1944 Dayton Military
WWII U.S. Army bicycles are among the rarest of vintage military vehicles around. Although the U.S. Army had used bicycles for many years before WWII, none were standardized for procurement before 1942. The Army’s official use for these bicycles was to provide transportation for personnel engaged in dispatch or messenger service. Of course, they were used for many other purposes. They proved a fast and an economical way to get around depots, camps, and airfields.
This bicycle was first used at Wright Field in Dayton Ohio to transport personnel and deliver parts between the Engineering shops and aircraft installation and modification hangers during the war years and beyond.
After the war, while many military bicycles remained in service (like the one pictured), most were scrapped or sold as surplus. By the 1950s, they had become as much of a rarity as they are today.
The bicycle was purchased at a government auction as scrap and was in very rough condition due to being abused by so many people riding it through the years. During restoration, four different colors of paint were removed over the original military olive drab. The bike was fitted with non-original parts and had severe damage to the frame and fenders along with missing accessories. Trying to locate the correct parts was a challenge and nearly every component on the bike needed extensive work. This particular WWII U.S. military bicycle is one of a few known to exist in the United States, along with a small number in Europe. The restoration took one year to complete.
The Military bikes were covered with a non-reflective olive drab paint and were equipped with heavy duty rims, hubs and spokes. Tires were heavy-duty and marked US Royal Master or “War Grade”. Each bike had a Delta Winner headlight, Persons toolbag & seat, bell, and tire pump. Sometime in 1943, rubber pedal blocks were replaced with wooden ones because of shortage of rubber during the war.
Entry Submitted by Rodger Armbrust