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The 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps was well ahead of its time, both as an early triumph for racial understanding and as sustainable transportation. Convinced that the newly developed “safety bicycle” would replace the horse, General Nelson A. Miles in 1897 assigned 20 African-American soldiers to bike 2,000 miles from Montana’s Fort Missoula to St. Louis, Mo. The trip was designed to cover a wide range of terrain to demonstrate the bicycles’ versatility, but it had other effects as well. The tour was documented by regular dispatches from a Daily Missoulian reporter who accompanied the riders. He wrote that the excursion showed the professionalism of the soldiers, who reported no racial incidents during their trek. “The Corps attracted a great deal of attention as we rode through these rural mountain districts. Horses and cows ran from us, and the inhabitants would stop their work and gaze at us in astonishment,” wrote the corps’ (white) commander, Lt. James Moss. His journal is one of the two first-person sources for the 1999 documentary The Bicycle Corps: America’s Black Army on Wheels. Although some of the soldiers ultimately settled in communities they had traversed on bike, the other effects of the trek were fleeting. When the Spanish-American War erupted, the corps was shut down and the bicycles were shipped back to Massachusetts’ Spalding Bicycle Plant, which had donated them. Ultimately, it came to be accepted that what was good for GMnot Spaldingwas good for America. At noon Friday, Feb. 23, at the National Archives and Records Administration’s Theater, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free. (202) 501-5000. (Mark Jenkins)