Bicycles in War, a Book Review by by Michael Z. Williamson

I just finished reading the book “Bicycles in War” by Martin Caidin and Jay Barbree. Caidin, of course, is a phenomenal writer, and does a great job of presenting the material. There’s not a lot of technical how to, though there are some useful pictures, and comments about how the Viet Cong, for example, reinforced their bicycles to carry up to 500 pounds of cargo while pushing them.

During WWI, entire regiments moved more quickly than marching troops, and quite a few clandestine operations in both World Wars used bicycles, including some by the British Commandos and the SS, behind enemy lines.

Summarizing from the book’s conclusion, the bicycle’s efficiency can be explained as allowing a man to move up to fours times as fast or far than
on foot
, while carrying two to four times as much gear, for less calories expended–1/5th to 1/2, depending on load. A bicycle can go most places a walking man can, and can of course readily use roads as well. – Michael Z. Williamson