Page:The Cycle Industry (1921).djvu/102

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tyres; with the advent of the pneumatic tyre military cycling was mostly confined to the use of bicycles of the solo pattern.

Carbines or rifles were carried on the machines in much the same manner as they are to be seen in the Army Cyclists Corps to-day.

In war the advantages of a cyclist corps are that a small body of men can push forward to reconnoitre and act as a scouting party; where roads exist, they can, with the aid of a bicycle, cover about three times the distance of foot soldiers and yet be fresh and ready to engage in a skirmish. The bicycle enables men to push forward and make camping arrangements in advance of the main body, and to carry out multifarious duties that in other cases would entail the use of horses which might, by reason of the noise they create, cause their presence to be known to an enemy.

Modern cyclists who carry out military duties recognize that the bicycle is only suitable for certain purposes, and that in some instances it would be only an impediment. Having recognized the failings and advantages of a bicycle in war, it will probably be more largely used than ever in the future by military authorities of this and other countries.

As mentioned earlier in this chapter, the War Office placed huge orders for bicycles with the cycle manufacturers of the Midlands soon after the war commenced in 1914, and bought up all the available suitable stocks they could obtain. Thousands of these machines went to Flanders and France and other overseas countries. Thousands came back to this country and were sold by auction along with those from home camps which were no longer required. These sales undoubtedly affected the retail trade in bicycles throughout the country.