about "Across America on a Motor Bicycle ~ George A. Wyman 1903"

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about "Across America on a Motor Bicycle ~ George A. Wyman 1903"

augidog
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This post was updated on .
here you will find our locally hosted copy of Mr Wyman's diary, along with some backstory by Rif Addams, posted here with his permission. after you check out this relatively unknown historical feat, in the man's own words, be sure to browse one level up to learn about The George A. Wyman Memorial Project.

Preface (About the Story) by Rif Addams 2003

In 1903 a young gentleman from San Francisco by the name of George A. Wyman rode, pushed, pulled, carried, and crawled his 1902 "California" brand motor bicycle from San Francisco to New York City. He achieved this monumental undertaking before the first automobile crossing by Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson (in his Winton Automobile) and made better time, finishing his adventure in New York City at the "New York Motorcycle Club" rooms, 1904 Broadway, a mere 50 days after departing San Francisco. Amazingly, over half of Mr. Wyman's journey was accomplished by pounding over the ties of the trans-continental railroad as there were no "real" roads in the sense that we, in the modern age, have come to think of for Mr. Wyman to travel upon.  

Patented and manufactured by Roy C. Marks, the 'California' motor bicycle was produced from 1901 through 1904; in 1904 this company was sold to "Consolidated Manufacturing" of Toledo, Ohio and became the "Yale" motorcycle. 1904 and 1905 were the only years for the "Yale California" ('Yale' make- 'California' model). 1903, the year of Mr. Wyman's coast-to-coast journey, was a landmark year filled with "first" accomplishments. The first "Harley-Davison" motorcycle was produced, the first year of Henry Ford's famous automobile company; as previously mentioned this was the year of the first automobile crossing of the U.S., the year the first Tour De France bicycle race was run, and the first flight of the Wright Brothers airplan- just to name a few.

George A. Wyman's account was originally published in a series of articles, in his own words, in "The Motorcycle"; a periodical of the time dedicated to motorcycling. "The Motorcycle" was a relatively short-lived periodical, in publication from 1903 until 1906, and yet played a key role in the history of motorcycling. George A. Wyman's incredible account was in their premier issue (Issue 1, Volume1, June 1903).
 
Unfortunately, this accomplishment was for the most part lost and forgotten. George A. Wyman never received the credit he was due for this historic feat. This series of articles was found and reprinted in a special edition of "Road Rider" magazine (courtesy of the late Roger Hull) in it's complete form in the late 1970's (1979). Yet again it was lost and forgotten until published, in installments, in “The Antique Motorcycle” a publication of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. Still Mr. Wyman and his accomplishment remained somewhat obscure.

Born in 1877, in California, George A. Wyman at age 25, who was a member of the Bay City Wheelmen and a bicycle racer, became the first person to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains with a motor vehicle in 1902; riding his 1 1/2 horsepower California brand motor bicycle to Reno, Nevada for a bicycle-racing event at the Reno Fairgrounds. George arrived on August 31st, 1902 awaiting the arrival of his comrades who brought his racing cycle along by rail one week later for the big race, against rival cyclists the Reno Wheelmen, on Sept. 7, 1902.

It was this trip to Reno that gave Mr. Wyman the inspiration to attempt the first crossing of the American continent on his motor bicycle. To quote George (from his original 1903 text) while he was traveling over the Sierra mountains: "I was traveling familiar ground. During the previous summer I had made the journey on a California motor bicycle to Reno, Nevada, and knew that crossing the Sierras, even when helped by a motor, was not exactly a path of roses. But it was that tour, nevertheless, that fired me with the desire to attempt this longer journey - to become the first motorcyclist to ride from ocean to ocean."

George A. Wyman left the corner of Market and Kearney streets in San Francisco, CA at 2:30 P.M on May 16, 1903 and arrived in New York City on July 6, 1903; enduring many hardships and heartbreaks while en route, yet he still manages to tell his story with a great grace, humility, and wit that could only be described as true American spirit.

George did in fact become the first motorcyclist to cross this great land of ours, he then disappeared into obscurity receiving no credit in the pages of our history books for his accomplishment. He also seemed to have just disappeared; we have been doing genealogical research (along with all of the other research concerning the vehicle, the geography of the time, the route traveled, etc.) and have only recently had a breakthrough with the rest of his story. Fortunately, we have been able to discover a little bit about what happened to George A. Wyman after his continental crossing. Here is what we have discovered: It would appear that George continued to follow his interest in motor vehicles as he worked in different capacities relating to motor vehicles.

According to the 1910 census George had returned to San Francisco where he was working as a mechanic and chauffer, while residing at the Dorel Hotel, 1507 California Street. The 1920 census tells us that George, at age 43, was at this time married with three children, and was working as a second hand automobile dealer / salesman. His wife Nellie Wyman, (maiden name Lovern) age 41, had brought a child into the union; her son Harold, age 19, was a clerk for the Railroad. George and Nellie had also conceived two children of their own- son William (Billy), age 4; and son Richard, age 2. George A. Wyman had relocated from San Francisco by this time. He and his family apparently were now residing in Eureka, California. In the 1930 Census, George is still living in Eureka, CA with his two sons William and Richard. George is now working as an automobile mechanic. There is no record of his wife Nellie residing with him at this point.

Through a search of the Social Security Death Index we discovered that George A. Wyman, the first motorcyclist to cross the Continental United States, left this world November 15, 1959 at age 82 in San Joaquin county, CA.

we hope you enjoy Across America on a Motor Bicycle by George A. Wyman 1903 and are inspired to contribute to The Memorial project.

Even looking at a map takes on a different feeling, than it did in our pre-MB years. -bamabikeguy-
Get a bicycle, you will not regret it. If you live. -Mark Twain-
The bike saved my life by giving me one. -augidog-
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Re: Across America on a Motor Bicycle ~ George A. Wyman

alttransbikes
This post was updated on .
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Across America on a Motor Bicycle ~ Pictures

augidog
Administrator
This post was updated on .
here's a FUN link to lots of pictures of the period, and some of them
are the very places Mr. Wyman describes. how cool is this?!

http://cprr.org/Museum/CDL-locator.html

"The sheds wind around the mountain sides, their roofs built aslant that the avalanches of snow and rock hurled from above may glide harmlessly into the chasm below. Stations, section houses, and all else pertaining to the railways are, of course, built in the dripping and gloomy, but friendly, shelter of these sheds, where daylight penetrates only at the short breaks where the railway tracks span a deep gulch or ravine."
Even looking at a map takes on a different feeling, than it did in our pre-MB years. -bamabikeguy-
Get a bicycle, you will not regret it. If you live. -Mark Twain-
The bike saved my life by giving me one. -augidog-
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Re: Across America on a Motor Bicycle ~ Pictures

Rif Addams




"AFOOT and light-hearted, I take to the open road,  
Healthy, free, the world before me,  
The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune—I myself am good fortune;  
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing
Strong and content, I travel the open road... O highway I travel!
O public road! do you say to me, Do not leave me?
Do you say, Venture not? If you leave me, you are lost?
Do you say, I am already prepared—I am well-beaten and undenied—adhere to me?
  O public road! I say back, I am not afraid to leave you—yet I love you;
You express me better than I can express myself;
You shall be more to me than my poem..."
Song of the Open Road
Walt Whitman
 
It seems so long ago, and yet it seems only yesterday that I embarked on this re-enactment...
 In many ways I've lost touch, but it's coming back around to me.
 Thank you Augi, for posting this wonderful piece of American history for all to read and enjoy!!!
Let the solution be the revolution
"I just wanna have some fun, before they throw me in the sanitarium!"
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Re: Across America on a Motor Bicycle ~ Pictures

Robin Bird
Wow i didnt know you did a reenactment of that invincible trip-- you probably could write your own story/ book !
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Rif Addams Centennial Run

augidog
Administrator
Robin Bird wrote
Wow i didnt know you did a reenactment of that invincible trip-- you probably could write your own story/ book !
Rif does have a nice journal of his ride, plus a lot more stuff about Mr Wyman's run...i've been bugging him about gathering it all and getting it posted proper.

now you can help me with that, seein' as how he asked for it by bringing it up  

Rif, i like the Whitman quote a lot.
Even looking at a map takes on a different feeling, than it did in our pre-MB years. -bamabikeguy-
Get a bicycle, you will not regret it. If you live. -Mark Twain-
The bike saved my life by giving me one. -augidog-
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Re: Rif Addams Centennial Run

Rif Addams
Well I copy/pasted from my old website as much of the story that was there, unfortunately when my hard drive crashed, I lost what I had written after that, so we need to re-write all that and tell the rest of the story after Wyoming through to new york...
I've decided that for next year being the 10 year anniversary of my re-enactment, and since there's no way I can re-do that ride, I will finish my story as the anniversary celebration!
 So, working on it and getting 'er done!
Let the solution be the revolution
"I just wanna have some fun, before they throw me in the sanitarium!"
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Re: Rif Addams Centennial Run

MOTpoetryION
 Wow wymans trip is almost imposible to believe.And its a damn shame he is not in the history books like he should be.  And Rif im new here but i have read enough to know a little bit, and ill say it like this .You're real life has made and went thru a george a. wyman trans contenental trip. To mean a real bumpy ride. I hope you are fairing well and sorting things out proper, and come back soon to the forum. There are some questions im eager to ask you of you're re-enactment ride. As for what you are going thru now, i know far to well as i have been thru one of those rides myself . And they can be a difficult one to recover from. But you do recover eventually . So im eager to talk to you and even more eager to read you're re-enactment ride story as well. And i hope you get back soon. And to put it like in your signiture . Come back and have some more of that fun. You take care
Something my mom used to tell me to always do:
Put you mind in motion. Before you put your mouth in gear
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Re: Across America on a Motor Bicycle ~ George A. Wyman

augidog
Administrator
In reply to this post by augidog
I happen to be into a Wyman "revival" phase (I intend to more fully discuss my motivation later) and was pleasantly surprised to see Mr. Wyman's wiki page has developed some really nice detail, so here it is again, as good an excuse as any for a deserving bump.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_A._Wyman
Even looking at a map takes on a different feeling, than it did in our pre-MB years. -bamabikeguy-
Get a bicycle, you will not regret it. If you live. -Mark Twain-
The bike saved my life by giving me one. -augidog-
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Re: Across America on a Motor Bicycle ~ George A. Wyman

Rif Addams
This post was updated on .
much of the personal history data was not available until my friend and I did the genealogical research (painstaking over months) and though many cite the information, my friend never receives credit, and in fact TWO of the major museums treat me like dirt to be scraped from heel when I try to talk to them about it, or Wyman in general...
 Hence my resistance to really get back involved. Nobody cares, or they want to steal my research and writing.
I am fully supportive of any efforts and will gladly hand over my research and archives, and personal story to you if you choose to pursue and push for the wyman documentary, but it's kinda like in the movie Cars, with Doc Hudson for me.
 I don't mean to sound down and bitter, and wholeheartedly agree this needs to be done as a documentary film, but emotionally, right now, it's hard for me. It's a bit painful, combined with other factors and aspects in MAB, as well as Wyman realm, in the grand overall picture.
Perhaps, just perhaps, if you get interest, I can revive that spark.
But in your corner of support and push-
Steph is telling me we can get a go pro and do it ourselves, and there's no reason not to!!!
;-)

Let the solution be the revolution
"I just wanna have some fun, before they throw me in the sanitarium!"
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Re: Across America on a Motor Bicycle ~ George A. Wyman

augidog
Administrator
This post was updated on .
well, brother, I do believe that all of that is in the past. welcome back to your "mission"



"We are pleased to announce Rif Addams has joined the research team of the George A. Wyman Memorial Project.   He will be working with Marti Wyman Schein, Director of Research, on a number of important items to extend the body of historical knowledge of the Wyman story."

http://wymanmemorialproject.blogspot.com/2016/04/rif-addams-motor-assisted-bicyclist.html

(this thread is locked, but comments are welcome in the individual chapters of our George A. Wyman sub-forum. You do not need to be registered to participate here, but please keep it clean.)
Even looking at a map takes on a different feeling, than it did in our pre-MB years. -bamabikeguy-
Get a bicycle, you will not regret it. If you live. -Mark Twain-
The bike saved my life by giving me one. -augidog-