In June 1897, the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps, an all-Black unit also known as “Buffalo Soldiers,” embarked on an epic bicycle ride of more than 1,900 miles from Fort Missoula, Montana, to St. Louis, Missouri. Called “The Great Experiment” in national newspapers, the ride was part of a trial by the U.S. Army to determine the effectiveness of moving troops by bicycle. The route for this experiment closely followed the Northern Pacific and Burlington railroads through Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and Missouri, and took 41 days to complete.
This year marks the 125th anniversary of the incredible journey. To commemorate the anniversary, Missouri State Parks is partnering with Lincoln University and the Greater Los Angeles Area Chapter of the 9th and 10th Horse Cavalry Association to host a series of events that tell the story of these soldiers and their extraordinary accomplishments. The locations of the events follow the historic route the soldiers rode through northern Missouri, and include:
There will be something for everyone, including bike rodeos and activities for kids; live music; historical demonstrations; exhibits of the route and riders; programs and presenters; as well as welcoming Erick Cedeño, the “Bicycle Nomad,” to each destination as he reenacts the 1,900-mile journey.
For more information about the amazing story of the Bicycle Corps, visit mostateparks.com/ironriders.