Page:The Cycle Industry (1921).djvu/101

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CHAPTER XV

MILITARY AND OTHER SERVICE BICYCLES

The advantages of a bicycle for military purposes have been advocated ever since the introduction of the safety, and a branch of the old volunteer service, followed later by the Territorial Army, has always had a cycling section or sections attached to it. The War Office had not been too enthusiastic on the subject until the Great War of 1914–19, when the Cyclists' Section became a recognized and valuable unit of Kitchener's Army, and the War Office placed very big orders for bicycles with many of the largest firms in the industry.

In the old days the cyclist sections were attached to volunteer regiments all over the country, but the Government gave very little, if any, assistance in the purchase of the bicycle and made no attempt to standardize the machines—a very essential thing where any article is used for military purposes.

The cyclist sections paraded at the usual annual camp meetings and engaged in manoeuvres, some of a highly instructive description to the men engaged and authorities alike; all honour and praise to those who worked hard, against strong opposition at times, to prove the handiness and extreme mobility of a soldier when mounted on a bicycle.

Various forms of military machine saw the light some years ago. One was a four-wheeler, or quadricycle, propelled by two or more men and carrying a machine gun; another hauled a small gun or machine gun behind, and was propelled by riders seated tandem or in fours. This was mostly during the days of solid or cushion

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