Saturday, March 29, 2014

World War I - Americans Race Bicycles in France

The Stars and Stripes (Paris, France), February 7, 1919, Vol. 2 No. 01, page 6 has the following short story about a bicycle race held by the American Expeditionary Force during World War I.

5th Army Corps to Hold Thirty Kilometer Pedal Speed Contest

On Saturday, February 15, the Fifth Army Corps will stage a bicycle road race from Bourbon les Baines to Nogent en Bassigny, a distance of about 30 kilometers. Three teams of 20 men each will start, representing the 29th and 82nd Divisions and the Fifth Army Corps troops.

There will be a trophy for the team having the greatest number of men to finish, as well as individual prizes. Bicycle road race rules will govern. There will be no pacing other than that done among the contestants themselves, and controls will be established where assistance may be given the contestants.

Colonel Foster, athletic officer of the Fifth Corps., is in charge of the details of the competition, which he claims will forever put a stop to the arguments about the speed of the couriers in the recent big offensive.

All along the course organizations are arranging to give the riders a big reception. The finish will be at the foot of a big hill in Nogent en Bassigny, near Major General Summerall's chateau.

Article as it appeared in the Stars & Stripes

This kind of activity, a recreational race, was possible since the war had ended in November 1918.

Image of scout (not messenger) cyclists in World War I

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