September 2, 1996

Day 19 - Outside Livingston to east of Bozeman, MT

"The next morning the mud was thoroughly washed from the bicycles, which were then taken apart, and the balls, bearings, chains, etc., cleaned and oiled. Getting all packed by 2:30 o'clock that afternoon we started out again and within thirty minutes the summit of the Gallatin range was reached. Although the roads were very much better on this side we had to dismount very often on account of ruts and mud puddles.
At 5 o'clock we entered the streets of Bozeman and an hour later made camp for the night, having traveled 24 miles in three hours. Just before reaching the end of the day's journey a collison occurred which resulted in the rim of a front wheel being smashed to splinters. The soldier who rode the wheel carried it the rest of the way to camp, and while we were busily engaged trying to improvise a tandem there appeared on the scene a bicycle tramp. He told us how he had ridden through Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and other States, going from place to place in search of work. In addition to is other accomplishments he was also a cyclist mechanic of no mean ability, and for the sum of $3 offered to ride to Bozeman, 6 miles away, get a new rim and have the wheel fixed before 6 o'clock the next morning. The proposition was accepted and, strapping the broken wheel on his back our "Wandering Willie" soon disappeared in the darkness. Upon reaching Bozeman, however he found the only bicycle shop in town closed, the proprietor being at a political meeting. Going to the meeting, he found him in the crowd and succeeded in getting the rim by 9 o'clock that night, then hiring a room, he worked until 4 o'clock the next morning, fixing the wheel and had it at our camp by the appointed time."
- Lt. James A. Moss, Military Cycling in the Rocky Mountains, pg. 39-41

"Sept. 2 - After breakfast wheels taken to a ditch near by and mud washed off. Chains and balls removed, soaked in kerosene oil and oiled. At 2:30 P.M. left for Bozeman. Roads very muddy. Weather threatening all morning--sun during afternoon. Had to walk first 2 miles on account of mud and grade. Reached summit of Gallatin Range 3 P.M. . Comparatively good roads going down on other side of range, but had to dismount again and again on account of mud puddles and ruts. Reached Bozeman 5 P.M. Stopped 20 mins. to get meat and bread. At 5:50 P.M. Proctor's front wheel broke down completely--rim broken into splinters. Stopped for the night and slept in a barn. Gave a kind of "Wandering Willie", a bicycle tramp, $3.50 to get and fix a rim for me. Distance travelled during day 24 miles; time of actual travelling, 3 hours."
- Report from Lt. Moss to Adjutant General, Oct. 10, 1896 [National Archives, R.G. 94 Box 346 46363-46575]

No comments: