Honoring the Buffalo Soldiers’ Iron Ride

Legionnaire Bobby McDonald visits The American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast this week to discuss events related to next month’s 125th anniversary of the 25th Infantry Regiment’s great bicycle experiment.

In 1897, the Buffalo Soldiers conducted a 1,900-mile ride from Missoula, Mont., to St. Louis, as a way to test whether bicycles would be a good option for military use. Their journey will be recognized with gatherings, re-enactments, ceremonies, entertainment, historical displays and multiple two-wheeled expeditions to retrace the route.

McDonald, a descendant of Buffalo Soldiers, is among the re-enactors for the event.

“There is so much detail within detail within detail about this ride that I am learning, it’s scary,” said McDonald, a member of American Legion Post 291 in Newport Beach, Calif. “If you are a sponge, you are oversoaked. It’s finding out about the history and about these guys and what they did after.”

The event runs June 13 to 19, but McDonald envisions it as a launching point to something bigger.

“We are looking at all the historical aspects, the internment camp, the prisoner of war camp,” he said, adding, “I’m looking forward to going back again. This is not just a one-time deal. I see this perpetuating the history of the Buffalo Soldiers.”

To learn more about the original ride, the commemorative events and more visit the web page. And check out this earlier story by The American Legion.

This episode is among more than 120 Tango Alpha Lima podcast for veterans, servicemembers and others. All episodes are available in both audio and video formats here. You can also download episodes on iTunes, Stitcher or other major podcast-hosting sites. The video version is available for viewing at the Legion’s YouTube channel.