• Country

Cycling and the Army: Folding Bicycles Were the Choice in the 19th Century

By Monica Buck

The invention of the bicycle took the world by storm and just like with all game-changing machines, the military wanted to utilize it. Nearly all European armies experimented with bikes in the late 19th century and looked for the ideal design to use in their manoeuvres. That’s how the folding bicycle came into existence, a pair of wheels you could ride as well as carry on your back. The one you see in the pictures below was made by a company called Gladiator. It was one of the top French manufacturers at that time. With a newly built factory opened in 1896, it was in a strong position to get a big contract announced by the French military. In the end, however, Peugeot won with their ‘Captain Gerard’, and the photos below are the only ‘action’ the Gladiator bike was ever involved in.