Saturday, July 7, 2018

Epilogue - Across America on a Motor Bicycle


New York Motor Cycle Club
"While I slept at the Herald Square Hotel, my ride really ended at the New York Motor Cycle Club's rooms, No. 1904 Broadway. It was there I left the faithful little machine that had carried me some 3,800 miles. What was the exact distance  I never will be able to tell, because, as previously related, after breaking four cyclometers, I ceased to bother with the mileage.

Compared with the first cycling journey across the continent, that of Thomas Stevens in 1882, the first effort of the motor bicycle does not suffer. Mr. Stevens required 103 1/2 days to ride from San Francisco to Boston; my journey was completed in 50 days. While the idea of establishing a record was no part of my purpose, it is worthy of remark that none of the three powerful automobiles that have since crossed the continent have come near to equaling my time. With the experience gained and with a more powerful machine - the one I used was of but 1¼ horsepower - I feel confident that the journey from ocean to ocean can be made in 30 days without particularly strenuous effort. With a railway attachment, such as is in common use by bicyclists in the West, and which would permit the use of rails across the deserts of Nevada, it will be possible to more than realize the 30 days' estimate.


Wyman "Pose"
While it is true that my forks broke and the motor crank axle also gave way, these are unusual accidents; nearly all of my other troubles were minor ones, the belt being a most prolific source. But, as a whole, the motor behaved splendidly and performed its work well under many trying conditions. Its failure at Albany was really the only occasion when it gave me serious concern. Subsequent examination proved that the inlet valve had in some way become jammed so as to be immovable, at least with the means at my command. Between fear of breaking something and anxiety to reach New York, I possibly did not take the chances at making a strenuous repair that under other circumstances I would have taken. Save the forks, the bicycle also stood up well. The wonder is that it stood up at all, so terrific and so frequent was the pounding it received in the many miles of cross-tie travel. The saddle, too, deserves praise. Despite its many drenchings and mud and the heat of the desert and the banging of the railroad ties, it did not stretch or sag the fractional part of an inch, and reached New York in as good condition as when it left San Francisco."


Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Along The Shores Of The Great Lakes And Down The Hudson To New York" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, October 1903, Vol 1 No 5
Chicago, IL to New York City
June 20 to July 6, 1903

Friday, July 6, 2018

July 6 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(New York City)

"After riding two days and a night under leg power or rather over it, I reached
"Josh" interview
Broadway & W. 195th Street
New York in the middle of the afternoon on July 6. I made frequent stops to rest and I attracted more than a little attention but I was too tired to care. I can smile now as I recall the sight I was with my overalls on, my face and hands black as a mulatto's, my coat torn and dirty, a big piece of wood tied on with rope where my handlebars should be, and the belt hanging loose from the crankshaft. I was told that I was "picturesque" by a country reporter named "Josh," who captured me for an interview a little way up the Hudson, and who kept me talking while the photographer worked his camera, but to my ideal, I was too dirty to be picturesque. At any rate, I was too tired then to care. All I wanted was a hot bath and a bed. 



But before I got these I had to telephone to The Motorcycle Magazine to learn where to go and wait to have more cameras pointed at me before being escorted to my hostelry. Of all the sleep I had during my trip, none was more profound, or sweeter than the one I had that night of July 6 at the Herald Square Hotel, just 50 days after I left San Francisco for my ride across the continent on my motor bicycle."

Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Along The Shores Of The Great Lakes And Down The Hudson To New York" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, October 1903, Vol 1 No 5
Chicago, IL to New York City
June 20 to July 6, 1903

Thursday, July 5, 2018

July 5 - Across America on a Motorcycle Bicycle

(Albany to New York City, NY)

NYC Arrival
5700 Broadway
"As I could not make the motor work, I concluded on the morning of July 5 to make myself work. I started to pedal in to New York. That last 150 miles down the Hudson from Albany is a part of my trip of which I will always have a vivid recollection. I had seen some hills before, but the motor climbed them for me. In the hills along the Hudson, I had to climb and push the motor along. They seemed steeper than the Rocky Mountains. This I will say, though - from the time  I left the Pacific coast I saw no grander scenery than that along the Hudson River. While other sights were not up to expectation, the scenery of the Hudson was far beyond it.  So enthusiastic was I that I pedaled along all night on July 5. It was a long, dreary and strenuous ride, but I was well seasoned by this time and fit to do a mule's work."

Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Along The Shores Of The Great Lakes And Down The Hudson To New York" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, October 1903, Vol 1 No 5
Chicago, IL to New York City
June 20 to July 6, 1903

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

July 4 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Delayed in Albany, NY)

"On the Fourth of July my first move in the morning was to a bicycle store, where  I got a new tire and put in 14 new spokes, and then took the motor apart. The piston rings were worn pretty thin but looked as if they would still give service, so at 2:30 p.m. I started from Albany. Four miles out, I gave it up. The motor would not explode as it should. I went back to the bicycle store in Albany and worked on the problem there until night. Then I went to see the fireworks and forget about it."

Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Along The Shores Of The Great Lakes And Down The Hudson To New York" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, October 1903, Vol 1 No 5
Chicago, IL to New York City
June 20 to July 6, 1903

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

July 3 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Canastota to Albany, NY)

G.Wyman
"At 7 a.m. on July 3, I started from Canastota; determined to get to Albany, at least, that day. I had trouble from the start. I relaced the belt seven times during the forenoon, and then I spliced it with a new piece at Little Falls. I was still 40 miles from Albany when my handlebars broke off on one side. I had been there a couple of times before during the trip, and it did not take me long to lash a stick across the steering stem. Soon after, the piston began to squeak, and I discovered that the rings on it were worn out. Oil was of no avail, and I rode on with the squeak for company. Six miles from Albany, while I was on the towpath, the rear tire blew out. There was a hole in it that would admit a hand. I walked into Albany. Some of the remarks I made to myself as I walked were not fit for quoting to a Sunday school class. My distance that day was 135 miles. This was to be my last day of big mileage though.

All the way through New York state I used the cycle path without a license. It was not until after my trip ended that I knew I had been violating the law."


Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Along The Shores Of The Great Lakes And Down The Hudson To New York" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, October 1903, Vol 1 No 5
Chicago, IL to New York City
June 20 to July 6, 1903

Monday, July 2, 2018

July 2 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Cayuga to Canastota, NY)

Mansfield Hotel, Cayuga, c.1900
"I left Cayuga at 8 a.m. and took my troubles with me, The batteries were growing  weak; first the cyclets(sic) of the belt broke and then the lacing; next the crank axle got out of true, and every time it struck, the belt broke. I had these troubles all day. Toward night the belt broke five times in one mile. I got some new batteries at Syracuse, but after going two miles on them they would not yield a spark, so I went back and returned them, and after a search I managed to get some good batteries. The fates seemed in a conspiracy to prevent my getting to New York before July 4. The motor was getting in such shape that I realized I would be lucky if I could finish with it at all. To add to my troubles these two days from Rochester, July 1 and 2, were terribly hot and I was nearly prostrated by the heat. I managed to make 65 miles and get to Canastota by 9:30 p.m. on the  second, and as that was the day I had hoped to be in the metropolis, I did not go to bed in any cheerful humor."

Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Along The Shores Of The Great Lakes And Down The Hudson To New York" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, October 1903, Vol 1 No 5
Chicago, IL to New York City
June 20 to July 6, 1903

Sunday, July 1, 2018

July 1 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Rochester to Cayuga, NY)

G.Wyman
"It took until 11:30 o'clock the next day, July 1, to get the motor working, and then I started from Rochester with C.O. Green, superintendent of the Regas Company, and W.L. Stoneburn, the bookkeeper, riding with me as an escort. They accompanied me 20 miles to Fairport. over roads so muddy as to be nearly impassible. Not far from Fairport, when I was alone again the hoodoo asserted itself. First the connecting rod worked loose, and soon after the belt ends gave way. I lost as little time as possible, however, and at night I reached Cayuga, with the satisfaction of having covered 70 miles during the short day."

Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Along The Shores Of The Great Lakes And Down The Hudson To New York" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, October 1903, Vol 1 No 5
Chicago, IL to New York City
June 20 to July 6, 1903

Saturday, June 30, 2018

June 30 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Buffalo to Rochester, NY)

"I left Buffalo at 5:20 a.m., determined, if possible, to get to New York by July 2. and join in the endurance run to Worcester that started on the third. After I had gone 10 miles the lacing holes in the belt broke away again. I then put on the old original belt with which I had started from San Francisco and which I had removed at Chicago. but still carried with me. Everything went finely for the next few miles, and then the connecting rod of the motor broke. Everything seemed to me to be going to pieces. There was nothing for it then but to pedal, and I churned away for five miles into Batavia. It was only 9 a.m. when I got there, and it took until 3:30 p.m. to get the repairs made so that I could start again. 



It went all right until I was 12 miles from Rochester, and then the valves got to working so poorly that I could not make more than five miles an hour with it. I managed to reach a cycle store in Rochester, and there I went to work, intending to get it fixed and ride half the night to make up for lost time. It was of no use. I worked until 11 p.m., and then gave it up until morning. I realized then that the motor and bicycle were suffering from crystallization. There were no flaws or defects of any sort in the parts that were breaking. They were just giving out all at once, like the Deacon's famous shay that lasted him so well and so long and was not weaker in any one part than in another. In spite of all my troubles, I had made 80 miles that day, and I still had hopes of being in New York in time for the fireworks."

Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Along The Shores Of The Great Lakes And Down The Hudson To New York" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, October 1903, Vol 1 No 5
Chicago, IL to New York City
June 20 to July 6, 1903

Friday, June 29, 2018

June 29 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Angola to Buffalo, NY)

"I spent two hours in a repair shop in Angola the next morning, June 29, and at the end of that time the repairer pronounced the forks mended sufficiently to carry me through to New York. I did not feel as confident about this as the repairman did. I got to Buffalo by 11 o'clock, and after a visit to the post office,
E.R.Thomas Factory
I rode out to the E. R. Thomas automobile and motor bicycle factory. There I met Mr. F. R. Thomas for the first time, and I must pay a tribute to his generous hospitality, which I shall always remember. His kindness was all the more magnanimous when it is remembered that I was riding the product of a rival maker. The first thing Mr. Thomas did was to send my bicycle inside and have it seen to that it was supplied with oil and gasoline. Then he learned that my forks were in bad shape, and he ordered men to get to work and make a new pair for it and finish them at night. The men worked in the factory until 9 o'clock that night on my forks, and had them ready for me to make an early start in the morning. For all this Mr. Thomas. would not accept payment. In the meantime he showed me through his factory, and then lent me an Auto-Bi, on which I took a trip about the city."


Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Along The Shores Of The Great Lakes And Down The Hudson To New York" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, October 1903, Vol 1 No 5
Chicago, IL to New York City
June 20 to July 6, 1903

Thursday, June 28, 2018

June 28 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Conneaut, OH to Angola, NY)

"My hoodoo was with me all the next day. I left Conneaut at 7:30 a.m., and before  I had gone quite 10 miles the oil began to leak out of the crankcase, although I had done my best to make it tight and seal it with white lead the night before. The belt again gave out and I had my own profane troubles with these two defects all day. First it was the oil, and then the belt, and I became so disgusted before noon that I felt like shooting the whole machine full of holes and deserting it. This was my first visit to Pennsylvania - for I been riding in the little 50-mile strip of the Keystone Stare that borders on Lake Erie ever since leaving Conneaut - and I can say that all my Pennsylvania experiences were hard ones. The roads were fairly good and for most of the way I rode on footpaths at the side of the road. The view from the road with the luxuriant verdure clad bluffs on one side and the horizon bounded expanse of the great lake on the other side was as magnificent as I had seen. It reminded me of the good old Pacific.

By afternoon I had crossed the Pennsylvania strip and at last was in New York state. It seemed as if I was nearing home then, but it is a big state, and I came to realize the truth of the song that "its a blanked long walk to the gay Rialto in New York." I didn't have to walk, but walking would have been easier than the way I traveled from the western boundary of the Empire State to the metropolis. It was on the afternoon of June 28 that I entered the state, and it was eight days later before I got to the confines of the great city.


USGS, c.1899
I had hoped to reach Buffalo on the day I left Conneaut but was still 25 miles from the Queen City when my troubles climaxed by the breaking of a fork side. The crystallization resulting from the continuous pounding was telling again. I walked two miles to Angola, and there sought a telegraph office, and wired Chicago for a pair of new forks. I learned that I would not be able to get a pair there for two days, because they would have to go first to Buffalo and then be reshipped to Angola. I therefore determined to get the forks repaired there if possible, and make them do till I got to Buffalo. It is a fortunate thing that I was not riding fast or going downhill when the fork side broke. I was told that automobiles and motor bicycles frequently traveled the road that I took from Chicago to New York, but the behavior of the natives belied it. People all came running out of the houses when I passed, and they stared as if they never had seen a motor bicycle before."

Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Along The Shores Of The Great Lakes And Down The Hudson To New York" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, October 1903, Vol 1 No 5
Chicago, IL to New York City
June 20 to July 6, 1903