CYCLE COPRS EQUIPMENT will be invaluable when seconds matter – and the success of meeting any emergency lies in the speed with which you are prepared to meet it.
– Advert for Terry’s Rifle Clips
From the very start of the military cyclist movement, opinions varied enormously as to how the rifle should be carried. Some cyclist companies made their unfortunate men carry their rifles en bandolier, others adopted carbine buckets fastened to the front fork, which filled with water on rainy days and affected the steering at all times. Messrs. Lucas brought out a pair of rifle clips, one, under the saddle, designed to take the small of the butt, the other took the barrel a little behind the upper band.
In many cases the rear-clip fouled the rider’s right leg whilst the barrel of the rifle protruded unduly over the front wheel. The Corps were the first to adopt a modification of this method of carrying the rifle. The front clip was discarded altogether, the stock of the rifle being allowed to rest on the cape which was rolled neatly on the handle-bar.
It was Colour-Sergeant ‘Jack’ Rule who was responsible for this great improvement. He and the team he used to train to give displays at the Royal Military Tournament, and elsewhere, invariably carried their rifles in this way ; it was found that it was possible to attach or detach arms in a second, whereas with two clips it was often a matter of a minute or 96 before cyclists could get their rifles on or off the machine.
This method of carrying the rifle was sanctioned for “C” Troop, which included the “Gun” and Signallers, in 1903, and soon after it was adopted by the whole corps. In Territorial days most of the 14 cyclist battalions adopted the single rifle clips and many other features of the London ‘s equipment.
The 2/25th adopted rifle clips of perhaps an even better pattern. A leather shoe, fitted in the bottom of the cycle frame, took the butt (and the weight) of the rifle, whilst a guide (spring) fork, attached to the “head” of the cycle, held the stock of the rifle. This form of attachment had all the advantages (except some slight difference in weight) of the other pattern, and there was no risk of the rifle fouling the inside of the rider’s thigh. Perhaps it was more unsightly, but that did not detract from its efficiency.
– Extract from ‘The London Cyclist Battalion’
The War Office stipulated set patterns for military equipment, including rifle-mounting clips for military bicycles. But their specifications varied over a period of time, so several options were available on military pattern machines. Military cyclists often improvised if the clips issued did not meet their requirements.
Manufacturers did not follow a standard design, and various styles were available if a cyclist wished to purchase a set from a cycle accessory company.
1908 BROOKS CATALOGUE: REGISTERED SERVICE PATTERN RIFLE CLIPS
ORIGINAL SET OF RIFLE CLIPS:
FRONT CLIP IS LEATHER BELT FOR HANDLEBAR FIXING
TERRY’S CYCLE CORPS EQUIPMENT
FRONT RIFLE MOUNT
REAR RIFLE MOUNT
1889 J.L WATKINS GUN CLIP PATENT FOR BICYCLES
1893 J.S COPELAND GUN CLIP PATENT FOR BICYCLES