Utility Cycling

The Utility of Folding Bicycles

It’s cute, but is it practical? That’s the question many folding bikes elicit. Sure, it looks neat, but how well does it actually function? Form follows function. Ergo, the form of a folding bike should follow its function. Folding bikes are designed to be compactly carried and stored in other vehicles, but still provide reliable…

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The Swiss Army Bicycle Did All That, and More

“A Swiss soldier without rock-hard buttocks brings shame on the army.” Bicycles are almost as Swiss as Swiss Army knives, and the Swiss Army proudly maintained a front-line bicycle infantry regiment into the 21st Century. While it was disbanded in 2003, The Swiss Army continues to use bicycles for base transportation, lending some credence to…

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How the Bicycle Won the Vietnam War

In the wake of World War II, the militaries of the West left bicycles behind for the automobile and the armored personnel carrier. Bicycle infantry units in the German army were disbanded alongside the rest of the defeated forces. The Allied armies demobilized, disbanding the vast majority of their troops, including all of the relatively…

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Rolling Recumbent, Part 1: The Utility of Recumbents

Recumbents. You’ve seen those oddball, laid-back bikes being ridden by slightly goofy guys (yeah, it’s usually guys). They’re smiling. They’re waving. And they’re looking suspiciously comfortable. Recumbents are practically the opposite of everything that bicycling is supposed to be about. There’s no crying in baseball, and there’s blessedly little comfort in bicycling. Right? Well, maybe…

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"Geef me min fiets!" Give me my bike! The Bikes of World War II.

‘Tis a pity that General Patton didn’t lead a column of bicycles into battle, but Field Marshall Montgomery led an army of foot soldiers and “foot cycles” in Normandy. When the British were bottled up in Normandy with their plentiful bicycles, General Eisenhower appealed to Winston Churchill to persuade Monty [British commanding officer General Montgomery]…

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Bikes at War Part Two: The Great War

Adolf Hitler was a bike messenger? Yes, indeed. And a decorated one, at that. But more on that later. If the Great War had been fought in accordance with the fantasies of armchair generals, then the bicyclist would have replaced the doughboy as the symbol of gallantry and heroism. Sadly, the war devolved to trenches,…

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