This is a pre-war publicity picture depicting marine paratrooper trials using a folding bike called "The Paratrooper". This picture was used by Westfield Mfg during and after the war in ads to promote their participation in the war effort.
"For several years war was brewing with Japan and the idea of a lightweight compact bike was being entertained by the US Military. Almost two Years before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the US Marines were experimenting with take-apart bikes and used a Westfield made Compax in Marine Paratrooper trials. These tests would lead to the Paratrooper name and legend. The fact of the matter is the U.S. Military never approved these bikes for paratrooper use. This did not mean the makers of Columbia bicycles did not give up on the idea of selling these bikes to the military. Many were purchased by the military for use on bases."
A friend of mine and I often kick around the idea of a book about the history of bikes in the military. Working titile: "The Bikes of War"