I stumbled upon the Bersaglieri by accident while looking up the history of Bianchi, which is no only the first real road bike but also the oldest bicycle company in the world. Bianchi made the first known full suspension bikes for the Bersagleri in the early 1900s.
The Bersaglieri were formed in 1836 to be high mobility light infantry. They were primarily used as skirmishers and shock troops to guard the flanks and harass the flanks of opposing armies. The kingdom of Sardinia could not afford a lot of calvary so they trained these troops to high physical and marksmanship standards to round out their forces.
At one time there were up to 12 battalions of cyclist troops in service. Present day Bersaglieri have other preferred methods of transportation but it is great to look back in history. Click here for Wikipedia information on this historic Italian troop class.
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