According to The Washington Post, it was “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month”, when the armistice that ended World War I marked our calendars with the US holiday we now call Veterans Day. The year was 1918, Woodrow Wilson was president, and nationwide alcohol prohibition was kicking off with Mississippi ratifying the 18th amendment. Most importantly, it was time for the hoards of soldiers to head home to their loved ones.
The editorial team at Singletracks includes an Air Force and Marine Corps veteran and we have made a point over the years to recognize military service members in a number of ways. We created this anthology of articles that will grow over the years as we find more stories of veterans riding and working with mountain bikes.
The US Armed Forces Cycling Team is made up of athletes from all branches of the military. While most of the USAF Team is focused on road and time-trial racing, there are a handful of athletes who compete in the dirt.
Former Marine, Jerry Chabot, has employed his engineering skills to create a successful wheel building business. Chabot designs carbon rims and assembles wheels at his shop in Vermont.
A mountain bike ride at Brown County Park in Indiana was the last thing the Griffin family did together before US Army Sgt. Dale Griffin was killed in action in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009. The family often traveled to ride mountain bikes together, and following Dale’s death they resolved to honor his memory the best way they knew how: by building a kick-ass mountain bike park right in their own community.
In the late 1800s, the US Army conducted a field test to see if moving troops by bicycle could be faster and less expensive than traveling by horse, particularly over mountainous terrain. The 25th Infantry Regiment, made up of African American soldiers known as the “Buffalo Soldiers,” set out to ride specially-outfitted bikes from Ft. Missoula, MT to St. Louis, MO, a distance of nearly 2,000 miles over largely dirt roads that ranged in condition from bad to worse, according to a reporter who covered the journey.
Check out this article and video about an event that Wilderness Trail Bikes and Semper Fi Fund hosted for wounded veterans.
Here is another great tale of the world’s first mountain bikers, the Buffalo Soldiers.
In 2010, Jeff Barber wrote this article about how the resilience of mountain bikers can make them good candidates for the Navy SEAL program. “A Gallup poll commissioned by the US Navy found that mountain bikers (and other “alternative” sports enthusiasts) were more likely to survive the intense training required to become a SEAL.”
And in case you missed it, be sure to read this story about how the military has influenced mountain bike technology over the years.
Happy Veterans Day to all of our readers who have served their country, and thank you for your service.
Finally, enjoy some of these savings from our mtb partners supporting Veterans: