Page:The Cycle Industry (1921).djvu/103

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The Continental army authorities, particularly in France, have long recognized the extreme practicability of cycles in war, and the French army have largely adopted a bicycle with a folding frame made by one of its largest and best known manufacturers. This machine, when folded, can be slung across a soldier's back when the ground is too broken to allow a bicycle to be ridden. Thus, the French soldier-cyclist is supplied with a rapid means of transit, and whole companies are equipped with these folding machines and move very rapidly from place to place.

If the Postal Service of the country does not, at the moment, rank equally in importance with the Military Service, it is nevertheless most essentially a branch of the Government of the country, and it makes very large use of the bicycle and the tricycle in the collection and delivery of letters, parcels, and telegrams.

Rural postmen, postwomen, and telegraph girls and boys would be lost without bicycles to carry them swiftly from village to village, and if they were to wake up some morning to find themselves deprived of their use they would, perhaps, appreciate them more than they do now.

The G.P.O. employs a special staff to control its bicycle contracts, to supervise and inspect their manufacture and repair, and generally look after its interests at the factories it favours with its contracts. The cycles used by the G.P.O. are bicycles for telegraph messengers, and postmen, and in some towns carrier tricycles, with baskets in front, for collection of letters from suburban pillar boxes and branch offices. These machines are painted or enamelled the familiar G.P.O. red, and when in dock for any serious repair they are sent to a central depot for attention. Minor repairs are dealt with by local cycle mechanics acting under