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The Swiss Army Bicycle Did All That, and More

This is the fifth post of our 6 part series, Bicycles at War.

Part 1 Boers on Bikes

Part 2 The Great War

Part 3 The Bikes of WWII

Part 4 How the Bicycle Won the Vietnam War

Part 6 Bikes in the Cold War and Beyond


“A Swiss soldier without rock-hard buttocks brings shame on the army.”

A Swiss conscript riding a standard issue, shiny, new Modell-05 bicycle, circa 1990.
The original single-speed hipster. A Swiss conscript riding a standard issue, shiny-new Modell-05 bicycle, circa 1990.

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 satirical news reports suggest that the bike regiment will be revived:

Frankly, young Swiss men used to be fine specimens of manhood, but today many have let themselves go, Defence Ministry spokesman Thomas Fisch supposedly told The Local, “Our view is that a Swiss soldier without rock-hard buttocks brings shame on the army.”

The Swiss Army bike regiments were tasked not with offensive reconnaissance, as many bicycle units had been during the Great War, nor with logistical supply as in Vietnam, but were rather a quick-strike (Handstreich), defensive unit. For five hundred years the Swiss have pursued a policy of armed neutrality. While there were occasional border skirmishes and accidental bombings in the First and Second World Wars, Switzerland hasn’t been truly at war since it was conquered by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1798. It is a naturally defensible country. The Swiss Army, therefore, trains to defend their country. And for that purpose, the bicycle reigned supreme for one hundred years. Regardless of whether Switzerland was being invaded from the east by the Warsaw Pact or from the west by NATO, the bicycle regiments were expected to quickly and quietly traverse both rural and urban settings to ambush motorized forces.

Try riding a double metric century with a 75kg rucksack IN SWITZERLAND!
Try riding a double metric century with a 75kg rucksack in Switzerland. Now that’s “army tough.”

The Swiss bike regiments were the lite of the army, the equivalent of U.S. Army Rangers or Royal Army Gurkhas. While most civilian cyclists would be daunted to ride two hundred kilometers, bike recruits were expected to do just that at night, with a seventy-five-kilo pack on a single-speed “velo” over alpine passes. “They come to the cyclists’ regiment because it is something very special,” said Lieutenant Tobias Zuercher, “You can be proud of it when you tell your family or your friends.”

The original Swiss Army bike, MO-05, was introduced in 1905, and remained in service for nearly ninety years. Only the fittest conscripts could pedal a single speed bike 200km with a 75kg rucksack!
The original Swiss Army bike, Ordonnanzfahrrad Modell 05, or MO-5 for short, was introduced in 1905 and remained in service for nearly ninety years.

The bicycle began service in the Swiss Army in 1891 as a courier vehicle. Enlisted soldiers assigned to headquarters would bring their bicycle from home, as they had done previously with a horse or pony. In 1905 the Swiss Army introduced the first standard bicycle, or “Ordonnanzfahrrad,” the Modell 05. It was built “army tough,” weighing 22 kilograms, or almost 50 pounds. With just a single gear, riding the MO-5 up an alpine pass would have been a challenge, to say the least. And descending a pass would have been even more exciting, as the MO-5 had just a spoon brake on the front and a coaster brake on the rear (upgraded to a drum brake, post-World War II). Thankfully one of the frame bags included all of the tools necessary to field strip the MO-5, as a single, substantial descent would have burned off all of the grease in the coaster brake.

A spoon brake on a rat bike. Spoon brakes use the the tire itself as a braking surface, as opposed to the rim, a disc or the hub.
A spoon brake on a rat bike. Spoon brakes use the tire itself as a braking surface, as opposed to the rim, the hub or a disc.

Facing a shortage of spare parts for the MO-5, the Swiss Army introduced a new bike in 1993, dubbed the Militrrad 93, or MO-93. The MO-93 was equipped with a rear derailleur and seven gears, a hefty derailleur guard, and (then) state-of-the-art cantilever brakes.

A Swiss soldier poses with his Modell-93 bicycle, circa 1999. In addition to a sprung leather saddle, it also carries a bazooka and a bicycle helmet.
His is bigger than yours. A Swiss soldier poses with his Modell-93 bicycle, circa 1999. In addition to a sprung leather saddle, it also carries a bazooka and a bicycle helmet.

But in 2001 the Swiss Army announced that the bicycle regiments were to be disbanded by 2003. The venerable velos were to be replaced with armored, motorized fighting vehicles. The loss was lamented by cycling aficionados and lampooned by internal combustion snobs. “No-one can understand why they are going to abolish us,” said bike commander Julian Voeffray in a 2001 BBC interview, “It is stupid. Over short distances, we are very fast, much faster than the motorized units. We can be very discreet, we are well armed and we perform well against the tanks.”

A Velo '93 with an army-issue cargo trailer, now relegated to vintage parade duties.
A Velo ’93 with an army-issue cargo trailer, now relegated to vintage parade duties.

A few years later, though, the Swiss “Ministry of Defence, Civil Defence and Sport” ordered 2,400 (some sources say 4,100) new bicycles, dubbed the MO-12, but colloquially known as the “Velo Zwolf.” The MO-12 is a dream commuter bike, built by Simpel, a Swiss company. It addition to a reliable, eight-speed, internally-geared hub, it sports front and rear disc brakes, fenders, cargo racks. It looks beefy enough to haul a bazooka, an assault rifle, and a rucksack, all at the same time. The reflective sidewalls on the semi-slick Schwalbe tires, though
, belie that the M-12 is meant for “cadet officers, sergeant majors, quartermasters, cooks, guards…physical training, and movement between barracks and firing range,” but not the frontline.

The Swiss Army Model 12 bike was introduced in 2012, and is the epitome of utility.
The Velo Zwolf, introduced in 2012, is the epitome of utility.

On April 1st, 2015, a Swiss news site published a satirical article announcing the reinstitution of the bicycle regiments.

Switzerland’s defence department has ordered the reinstatement of the bicycle infantry for the Swiss Army in a bid to improve fitness standards among soldiers.

The Swiss bicycle infantry was phased out in 2001 but a defense department spokesman said late Tuesday that its resurrection would help deal with the thousands of recruits who are out of shape.

Spokesman Thomas Fisch said the army favors the return of the single-speed bicycles used continuously by the army between 1905 and the 1990s.

Frankly, young Swiss men used to be fine specimens of manhood, but today many have let themselves go, Fisch told The Local.

“Our view is that a Swiss soldier without rock-hard buttocks brings shame on the army.”

The bikes, equipped to carry food rations and battle gear, weigh a hefty 25 kilograms or more, making them challenging to maneuver in mountain terrain.

As well, soldiers in the cycling infantry will be expected to carry up to 32 kilograms of equipment.

Defence Minister Ulrich Maurer is an avid cyclist who served in the army as a major commanding a bicycle battalion.

In addition to being useful for improving the fitness of soldiers, the army says bicycles will play a vital part in national defense.

“Frankly, we’re getting a bit worried by the French and their crack Segway regiment,” Fisch said.

“We hope that putting our men on bikes will stop them getting up to any mischief.”

The infantry will enable the army to respond nimbly and without the noise of motorized vehicles, he said.

A budget for the new bicycle contingent has not been announced but thousands of the Swiss-made bikes will have to be ordered at an estimated cost of 2,500 francs apiece, including maintenance over ten years.

Maurer, concerned about the overuse of motor vehicles by the military, wants all recruits to take their turn in the bicycle infantry around 10,000 a year.

The Swiss Army has raised the alarm about recruits being unfit for the tasks they have to take on, with more than 20 percent of them being sent home within three weeks of starting training.

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

This is the third post of our 6 part series, Bicycles at War.

Part 1 Boers on Bikes

Part 2 The Great War

Part 4 How the Bicycle Won the Vietnam War

Part 5 The Swiss Army Bicycle

Part 6 Bikes in the Cold War and Beyond


‘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] to get on his bicycle and start moving.

Canadian soldiers embark with their bicycles on D Day at Juno Beach. Commonwealth forces relied on bicycles to move supplies from the beachhead to the front lines.
Canadian soldiers embark with their bicycles in a landing craft before the assault on Juno Beach on D-Day. Commonwealth forces relied on bicycles to move supplies from the beachhead to the front lines.

 

British troops wade ashore at Gold Beach on D Day with their bicycles
British troops wade ashore at Gold Beach on D-Day with their bicycles. The surf was much higher than expected, and the landing craft were not able to make it all the way in, necessitating the lifelines strung to the shore.

In fact, World War II began on a bicycle. The Japanese rode bicycles in their rout of the British during the Invasion of Malaya and the Battle of Singapore. The German armored Blitzkrieg was supported by regiments of bicyclists. British paratroopers jumped out of aeroplanes clutching their Type G Apparatus folding bicycles in a nighttime mission, and rode them quietly down French country lanes to raid a radar station. German airborne forces used bicycles in the invasions of the Netherlands and Norway. The Resistance in France, and elsewhere, depended upon bicycles to move radios, arms and more. The Finnish Army alternated between skis and bicycles in their successful, asymmetric war with the Red Army. Air crews on all sides relied upon bicycles to move across vast, flat airfields. Seven-time Giro King of the Mountains Gino Bartali, in his racing kit, aided the Italian Resistance by delivering messages under the pretense that he was on training rides. Chinese partisans used bicycles to make hit and run attacks on Japanese convoys. The American 101st Airborne requisitioned civilian cargo trikes to move their airdropped supplies during Operation Market Garden. Civilians everywhere resorted to cycling as gasoline was rationed and public transit was decimated, if not outright destroyed. And in the final days of the war, the youth of Germany were sent against the Red Army, with nothing but one-shot, disposable RPGs strapped to their bicycles.

British airborne infantry load their bikes onto gliders before an assault, possibly during Operation Market Garden.
British airborne infantry load their bikes onto gliders before an assault, possibly during Operation Market Garden.

 

British airborne infantry prepare to deploy. Note that their rifles are covered with protective wraps, and are not combat ready.
British airborne infantry prepare to deploy. Note that their rifles are covered with protective wraps, and are not combat ready.

 

In a still photograph from the Danish film
The recent Danish film “9.April” (April Ninth) tells the story of a Danish bicycle infantry platoon on the morning of the German invasion.

 

A German bicycle infantry troop gets a motorized assist in a training exercise.
A German bicycle infantry troop gets a motorized assist in a training exercise. By towing a squad of cyclists, a truck could conceivably move them twice as fast, and carry their supplies, too.

 

Like all troops, the Germans trained for the past war. Gas masks were not needed the second time around.
Like all troops, the Germans trained for the past war. Gas masks were not needed the second time around.

 

Just another Dick, Tom or Jerry fixing a flat.
Just another Dick, Tom or Jerry fixing a flat.

Consider the logistics of moving one hundred battle-ready soldiers with one hundred backpacks a distance of one hundred kilometers over unpaved roads. By foot, they might make it in two days. If forced to march through the night, they might make it in less than twenty four hours, but they would be in poor fighting shape. If their company was assigned a single truck, it would still take a day or two for the truck to ferry the men in groups of twenty across rutted roads. But give the soldiers one hundred bicycles and they could pedal one hundred kilometers in half a day, with their supplies carried by the truck. Even without a support vehicle, they could still pedal their gear and themselves on bicycles one hundred kilometers in less than twenty four hours.

The Japanese used exactly those tactics in their hugely successful, but largely unsung, invasion of Malaya (modern-day Malaysia) and Singapore. The British colony of Malaya occupied an equatorial peninsula, with the island city of Singapore at its southern tip. The British had extens
ively fortified Singapore and the surrounding straits, expecting a naval attack. Their widely publicized plan was that Singapore would withstand a siege for months while a relief force sailed from Great Britain. Recognizing a losing proposition when they saw it, the Japanese chose to instead attack through the back door.

A Japanese soldier practices a combat cyclocross dismount with a fully loaded bicycle.
A Japanese soldier practices a combat cyclocross dismount with a fully loaded bicycle. Take it up to the next level and try this, ‘Cross hipsters.

 

Japanese bicycle troops advance in Malaya past a burning British strongpoint. The sound of a single squeaky chain, a rubbing brake pad, or a wheel rolling on the rims is bad enough. But by the dozens and the hundreds, they sounded to the beleaguered, undermanned British troops like the lightweight Japanese tanks. Time and again, Japanese bicycle infantry advanced past abandoned British defensive points. Broken-down bicycles were an unexpected psychological weapon.

Japanese troops trained to move lightly and quickly. They practiced riding long distances in large groups prior to the invasion. But when they boarded their transports, they left their bicycles behind. Having done their homework, the Japanese knew that they could find thousands of British bicycles in Malaya. After coming ashore hundreds of kilometers north of Singapore in a largely unopposed landing, the Japanese troops “requisitioned” bicycles from the local Malays.

Thanks to stolen, superior British craftsmanship, the Japanese were able to ride Raleighs and BSAs to victory in Malaya.

 

Japanese troops rode British bikes during their lightning invasion of Malaya. The majority of the bicycles in Malaya would have been colonial British exports. The Japanese would “requisition” bicycles from civilians and ride them until they broke, and often after they’d broken, too.

In Europe, bicycles were key to the German invasion of the Soviet Union, “Unternehmen (Undertaking) Barbarossa.” While the tip of the spear was hardened Krupps steel, the German Blitzkrieg was successful because bicycle-borne troops provided the wood of the shaft behind the armoured and motorised forces spearhead.

German troops carried not only their guns and backpacks with them on bicycle, but also their radios Communication is the key to combined arms.
German troops carried not only their guns and backpacks with them on bicycle, but also their radios. Communication is the key to combined arms.

 

Russian Front: A Cyclist Sharpshooter Department surpasses a column of vehicles of the Wehrmacht, observed by the German military.”

Hundreds of thousands of troops pedaled from Prussia to Russia. The German Wehrmacht was aided by the Italian Army on the Ukrainian front, including bicycle troops, during the drive to Stalingrad. Troops on bikes were able to move through rough territory faster, and could outpace a motor column.

The Ukranian steppe became a literal quagmire for the German army and its allies.
The Ukranian steppe became a literal quagmire for the German army and its allies in the spring.

The successful German invasions of the Low Countries, Norway and Denmark relied on capturing airfields, and flying infantry in to those airfields. Many of the Wehrmacht arrived with bicycles in their Junkers. Bicycle infantry carried everything from medical kits and radio sets to light machine guns, rifles and submachine guns, on their bikes.

His bike can carry light machine gun. Can yours?
His bike can carry light machine gun. Can yours?

 

German paratroopers load their bicycles onto a plane. The German airborne assault on Crete was turned back because of British intelligence forewarning.
German airborne troops load their bicycles onto a plane. The Fallsschmirjeger secured air fields and key infrastructure early in the war. The disastrous airborne assault of Crete, which was defeated by codebreaking intelligence, convinced Hitler that airborne operations were no longer viable.

The Dutch in particular have not forgotten the millions of bicycles stolen by the Germans during the war. A common Dutch taunt of Germans after the war was, “Geef me min fiets!” Give me my bike! On “Dolle Dinsdag,” or Rabid Tuesday, German troops panicked when the BBC announced that Allied troops had crossed the Dutch border (they hadn’t, in fact). Soldiers stole bikes from the general populace and rode out of Holland, with whatever they could carry. By the bicycle they came, and by the bicycle they left.

One German soldier tows an injured comrade in a stolen bicycle trailer on Rabid Tuesday, when the Germans retreated in a panic.
A German soldier tows an injured comrade in a stolen bicycle trailer on Mad Tuesday, when the Germans panicked and fled Holland.

The prewar German postcard showing soldiers wearing gas masks and pushing bikes seems quaint today. In the pictures from the first year of the war, the bike troops are full grown men, in thei
r twenties and thirties. As the war toils on, and they slog with their bikes through Mud Season, the men in the pictures turn gaunt. Their cheeks are sharper and their eyes are hollower. In the Mad Tuesday pictures, it is the walking wounded hauling their invalid comrades in hand carts.

As the war came to a close, the bicycle came to the forefront again, this time in the hands of the People’s Storm (Volkssturm) carrying Tank Fists (Panzerfuste). Teenage boys rode bicycles to battle with a pair of Panzerfausts bolted onto the front fork. They were supposed to keep the Red Army, the American army and the Commonwealth forces at bay from every direction, and were told to make every village a fortress. Some did, and paid the price.

A Volkssturm militia unit rides to battle with Panzerfaust RPGs mounted to bicycles.
A Volkssturm militia unit rides to battle with Panzerfaust RPGs mounted to bicycles.
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Bikes at War Part Two: The Great War

This is the second post of our 6 part series, Bicycles at War.

Part 1 Boers on Bikes

Part 3 The Bikes of WWII

Part 4 How the Bicycle Won the Vietnam War

Part 5 The Swiss Army Bicycle

Part 6 Bikes in the Cold War and Beyond


Adolf Hitler was a bike messenger? Yes, indeed. And a decorated one, at that. But more on that later.

The Fantastic Charge of the Light Brigade: Albert Robida's 1883 illustration of life in 1950s France.
The Fantastic Charge of a Light Brigade: Albert Robida’s 1883 illustration of future warfare.

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, and bicycles, like horses, were relegated to the backlines.

Under Pressure: Commonwealth cyclists fix their bikes amidst a barrage.
Under Pressure: Commonwealth cyclists fix their bikes amidst a barrage (probably photographed during training).

Traditionally, mounted soldiers fought from atop their mounts. But ever since the invention of gunpowder, advances in military technology meant that massed infantry, with dedicated artillery support, could more and more easily hold their own against charging cavalry. The value of a horse in combat became less than its value in transporting the combatant, and correspondingly the vulnerability of a horse in combat became greater. Pragmatic generals recognized that it was better to move soldiers quickly on horseback, but then have them dismount before engaging in combat. These mounted infantrymen were a hybrid of the traditional cavalry and infantry, and were named dragoons, after the dragon-shaped firearms they carried in the French army. Dragoons in the 19th Century were the equivalent of airborne infantry in the 21st Century: they moved quickly on the battlefield, secured objectives by stealth and speed, and relied upon more heavily armed units to back them up.

A Few Smart Men Wanted for The London Cyclists Battalion.
A Few Smart Men Wanted for The London Cyclists Battalion. Ironically, the London Cyclists were sent to India without their bicycles, while Sikh troops were sent from India to the Western Front with bicycles.

Going into the Great War, the European powers had organized bicycle corps for three different roles; scouts on bicycles would move quietly and report back on the position of the enemy, the disposition of the terrain, and occasionally skirmish. Secondly, bicycle messengers would convey dispatches from the front line to the headquarters, and back. Finally, infantry mounted on bicycles would move quickly to exploit weaknesses uncovered by scouts, or be held in ready reserve to react quickly and shore up a defense. While not as traditionally glamorous as serving in the cavalry, bicycle infantry were popularly seen as the progressive vanguard of the 20th Century.

German Bicycle Infantry prepare to go to the front.
Achtung! German Bicycle Infantry prepare to go to the front.

As it was, the first season of fighting remained relatively fluid, with the German armies rushed through neutral Belgium in a flanking attack. The bicycle was a vital part of the rapid advance. Hordes of cyclists preceded the invading German columns, scouting ahead of the main group, seizing bridges, railheads and crossroads, and laying telephone lines. The Belgian and French responded in kind, as bicycle units conducted raids behind the German lines to blow up bridges, sever communication lines and attack supply lines. Stories abound of stealthy cyclists on both sides hearing cavalry approaching, and then dismounting, hiding, and ambushing them. Time and again brave bike scouts rushed back under fire to inform their advancing units that they were marching into a trap.

Wanted: A Few Good Bike Trailers. A British illustration of bicycle infantry advancing under fire, and towing a machine gun.
Wanted: A Few Good Bike Trailers. A British illustration of bicycle infantry advancing under fire, and towing a machine gun.

When the Colonials of Canada organized in 1914, five Cyclist Battalions were formed from the volunteers. They were trained as scouts and light infantry. They envisioned fighting a rearguard action against the advancing Germans, delaying the enemy whilst their Commonwealth brothers-in-arms retreated. However, by the time the First Contingent disembarked in St. Nazaire, France in February of 1915 the front lines had frozen, along with the muddy trenches. The Canadian boys rode their bicycles to the front, but dismounted and huddled in the mud alongside the rest. For the most part, the Canadian Cyclist Battalions were engaged in regular infantry duties, and only occasionally as messengers at the general headquarters. But, three years later, during the final Hundred Days Offensive, the Canadian Cyclists came into their own at the Battle of Amiens. Bicycle-mounted troops were able to keep up with the advancing tanks. And most notably, the first Allied soldier to cross the Bonn River into Germany was a Canadian cyclist.

Advance of the Bicycle Battalion.
Advance of the Cyclist Battalion. Muddy roads and skinny tires made for long slogs dismounted & walking.

As the war dragged on, the French bicycle unit were disbanded and the men sent to bolster other units already “decimated” on the front lines.* In the view of German Major Rudolf Thiess, this was a strategic error. A decade after the war he wrote Die Radfahrtruppe, or “The Bicycle Troops,” an analysis of the use of bicycles in the Great War by both sides. While the Germans maintained, and even expanded their bicycle units, the French did not, depriving the French of a quick-response reserve. In Thiess’s view, bicycle units should not merely be maintained, but also expanded. His view was prescient, as the German advance, and retreat, of the Second World War would depend greatly upon bicycles.

German bicycle infantry prepare to advance.
Out of the Woods: German bicycle infantry prepare to advance.

New analysis notwithstanding, the first Allied soldier of the Great War killed by enemy fire has traditionally been held to be Private John Parr, a Bri
tish reconnaissance cyclist who was killed while providing covering fire as his squad mate escaped from German cavalry in Belgium. But regardless of who killed John Parr, or where, one bicycle messenger of der Weltkrieg is more (in)famous than any other: Adolf Hitler.

The most infamous draft-dodging, conscientious objector, bicycle messenger you never knew you knew: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler.
The most infamous draft-dodging, conscientious-objecting bicycle messenger you never knew you knew: Gefreiter Adolf Hitler, Radfahrer bis Regiment.

Hitler is not often remembered as a conscientious objector or a draft dodger. But he did not want to be conscripted into the Austrian army, which in his words was a mixture of races, and at the age of 24 Hitler left his native Austria for neighboring Bavaria. He was deported back to Austria by the Bavarian police, where he failed an army physical exam, and he returned to Munich to paint landscapes barely fit for postcards. A 1924 Bavarian government report concluded that Hitler was allowed to join the Bavarian Army in error. As an Austrian citizen he should not have been allowed to enlist, and but rather deported. Regardless, by the end of the First Battle of Ypres, Hitlers regiment had been reduced to 600 men, from the original 3,600. Hitler was promoted from Schtze (Private) to Gefreiter (Corporal), and assigned to the post of Radfahrer bis Regiment (Regimental Bicyclist.) It was as a bike messenger that Hitler would earn two Iron Crosses, as documented by Ancestry.com, and one of his Iron Crosses was at the recommendation of a Jewish officer. Ironically though, as another blog has pointed out, Hitlers experience on a bicycle did not stop the Nazis from passing legislation to ban bikes from roads in favor of cars

While serving as a regimental bike messenger, Adolf Hitler earned two Iron Crosses.
Gefreiter Adolf Hitler, Fahrrader bis Regiment. While serving as a regimental bike messenger, Adolf Hitler earned two Iron Crosses.

Unfortunately, Hitler’s enamor of the automobile did not fit with Germany’s resources. Without the oilfields of Armenia and Azerbaijan, let alone Texas and Oklahoma, the Third Reich had to depend upon synthesizing coal for almost 80% of its liquid fuel. It was the bicycle therefore that made the Blitzkrieg advance possible, and bicycles that allowed the Wehrmacht to retreat. But more on that next month in Part Three of this continuing series.

 

Wesley Cheney bikes for family, fun, profit and necessity in Norfolk, Virginia. He writes about bikes and kilts at Foto by Wes and (re)builds bamboo bikes and bamboo kayaks at 757 Makerspace. When he is not delivering sandwiches for Jimmy Johns on his bicycle, he aspires to earn a BM in Music Education at his alma mater, Old Dominion University. Wesley loves leather saddles, full fenders, helmet-mounted lights and mirrors, platform pedals, front racks, double kickstands, and vintage friction Suntour Command shifters. He warbles on a flugelhorn, sings bass in the choir of Christ and Saint Lukes Church, and studies ukulele under the amazing Skye Zentz.

 

*Being a nitpicker, the author would like to point out that the literal and original meaning of “decimate” is to reduce by one tenth, not one half, and certainly not 90%.