Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Bicycle Dimensions

I've had many requests for specific dimensions of the bicycles the Corps used. Readers of this blog would like to make a replica. The following is from Lt. Moss:

"The Corps is equipped with Spaulding military bicycles which have been especially made for the trip. The rims are of steel, the front wheels have 40 tandem spokes and the side forks and crown are extra heavy. The bicycles are all supplied with gear cases, luggage carriers, brakes and frame cases and weigh about 32 pounds (the heavy tires increase their weight considerably).
Particular attention has been given the subject of tires and the wheels are furnished with eight different kinds of so-called non-puncturable tires, several pair having been especially made for the expedition. Some of these tires weigh as much as six pounds per pair. The cooking utensils consist of three telescopic frame cases made of light sheet iron, and two tin coffee pots. By means of thumbscrews the metallic cases are secured in the diamond of the bicycles and are used as ration carriers during the day; when camp is made the rations are taken out, and each case being made of two seperate parts we have six cooking vessels. The coffee pots are cylindrical in shape, measuring eighteen inches in length and ten inches in diameter. They are strapped to the handle bars on the front of the bicycle and a blanket roll is carried in each.
- James A. Moss 2nd Lieutenant, 25th U.S. Infantry
Daily Missoulian Military Purposes, June 19, 1897

This is from an ad for the 1897 version of the Spalding bicycle. I've transcribe the ad and put it on the left for easier reading.

The Spalding Bicycle
Model No. 123 For 1897
THE SPALDING SPECIAL
Price, $75
SPECIFICATIONS
FRAME - Diamond, standard height 23 inches, front tubes 1 1/8 inch, rear tubes 3/4 inch, swaged and tapered at connections. All connections, except one, steel thimbles. Tubular construction throughout.
FRONT FORK - Tubular throughout. Side forks of large section, reinforced both ends. No forgings.
BEARINGS- Tool steel cut from bar, tempered, ground and polished. Removable ball races throughout.
TIRES - 28 inches by 1 5/8 inches. (See Options)
SPOKES - Straight, tangent, swaged and nickeled.
CRANKS - 6 3/4 inches. Round, spring steel, detachable.
PEDALS - Spalding rat-trap. Dust proof.
HANDLE BARS - Steel tubing of large section. Cork grips.
SADDLE - Sager, with "T" post. [I believe Lt. Moss and riders used a Christy Anatomical saddle
GEAR - 68 inches--17 teeth by 7 teeth
FITTINGS - Tool Bag, with tools and repair kit.
WEIGHT - With wood rims and rat-trap pedals, without brake, 23 pounds.
TREAD - 5 1/4 inches.
FINISH - Black enamel, nickeled trimmings.
OPTIONS - 20-inch frame, Model No. 120; 26-inch frame, Model 126; Handles Bars, Nos. 1,2,3,8 or 9 (see page 81); Sprockets, front, 17,18,19,20; Sprockets, rear, 7,8 (for table of gears see page 63); Cranks, 6 or 7 1/2 inches; Spalding Adjustable Gooseneck Post; Tires, Spaulding & Pepper, Hartford or Goodrich Single Tube; Pedals, rubber; Saddle, Christy.
NOTE - Brake cannot be fitted to handle bars Nos. 3 or 9.
A.G. Spalding & Bros.
New York Chicago Philadelphia
Factory, Chicopee Falls, Mass.

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