The Military History of the Bicycle

When this book arrived I must admit I did have little chuckle, describing the bicycle as the forgotten war machine.  I honestly didn’t know there was an Army Cyclist Corps.  Yet even as late as the 1970s bicycles were being used by infantry to move from battlefield to battlefield, in this example the Vietcong.

The BSA company which made weapons for the military diversified in to bicycles in 1881. During WW1 BSA produced bicycles and motorcycles to the military and police forces. The British army had some 1500 BSA bicycles.

The book, not only covers British forces, many nations used the bicycle to move infantry quickly.

The book is full of amazing pictures of cyclists at war. The book also depicts reenactors riding bikes.

There are interesting chapters on some of the types of bikes being created such as ambulance bikes for evacuating injured soldiers, also cable laying attachments, and messenger pigeon carrying bikes. The more I read the more engrossing it was and how useful a bicycle would have been in the early days as it was a cheap easy to use piece of transportation.

The bicycle was also used in WW2 right up to the end of the war.

I think this is an amazing book that anyone reading anything about warfare in the 20th century should read this book.  You probably hadn’t considered how important the bicycle was. I know I hadn’t.

You can buy the book here from Pen and Sword books.

Please note I was not paid to write this review but was sent a review copy of the book. All comments are my own, and the publishers have not amended the review in any way.