Re: [CR] Civil Defense Bicyclists???

(Example: Racing:Jacques Boyer)

Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 21:18:59 +0000
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Subject: Re: [CR] Civil Defense Bicyclists???

Well there certainly was a cycling corps way back near the turn of the century. It was an experiment to see if bicycles could be useful in military situations. There is a video somewhere about it. It was an all black corps that did some amazing maneuvers on bicycles at a period when safety bicycles were relativly new and untried. They were comanded by a white officer and again their story is pretty amazing. You can see some of it here.

As for blacked out parts, they did exist but not so much in the "racing" bike venues. I used to have bikes with blacked out parts in the Balloon bike genre. Although it was marketed as being for the war effort, I believe it was more because certain metals were being consumed for the war effort and flat black enamel was plentiful. I can still envision several New Departure coaster brake hubs in black with embossed yellow lettering.

The olive drab bikes and parts were really military bikes not for blackout purposes but more utilitarian. I owned a BSA paratroopers folding bicycle that was entirely olive drab with the exception of the tires. Columbia made a similar bike during that period. The BSA weighed a ton and I guess it had to if it was to survive falling out of a plane. It had some very interesting features including pedal spindles that slid back and forth so they would not stick out when the bike was folded.

Ray Homiski Elizabeth, NJ USA

> Message: 5
> Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2009 13:41:29 -0500
> From: Daniel Dahlquist
> Subject: [CR] Civil Defense Bicyclists???
> To:
> Message-ID:
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="ISO-8859-1"
> Dear Group, No doubt many on the list are familiar with the
> British couriers
> and civil defense bicyclists with their black out lamps during
> the Blitz of
> World War II...Does anyone know if we had a counterpart here in
> the states
> during WW II? I know we had a corps of Civil Defense folks with
> helmets,uniforms, etc...but did any of these individuals ride
> bicycles?
> Daniel Dahlquist
> Galena, Illinois