Here's an extract from Colonel Masanobu Tsuji's : Japan's Greatest Victory, Britain's Worst Defeat.(1977).
While progressive Chinese were jabbing their elders with the idea of the bicycle, other Asian countries were well on the way to widespread adoption of the machine for mundane utilitarian purposes. Largely this was due to the surging Japanese bicycle industry, which had exported a staggering number of cheap, well-built bicycles to neighboring countries in the decade prior to World War II.
After Colonel Masanobu Tsuji scouted Malaya in 1941 to plan the Japanese invasion of the peninsula, he decided he would put his troops on bicycles on the long attack south to Singapore. Tsuji later wrote that two divisions had been out-fitted with six thousand bicycles each prior to the invasion, but many other sources say that the Japanese simply commandeered their bicycles from Malays upon arrival. There were plenty to go around.
Troops landed on Malaya about eighty minutes after the Zeroes swept into Pearl Harbor. Accompanied by tanks and trucks filled with their big guns ad heavy equipment, Tsuji's invaders extracted full advantage from Japan-built bicycles and the Brit's paved plantation roads, rolling about six hundred miles to Singapore. This was no ordinary charity ride. The bicycle troops stabbed into enemy territory, using secondary tracks to encircle allied forces mired in their armored columns on the main road--stuck in a traffic jam, essentially, where the armor was a fat target for airplanes and big guns. Motors in flames, the British soldiers were forced to hoof it, and were quickly overtaken by troops on two-wheelers. When the allies blew the bridges, the Japanese waded across with their bikes and kept rolling. "With the infantry on bicycles," Tsuji explained, "there was no traffic congestion or delay." Tsuji claimed that a conventional campaign without bicycles would have taken over a year. The British defenses were wiped out in seventy days.
Allied soldiers who were hiding along the route watched orderly columns of hundreds of Japanese soldiers pedaling by and happily talking among themselves as if headed to a picnic. These guys were in high spirits, at least at first. With extremely long days on the road, hauling sixty to eighty pounds of gear under their seats, pausing frequently for combat and chasing Englishmen into the jungle on foot, the rolling infantry started to feel the burn. Upon arrival at Singapore they were a hungry saddle-weary bunch, but captured what was supposedly an impregnable fortress easily enough despite their saddle sores.
The British seemed shocked. They hadn't expected to be blitzkrieged by bicyclists. Decades later they still seemed shocked, and embarrassed. It was a particularly humiliating way to get skunked- to have this old British invention, viewed as a child's toy by many Englishmen in 1941, turned against them in such devastating fashion. Even without the bicycles the loss of Singapore would have been the most humiliating military defeat the British have ever suffered. That the Japanese had achieved this victory via bicycle was beyond the pale. Most British histories of the campaign preferred not to mentions Tsuji's two-wheeled stratagem at all. Instead they dwelled on the Japanese use of tanks. Some big, bad tanks those were. Grrrr.
- In Copenhagen, Denmark 36% of all citizens commute to work, school or university by bicycle.
- Most bike commuters report losing 15 to 20 lbs during their first year in the saddle without changing their eating habits.
- Bicycles use 2% as much energy as cars per kilometer - passenger, and cost less than 3% as much to purchase.
- Bicycles in China outnumber cars 250 - 1.
- 100 bicycles can be produced for the same energy and resources it takes to build one-medium size automobile.
- You can reduce the risk of disease or stroke by 50% just by cycling 3 hours a week.