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.

Did Boos and Moss ride the ride across Missouri?

Doraine Bennett a follower posed an interesting question that I just discovered since I haven't been checking my "Dashboard" carefully enough. The following is our correspondence:

Hi Doraine,

I just opened my blog and discovered a question you had sent a LONG time ago. I'm sorry I missed it. I didn't realize it was there. I thought I had things set up so I'd be notified by e-mail if I got any comments:

Here is your question:
Do I have this straight? Moss and Boos "passed through" Cameron "on cars." It's not specifically stated, but it's questionable that they were with the Corps when they went through Hamilton. My supposition is that they took the train in St. Joseph, headed to Laclede where they met Henry Lucas. Is that what you think?

Here are my thoughts:
To be honest, I skipped over the Cameron newspaper account of "passing through on cars". Nor had I worked out how Boos, Kennedy and Moss traveled though I suspected they might have leap-frogging across Missouri via train. I need to go back and read the articles more carefully. I think your deduction is right and I thank you for your sharp eye. Your supposition would solve some questions I've had....

1) Why didn't Boos write more about the trip through Missouri? The articles he wrote for the Missoulian come to a dead stop at about the Nebraska-Missouri border but we know he was at Forest Park when the Corps made their triumphant entry into St. Louis. I now think it's because he rode across a great deal of Missouri on a train. Your theory fits this.

I know for certain that Boos rode ahead by train clear back in Wyoming through a Newcastle, Wyoming article I found. Perhaps he did this other places as well.

Here are some other thoughts:
Sunday = 18th of July - Corps rode from St. Joseph to Hamilton - Cameron is just before Hamilton
Monday = 19th of July - Corps rode from Hamilton, MO to Laclede
"Henry V. Lucas rode out to Laclede on Wednesday [July 21] to tender Lieut. Moss the hospitality of the St. Louis wheelmen."
[This would mean Moss and Boos waited two days while Lucas rode the train to meet them? Hmmm.... Don't know what to think. Why would they not keep riding and have Lucas meet them at some point closer to St. Louis?]

Notice at the beginning of the Missouri leg: "E.H. Boos, of the associated press accompanies the party [Holt County Sentinel, July 23]" St. Joseph Herald [July 18] also mentions Boos. Then there is the quote you mention-

"The soldiers are colored and are in charge of Lieut. J.A. Moss, a white man, who went through here on the cars Sunday evening, accompanied by E.H. Boos, a representative of the Associated Press. The only white man in the crowd in Cameron was Lieut. J.M. Kennedy, surgeon.
- Cameron Daily Observer [Cameron, MO], July 19, 1897

The Brookfield Gazette, in Missouri, reports..."the company numbered twenty--Lieut. James A. Moss, Surgeon J.M. Kennedy and eighteen privates...." No mention of Boos. The Hamiltonian [Hamilton, MO] tells us, "a representative of the Associated Press E.H. Boos" but then, The St. Louis Post Dispatch [July 23, 1897] says: "Lieut. Moss and Surgeon Kennedy are the only white men in the corps"--this article written before they reach St. Louis.

"They are in charge of Lieut. J.A. Moss, a white man who went east by train Sunday night."
- Hamilton News-Graphic, July 22, 1897

"The Twenty-fifth Infantry Bicycle corps camped at Laclede Monday evening and passed through Brookfield Tuesday morning. The company numbered twenty--Lieut. James A. Moss, Surgeon J.M. Kennedy and eighteen privates...."
Brookfield Gazette, July 24, 1897

"James A. Moss...with twenty-three men, including James M. Kennedy, the surgeon, all on bicycles, arrived here last Thursday afternoon [July 22]Lieutenant Moss and Edward H. Boos official reporter of the bicycle corps made the NEWS a pleasant visit during their brief stay in Louisiana."
- Pike County News- Louisiana, MO, July 29, 1897

"Lieutenant Moss and Surgeon Kennedy came in ahead of the corps and made straight for the office of the Pike County Press to get hold of a L.A.W. map."


"Lieut. Moss, with Lieut. Kennedy and Mr. Boos, rode five wheel lengths in front of the corps that followed after in platoons of fours."
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch [St. Louis, MO] Sunday morning, July 25, 1897