Cycling History

Military Cycling: First World War Cyclists From The Imperial War Museum Photo Archives

SOUTH MIDLAND DIVISIONAL CYCLIST COMPANY (publisher/sponsor) H Osborne (printer) © IWM (Art.IWM PST 4893)

A recruitment poster for the South Midland Divisional Cyclist Company © IWM (Art.IWM PST 4893)

Sergeant of the cyclist battalion of the Dorset Regiment in marching order. © IWM (Q 30428)

Sergeant of the cyclist battalion of the Dorset Regiment in marching order. © IWM (Q 30428)

Cyclists on the road. © IWM (Q 24711)

Cyclists on the road. © IWM (Q 24711)

Troops of a German cyclist detachment speaking with Polish villagers outside a shop, 1915. Gorlice-Tarnow © IWM (Q 53609)

Troops of a German cyclist detachment speaking with Polish villagers outside a shop, Gorlice-Tarnow offensive, 1915. © IWM (Q 53609)

Cyclists on the Ypres-Poperinghe Road, July 1916. © IWM (Q 838)

Cyclists on the Ypres-Poperinghe Road, July 1916. © IWM (Q 838)

Indian cyclists at a crossroads on the Fricourt-Mametz road. Somme 1916. © IWM (Q 3983)

Indian cyclists at a crossroads on the Fricourt-Mametz road. Somme 1916. © IWM (Q 3983)

A Romanian company of cyclists near Odorheiu Secuiesc, 1916. © IWM (Q 58112)

A Romanian company of cyclists near Odorheiu Secuiesc, 1916. © IWM (Q 58112)

© IWM (Q 1879)  Cyclists passing through the village of Vraignes (Vraignes-en-Vermandois), March 1917. They were the first British troops to enter.

Cyclists passing through the village of Vraignes (Vraignes-en-Vermandois), March 1917. They were the first British troops to enter. © IWM (Q 1879)

© IWM (Q 1886)  Cyclists passing through the village of Vraignes (Vraignes-en-Vermandois), March 1917.

Cyclists giving children rides as they pass through the village of Vraignes (Vraignes-en-Vermandois), March 1917. © IWM (Q 1886)

Cyclists passing through the ruined village of Brie, March 1917. © IWM (Q 1868)

Cyclists passing through the ruined village of Brie, March 1917. © IWM (Q 1868)

Cyclists of the Arditi ("Daring Scouts") in Fornaci Square, Piave Front, east of Treviso. IWM Q 65223

Cyclists of the Arditi (“Daring Scouts”) in Fornaci Square, Piave Front, east of Treviso. IWM Q 65223

Cyclist despatch riders of the Wandsworth Home Defence Battalion, Wandsworth, London. © IWM (Q 53425)

Cyclist despatch riders of the Wandsworth Home Defence Battalion, Wandsworth, London. © IWM (Q 53425)

A boy scout working as a military despatch cyclist during the First World War. © IWM (Q 30596)

A boy scout working as a military despatch cyclist during the First World War. © IWM (Q 30596)

Battle of the St Quentin Canal (Saint-Quentin). A cyclist-messenger's dug-out near Bellicourt, 29th © IWM (Q 9349) September 1918.

Battle of the St Quentin Canal (Saint-Quentin). A cyclist-messenger’s dug-out near Bellicourt, 29th © IWM (Q 9349) September 1918.

A cyclist of the 8th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment (70th Brigade, 23rd Division) with geese attached to his bicycle. Italian Front. © IWM (Q 26575)

A cyclist of the 8th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment (70th Brigade, 23rd Division) with geese attached to his bicycle. Italian Front. © IWM (Q 26575)

A tandem bicycle frame used by the Germans to generate electricity for wireless in the trenches. Moislains, 5 September 1918. © IWM (Q 7046)

A tandem bicycle frame used by the Germans to generate electricity for wireless in the trenches. Moislains, 5 September 1918. © IWM (Q 7046)

Armourers shop. Where rifles and bicycles are repaired (Tadworth Camp). © IWM (Q 33716)

Armourers shop. Where rifles and bicycles are repaired (Tadworth Camp). © IWM (Q 33716)

Interior of cycle wheel shop, No. 4 Heavy Workshops, Salvage Works, Rouen, 10th October 1918. © IWM (Q 29667)

Interior of cycle wheel shop, No. 4 Heavy Workshops, Salvage Works, Rouen, 10th October 1918. © IWM (Q 29667)

German disabled soldier with both artificial arms riding a bicycle on the way to work at a workshop in Hindenburg's house at Konigsberg. Every disabled German soldier could claim by law to be provided with mechanical limbs. © IWM (Q 88179)

German disabled soldier with both artificial arms riding a bicycle on the way to work at a workshop in Hindenburg’s house at Konigsberg. Every disabled German soldier could claim by law to be provided with mechanical limbs. © IWM (Q 88179)

 

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2 comments on “Military Cycling: First World War Cyclists From The Imperial War Museum Photo Archives

  1. Nick Wood
    February 19, 2015

    Great photos. I guess the levels of maintenance would have been pretty low so no strain on logistic chain.

    Like

    • aaroncripps
      February 19, 2015

      Advocates of the time were certainly arguing so. Volunteer cyclists had taken part in the Easter manouevres from 1885 and while by 1914 any offensive use of cyclists had largely been dismissed, the advantages over the horse for messenger services, scouting, etc. had been established. Plus the bicycle was cheaper to buy, cheaper to maintain, and easier to transport than the horse.

      Like

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This entry was posted on February 19, 2015 by in Cycling, History, Military Cycling and tagged , , , , , .
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