonial troops at Port Tewfik, Egypt, 1943

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(Photo via AP)

Bonus: A 24mm AT gun named Tb. 41 (Tankbuchse 41), produced in Switzerland during WWII

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(via Tonnel UFO)

Finnish soldiers of the U.N. peacekeeping force on Cyprus line up for inspection at Camp Elizabeth, near Nicosia on May 5, 1964, after completing a 40-mile ride from their transit camp in South Cyprus. These troops will use their bicycles for patrol duty as they attempt to keep the peace between the warring Turkish and Greek Cypriots.

Image for article titled Great Moments In Bicycle-Powered Warfare
Advertisement

(Photo via AP)

DISCUSSION

By
Guild_Navigator

Um,you're not going to mention the Imperial Army and their use of bicycles in the Siege of Singapore? We're talking about Thousands and thousands of bicycles. The Japanese came pouring through the jungles with alarming speed without the Brits ever noticing. The besieged British turned their coastal guns around and bombarded the Japanese attack, but it accomplished nothing. They were designed to punch holes in ships, not repel a gigantic militarized Tour De France moving in the jungle...