Saturday, December 12, 2015

Marking the Points Along the Way

The Project has reached another milestone with the commissioning of 12 Wyman Memorial Plaques.  Produced by Franklin Bronze Plaques of Pennsylvania, each Wyman Memorial Plaque is inscribed with a unique "Dedicated by..." line chosen by the Plaque Sponsor.  We expect delivery from Franklin by the end of the year.

The efforts to get these and other Wyman Memorial Plaques and Wyman Waypoint Signs mounted at authorized and secure locations is ongoing.  Contact the Project for the details...

If you would like to join the Project by sponsoring a Wyman Memorial Plaque at a location along Wyman's historic route, see the list of available locations here:  Current Sponsor List  Click on the "Friends of George" link above for information about becoming member of the Project.

Listed below are the sponsor chosen location and dedication line for each of the markers being produced by Franklin Bronze Plaques.

Thank you, Plaque Sponsors!

516.3 Vallejo Ferry Terminal - "Dedicated by Tom and Mona Loftus, Iron Butt Association members 106 & 42200"

517.3 Sacramento RON - "Dedicated by Jim Orr, Iron Butt Association member 508"

518.4 Colfax RON - "Dedicated by Tom and Helen Austin, Iron Butt Association members 156 & 4000"

519.1 Emigrants' Gap - "Dedicated by Bill Watt and Susan Murphy, Canada, Iron Butt Association members 310 & 28711"

602.4 Medicine Bow - "Dedicated by John Cheney, Iron Butt Association member 261"

614.1 Ogden RON - "Dedicated by TeamStrange Airheads in memory of its founder, Eddie James, IBA #71"

617.1 Clinton RON - "Dedicated by Big & Little Arlen Brunsvold, father and son, Iron Butt Association members 12504 & 9116"

618.1 Mississippi River Crossing - "Dedicated by Captain Robert Rehkopf, CEC USNR, Iron Butt Association member 11042"

618.3 Dixon - "Dedicated by Little Arlen Brunsvold, Iron Butt Association member 9116"

619.2 Chicago RON - "Dedicated by Todd & Diane LeClair, Iron Butt Association members 467 & 468"

627.2 Conneaut RON "Dedicated by Jon Good and Ande Bergmann, Iron Butt Association members 414 & 470"

703.2 Albany RON - "Dedicated by Tom and Mona Loftus, Iron Butt Association members 106 & 42200"

Refer to The George A. Wyman Memorial Grand Tour, "Points Along the Way" - Rider's Guide for the details of each location listed above.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Outstanding Support Award to the Iron Butt Association

The George A. Wyman Memorial Project was founded to honor America's first long-distance motorcyclist.  With their enthusiastic support, individual members of the long-distance riding community have embraced and validated the goals of the Project.

The gold standard of validation among the long-distance riding community is the Iron Butt Association and its portfolio of Challenge Rides.  March 2015, the IBA established "The George A. Wyman Memorial Challenge" certification event giving members two ways to honor Wyman's historic and epic motorcycle ride.  The IBA is also the "Friends of George" sponsor of the Wyman Memorial plaque and Wyman Waypoint sign mounted in the Hall of Fame exhibit of the American Motorcyclist Association Museum.

During the Saturday night banquet of the IBA Big-As-Texas Party, held in Irving the weekend of October 16-18, the IBA was recognized for its significant contributions in support of the Project.  There were over 100 long-distance motorcycle riders in attendance.  Thank you, IBA!

Presented to Michael J. Kneebone
President, The Iron Butt Association, Inc.
for Outstanding Support of
The George A. Wyman Memorial Project

Mike Kneebone, IBA President and Tim Masterson, GAWMP, President

The 2016 - Wyman Memorial Challenge, "Rendezvous" is the inaugural event of the May 16 - July 6 Wyman memorial period.  It is being held the weekend of May 28-30, in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Check out the details and sign up on Ride Mastertoday!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Wheels Through Time Museum

We welcome "Wheels Through Time - The Museum That Runs" to the growing list of Hosting Organizations and Communities supporting The George A. Wyman Memorial Project.

"Wheels Through Time Museum is home to the world’s premier collection of rare American Vintage Motorcycles. Located 5 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, in beautiful Maggie Valley, NC, this All-American motorcycle museum houses over 300 of America’s rarest and most historic classic motorcycles."

Wyman Waypoint Volunteer, Erin Colombo coordinated with Wheels Through Time owner, Dale Walksler, to add the Wyman Waypoint sign and commemorative narrative to an exhibit in the museum.  Thank you Erin and Dale!

The Wheels Through Time Museum exhibits two circa 1903 "California" motor-cycles manufactured by the California Motorcycle Company.

The George A. Wyman Memorial Grand Tour - "Points Along the Way" Rider's Guide, published by the Project, will be updated to include the Wheels Through Time Museum as a Wyman Waypoint supporting organization.

Bravo and thank you, Wheels Through Time, for "Linking the Past to the Present to Enrich the Future"

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Remaining Over Night in Perrysburg Ohio

George Wyman rode into Perrysburg, OH, in the early evening of Thursday, June 25, 1903.  It was the end of a long day's ride of 126 miles that started in Ligonier, IN.  Since it was after 7 p.m. he sought to store his motorcycle for the night before seeking a meal and lodging.

He took it to the Perrysburg Post Office, believed to be at 203 Lousiana Avenue, in the General Store run by Post Master Fred Yeager.  Today, the local eatery The Rose and Thistle occupies the spot where the circa 1903 Post Office stood.  The building that housed the 1903 Post Office was destroyed in a fire a couple years after Wyman's visit and was replaced by the building that stands there today.

There were two hotels in Perrysburg in 1903.  The Exchange Hotel, located on Front Street, catered to high priced clientele and the Leaf Hotel, a more reasonably priced "Travelers" hotel, which was across the street from the Post Office.  George likely chose to walk across the street to the local cafe and stay at the Leaf Hotel.

Getting the details of this Wyman waypoint took months of communications and several field visits. The efforts to flesh out more of the details began with George's account of his arrival in Perrysburg....

"I arrived at Perrysburg, Ohio, at 7 p.m. with 126 miles to my credit for the day. The price of gasoline continued to decrease as I got East. In the morning of that day at Ligonier I had paid 10 cents for half a gallon; at Butler I got the same quantity for 8 cents, and at Swanton the price was 7 cents. 

The table board did not improve, however. For me, with my vigorous Western appetite. the bounteous supply of plain food served by the little hotels in the Rocky Mountain country was much more satisfactory than anything I got East. The meals out in Nevada and Wyoming were much better than anything I got in Illinois, Indiana or Ohio, at the same price. 

Everywhere I stopped during this part of my trip a crowd gathered about me and my motorcycle, although neither the machine nor my self had any sign on telling our mission. Whenever I told someone in a crowd I had come from San Francisco there was at first open incredulity. The word was passed along, and they winked to one another, while staring impudently at me. At this stage of my journey I had with me, however, a copy of the June issue of The Motorcycle Magazine, with the story of my start from the coast and a picture. This convinced the doubters, and immediately my bicycle became the subject of unbounded curiosity, while I was the target of Gatling-gun fire of questions that it was impossible to answer satisfactorily. The consequence was I became more particular when and where I took the trouble to convince people of my feat. 

About this time I began to feel the effects of my five days' rest in Chicago. That length of time led to my growing tender. and I was more saddle-sore at Perrysburg that night than at anytime before. I felt then as if I would have to finish with a hot water bag on the saddle."
Source:  Along the Shores of the Great Lakes and down the Hudson to New York, "The Motorcycle Magazine", October, 1903

This description was typical of his daily routine.  Ride all day, stop multiple times to make repairs, eat, sleep and repeat.  The details of the Perrysburg overnight stay had to be pieced together from many sources.

George's published account provided the date, time and some of the circumstances of his visit.  But, we had to go to one of his other reports while on the road to narrow down and identify the likely places he visited while in town.

On page 423 of "Bicycle World and Motorcycle Review", at the top of column two is a report George wrote while on the road and sent into the Goodman Company, publisher of both "Bicycle World" and "The Motorcycle Magazine."  In that published account George states:

"The first thing after breakfast I made a line for the post-office of Perrysburg, got the motor cycle out and was off to finish Ohio"

This indicates that when he arrive in Perrysburg the night before he stored his motorcycle at the post office, likely in the area open for citizens to check their mail boxes.  These two published pieces of information would help us pin down actual locations in Perrysburg.  But for that we had to do enlist the aid of local researchers.

We contacted Judith Justus, a local historian, who helped locate information about the hotels in Perrysburg circa 1903. For the location of the circa 1903 Post Office, she directed us to Richard Baronowski, archivist at the Way Library on Louisiana Avenue.  

During a field visit to Perrysburg in September, our Project Manager, Tim Masterson, met with Richard Baronowski at the Way Library.   The goal was to identify the exact location of the circa 1903 Post Office.  Richard pulled a book from the local history shelf that contained information about the Post Masters of Perrysburg during the turn of the century.  Fred Yeager was the Post Master and also local merchant.  His General Store at what is now 203 Louisiana Avenue doubled as the Perrysburg Post Office in 1903.  There were several eateries along Louisiana Avenue at the time so it's anybodies guess where George might have dined that night.

We have reached out to the proprietor of The Rose & Thistle to invite them to join the Project as a hosting location.  We are also working with city officials and the local Historic Perrysburg to introduce the Wyman story to the citizens of Perrysburg.  It is an ongoing process.  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Waypoint Signs - Shipment # 1

We are pleased to announce the shipment of the first batch Wyman Waypoint signs to hosting location listed below.  Each hosting authority is working to get their Waypoint sign up as quickly as possible.  We have asked them to send us the exact location where the sign is mounted along with a photo for posting on our website.

Special Note:  The American Motorcyclist Association - Hall of Fame has taken delivery of a Wyman Waypoint sign and Wyman Memorial plaque.  They are to be mounted within the Hall of Fame exhibit inside the Museum.  Special thanks to Mike Kneebone, President of the Iron Butt Association, who sponsored both a Wyman Memorial Plaque and Sign for the AMA Hall of Fame.  And, Katy Wood, AMA Collections Manager, for enthusiastically embracing the goals of the George A. Wyman Memorial Project.  

518.2 Rocklin, CA
519.1 Emigrant Gap, CA
525.1 Wells RON, NV
528.2 LH Becraft Bicycle Shop, Ogden, UT
529.5 Evanston Depot, WY
530.4 Granger RON, WY
601.4i Creston Siding, WY
602.4 Medicine Bow, WY
602.5 Lovejoy Garage, Laramie, WY
607.3 Julesburg, CO
614.1 Ogden RON, IA
615.1 Boone, IA
615.2 Ames, IA
616.3i Hall Bicycle Shop, IA
617.1 Clinton RON, IA
618.2i North Road, IL
624.4 Ligonier RON, IN
625.4 Edgerton, OH
627.2 Conneaut RON, OH
628.1 Forks Broke, NY
628.2 Angola RON, NY
701.2 Cayuga, RON, NY
702.2 Canastota RON, NY
703.2 Albany RON, NY
2000 AMA Hall of Fame, OH

We are working with the next group of hosting authorities and expect to ship out another batch of Wyman Waypoint signs around the beginning of September.  The next issue of the G.A Wyman Memorial Grand Tour - Rider's Guide will be updated with thumbnail pictures of signs and plaques to designate where they have been placed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Telling His Story

We are pleased to announce that Marti Wyman Schein and Jimmie Schein have joined the Project and will focus on the research of George's history. 

Marti is Director of Research for The George A. Wyman Memorial Project.  Jimmie will work to coordinate placement San Francisco Bay Area memorials.

Mart and Jimmie are proprietors of Schein & Schein, Antique Maps and Prints, of San Francisco.  They bring a level of professional expertise and personal enthusiasm to the historical documentation of the Project that will significantly enrich the Wyman story. 

Marti is the paternal Great Granddaughter of George A. Wyman.  She is working on a biography of her Great Grandfather and  will be sharing the highlights of her research with us in the near future.  With her access to family records and memorabilia she hopes to bring the whole story of George's life to light.

Among her top priorities will be to get the only known copies of "The Motorcycle Magazine" digitized by the Internet Archive organization.  The Project considers the 1903 publications of "The Motorcycle Magazine" to be the most significant Wyman historical artifacts existing today.  Getting them digitized and made available to all will be a spectacular public service and enhance scholarly research of the Wyman saga.

This will take some time, effort and money!  We expect the cost to make these rare publications available to the public to be over $2,500Help us make this happen...donate to our Research fund, today!

George's account of his historic journey was published in "The Bicycling World and Motorcycle Review" and "The Motorcycle Magazine" between April and November, 1903.  The Smithsonian Libraries has digitized, via Internet, and made available the Bicycling World articles but not the five articles written by Wyman and published in "The Motorcycle Magazine" Jun-Oct, 1903.  There were historically significant articles about Wyman’s journey published in follow on issues of “The Motorcycle Magazine”, in subsequent months.  Specifically, the November issue contains an important article written by A. Nichols Jarvis on “The Merit of Wyman’s Performance.  “The Motorcycle Magazine” ceased publication circa 1906.  Both “The Bicycling World and Motorcycle Review” and “The Motorcycle Magazine” were published by The Goodman Company, from the Tribune Building, New York City, NY.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Riding the Grand Tour

May 16 to July 6 is the George A. Wyman Memorial Period.  It is all together fitting that anyone seeking to honor the first person to cross America on a motorcycle would ride from San Francisco to New York City between those dates.  Especially me, Tim Masterson, Project Manager.

Full SpotWalla Maps:   Bubbler GPS Pro and SPOT G3  (TX to CA to NY to TX)

I  will be paying tribute to George by riding the Grand Tour - "Points Along the Way" starting in San Francisco on Memorial Day, May 25th.  I want to be among the first in the Iron Butt Association to gain certification of the George A. Wyman Memorial Challenge - Grand Tour Gold  inaugural event.  By starting on May 25, the Grand Tour also qualifies for the IBA Memorial Day Ride celebration.   What fun!

Trip Blog (newest to oldest)

Epilog:  Not only did I have a great ride doing The George A. Wyman Memorial Grand Tour - Gold, I managed to speak to or leave a Wyman flyer at over 140 stops along the way.  I got many immediate hosting commitments and many invitations to call back to talk more.  This was a very productive and fun hard riding adventure.

Thu Jun 4:  On to Albany and south to the Big Apple.  I stopped at 657 Madison, Albany where Wyman did the repairs to his motorcycle at the Anderson Agency.  Agency was the term in circa 1900 for "Dealership".  Today the building is still a going concern but no longer a vintage motorcycle repair shop.  It's the "Little Moon" gift shop.  The owner was delighted to learn his shop had such a distinguished history.  He would love to host a Memorial Plaque and Waypoint Sign.

Got to NYC mid day and quickly scored the last four stops of the Grand Tour.  Got my finishing dated business receipt to stop the clock and sought out one of New York's Finest to witness my IBA form. 

Wed Jun 3:  On to New York....  The weather has been great.  Bright sunny skies and cool temperatures.  Another day of great riding and good progress.  Got well into New York before stopping for the night.  I'm positioned so that I can arrive in metro New York City by between 12:00 and 1:00 to finish up before the evening rush hour.

Tue Jun2:  Riding to Milwaukee to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum before I start Leg 4 of the Grand Tour.  I want see what the HD Museum has in the way of a Wyman display.   I have called several times to find out but kept getting trapped in a loop of uncertainty.  Leaving Milwaukee, I'll head to Chicago then on to New York City.  Watch for the stops, and check out the pictures.

The ride to the Harley-Davidson Museum took half the day.  I don't think we will continue to have the HD Museum on the Grand Tour.  They expressed no interest in anything Wyman.  Seems reasonable since they are in the business of promoting Harley-Davidson.

Leaving Chicago around noon I managed to get all the way to 627.1 Freemont OH by dark.  Tomorrow I'll finish out Ohio and head to New York.  I'm going to stop in Erie PA to identify a great place for a Wyman Waypoint Sign.  George didn't mention stopping at any place in particular but did mention riding the Pennsylvania Slot.  Erie is smack dab in the middle of the slot. 

Mon Jun 1:  On to Chicago and hopefully beyond.  First stop is 614.1 Ogden and the scouting mission for the "Blacksmith Shop".  I have been following the "Lincoln Highway" almost the entire trip.  You know you are following George's route when you can see the railroad tracks and the Lincoln Highway signs. 

Sun May 31:  Have to drop off a Waypoint Sign invitation flier at the Ogallala City Hall before heading east.  First stop will be 608.1 Paxton Depot where George took refuge from a thunderstorm around noon.  I've already established an email thread with the owner of the build and she is very enthusiastic about putting up a Waypoint sign.  Maybe a plaque.  The Depot is being renovated to house a coffee shop and antique store. 

Making good progress.  Met with the Mayor of 610.2 Chapman to discuss a Wyman Waypoint Sign  and maybe a plaque.  He was very excited to learn of George's adventure though his town.  Hopefully, we can learn more of George's lunch stop in Chapman.  The Mayor expressed interest in obtaining several Waypoint Signs for his community.

Sat May 30:  Back on the Grand Tour bright and early.  I'm managed to get through all of Wyoming, Colorado and well into Nebraska.  Paid several visits to potential Host organizations.  Got a real good reception at the Cheyenne UPRR Depot Museum.  George checked his motorcycle at the Express Office before searching for a hotel room.  Another near sure Host is at the Lovejoy Garage building in Laramie.  I'm getting pretty good at this traveling salesman pitch at the points along the Grand Tour.

Fri May 29:  Ogden to Omaha.  I'm only going as far as Evanston today.  I am participating in the public unveiling of a Wyman Memorial Plaque on the exterior of the newly restored Evanston Depot.  Can't say how much of a crowd will be on hand for the ceremony but it's still an honor representing the Project at this most excellent of Wyman points along the way. 

The dedication ceremony of the Wyman Memorial Plaque at the Evanston Depot happens at 5:00 PM.  Video to follow!

Departed after the Evanston Depot Plaque ceremony to get in some of the points along the way east.  Manage to get as far as Rock Springs where I spent the night. 

Wed May 27:  Into Utah and round the top of the Great Salt Lake to Ogden.  Today was very productive.  Spent a couple of hours in Wells with the City Manager and President of the Chamber of Commerce.  Wells is very enthused about the Project and ready to mount a Wyman Waypoint Sign and Plaque.  In this case it will be at the Well Visitor Center just a block form famous Front Street. 

It was amazing riding around the top of the Great Salt Lake.  Even today, on a modern motorcycle riding over modern roads the sense of isolation is very evident.  I can't imagine what George was thinking as he rode his 1903 "California" in this remote part of the country.  I rode the dirt road from the highway to the 526.2 Tacoma Station.  All that is left are some building foundations and a sign post.  But, nonetheless, it was inspiring to cross over the terrain as George. 

Even though George did not mention stopping at the Golden Spike site Promontory Point he still followed along the Transcontinental Railroad much of the way from 526.3 Terrace RON to 527.1 Zenda RON.  So, I stopped at the National Park Center visitor center gave the Park Rangers and the supervisor my Wyman pitch.   They had never heard of Wyman or his epic journey...surprise!  They agreed to see about mounting a Waypoint Sign in the visitor center and even some Wyman brochures to be placed in the "Rack Card Flyer" display. 

In Ogden I paid a visit to the Barrel House 1cc establishment at the site of 528.2 LH Becraft Bicycle Shop.  The spot where the bicycle shop stood is the parking lot of the Barrel House 1cc pub.  The manager of the pub is on board with putting up a Plaque and Waypoint Sign.  Leaving there I did the last stop of Leg 2 at the newly discovered location of where George spent the night with S.C. Higgins.  It's now a city park with no trace of a house.  I'm taking Thursday off the Grand Tour trail and staying in Salt Lake City area before starting Leg 3 on Friday morning.

Tue May 26:  Start of Leg 2 and on to Ogden.  I plan on being in Ogden by late Wednesday or early Thursday.  So, I will be taking advantage of to time to see the sights and visit interested host locations for the Project plaques and signs.  Watch for the picture imbedded in the SPOT markers on the map above.  Click on the camera icon and the picture for that location is at the bottom of the data list.

Another productive day of riding the Grand Tour.  I got good follow up contacts at several potential hosting locations.  I even got tacit approval to mount a Wyman Waypoint sign at Palisade, after talking with a local there.  I'll have to check into that one.  Also, as I am riding the Grand Tour I am validating the GPS waypoint locations.  Most of them are dead on but I'm going to move the 522.3 Brown's  location slightly east.   It will still be in the vicinity of the original two structure siding location, just a little more convenient for a rider. 

I stopped at 525.1 Wells RON to Remain Over Night, as did George.  I want to visit City Hall first thing in the morning to give them a good Wyman Waypoint Sign pitch.

Memorial Day, May25:  I'm off on the Grand Tour.  Beginning at 516.1 Lotta's Fountain after I get a starting Dated Business Receipt, DBR. Watch for the pictures imbedded in the map above.

Leg 1 complete!  20 Wyman points along a 275 mile  route. Not many miles but they interesting navigational challenges.  I visited several historical society or local tourist information centers and got some great leads for follow up.  It was a great ride today and I found myself going into rally mode hitting one location after another.  At the 518.1 American Bridge spot I had to walk a half mile to get the picture and a half mile back.   The rest of the seemed to go smoother after I got out of the big cities of San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento. 

Yesterday I met with the owners of Schien & Schein, Antique Map & Prints, of San Francisco.  Jimmie and Marti Wyman Schien are both motorcycle riders and passionate about historic photos, maps and documents.  Marti is the Great Granddaughter of George A. Wyman and is very enthusiastic about the Wyman Project.  Since I was there I got Marti, Jimmie and Cloe to sign off on my IBA witness form. 

The Plan

I'm making and documenting stops at over 140 Wyman Waypoints along the 1903 route.  I want to pay a call on as many community historical societies, local tourist information centers and anyone else who might help the Project get authorized and secure mounting of Wyman Memorial Plaques and Wyman Waypoint Signs.  I'm going to be pretty busy for the next 10-14 days.

On Friday, May 29, I will be in Evanston, WY, representing the Project at the public unveiling of a Wyman Memorial Plaque being mounted on the side of the historic and completely restored Evanston UPRR Depot.  George stayed at the "Iron Butt Motel" there in the wee hours of May 30th.  He couldn't find a room, or even a cozy chair, anywhere in town that night owing to the crowds visiting to see President Theodor Roosevelt and his party who rode through town on horse back. 

Everyone is cordially invited to attend the ceremonies.  If you can't ride to Evanston to join in the fun, follow along via the map above as I will be posting picture at most all the points along the way.  Click on the camera icon, on the map, to view the picture where available.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Art of the Sign

Our objective to mark the Wyman waypoints from San Francisco to New York City just took a giant leap forward.  Like the signs of the "Lincoln Highway Association" and "Historic US Route 66" organizations have done for the motoring public, the Wyman Memorial Project seeks to mark all the points along way of the Grand Tour.

At a glance, the sign should tell the whole story: who, what, when and where to find more information.  The iconic "Wyman Pose" is the perfect image for the sign.  His adventurous stance next to his motorcycle, facing east, captures the spirit of his epic saga.

The best example of the Wyman Pose is its first appearance on page 465 of the "Bicycle World and Motorcycle Review" published in July, 1903.  Try as we might, we just couldn't get the image to reproduce on the 12" x 18" reflective sign in the quality we wanted. 

Proof 2
Proof 1
As you can see by the first proof from the sign maker, it was grainy and almost impossible to tell it was a guy with a motorcycle.  The sign company art department  enhanced the image.  There was a slight improvement, but not much.  We had the proofs made into actual full size signs, but we were still not satisfied with the finished product.

So, we turned to the professionals.  We contacted Bill Shaw, Editor-In-Chief of "Iron Butt Magazine", and explained our problem.  After mulling it over some, Bill suggested we contact Steve Hobart, Director of Photography, at the magazine an expert in graphic images.  Steve immediately identified the problem and suggested the solution -- pay a professional artist to draw the image in black and white.  Steve suggested an artist he knew that might help.

We commissioned artist and graphic designer, Adam Stephens of Tehachapi, CA, to do an inking of the Wyman Pose suitable for graphic reproduction in a variety of formats.  Adam, a stay-at-home dad and motorcycle enthusiast, accepted the commission.  Our instructions to him were simple.  Make George and his motorcycle the focus of the image. 

Adam delivered a value far beyond our expectations.  Not only did he produce the inking art we asked for, he took the extra step of creating the Wyman Waypoint sign you see above.  He is even throwing in a cartoon drawing of George.  Adam granted the Wyman Memorial Project full ownership of the images recognizing our nonprofit status and worthy goals for the Project.  We asked Adam to sign his work, as we will be proud to display his art at the many "Points Along the Way"

With these excellent images of George, in every possible graphics format, the Wyman Memorial Project can spread the Wyman story..."Linking the Past to the Present to Enrich the Future."   Help us by joining the "Friend of George"

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Bravo, Mr. Higgins

The George A. Wyman Memorial Project has identified another Wyman Waypoint for the Memorial Grand Tour - Rider's Guide, pictured below.  It has taken the Project almost a year of searching for the details about S.C. Higgins of Ogden, UT.  Thanks to Greg Rice for the tip and especially to Eileen H. Stone of The Salt Lake Tribune for doing the investigative work on scene in Utah. 

This is a great example of how the long-distance riding and motorcycle touring community along with the interested public can help keep the Wyman story alive.  Whether through your tax-deductible donations, joining Friends of George, or just "Sharing" us on social media, together we can work towards "Linking the Past to the Present to Enrich the Future."

528.3 - S.C. Higgins RON
Date:  Thursday, May 28, 1903
Coordinates:  N41.21475°W111.97344°
Address:  2783 Grand Ave, Ogden, UT

Description:  While working on his motorcycle at the shop of L.H. Becraft, Wyman met up with Samuel C. Higgins, a machinist with the Southern Pacific RR.  Higgins, according to Wyman, owned and rode the only motorcycle in Ogden, a 1902 Indian designed by George M. Hendee.  After completing repairs to his motorcycle Wyman accepted an invitation to spend the night at the Higgins home on Grant Avenue, just a few blocks south of the Becraft bicycle shop.  This example of help and hospitality for a fellow enthusiast is today a time-honored tradition in the long-distance riding and motorcycle touring community.  Bravo, Mr. Higgins!

Special thanks to Eileen H. Stone, of The Salt Lake Tribune.  She discovered the details regarding the location of Samuel C. Higgins employment and residence.  After an article, she authored appeared in The Salt Lake Tribune, Livinghistory: An incredible journey via motorized bike across 1903 America the Wyman Memorial Project contacted her.  Intrigued by the goals of the Project, Eileen volunteered to use her investigative reporter skills on the task of finding information about S.C. Higgins.  Below are the fruits of her search:

  • From the 1902 City directory, Samuel C. Higgins was listed: Mach, Southern Pacific Co., 249 30th Street, Ogden, Utah.
  • From the librarian in Special Collections, Weber State University: Higgins lived at 2783 Grant Avenue in Ogden He was an employee of Southern Pacific. 

Wyman's account of his journey from Terrace to Ogden, UT
"It rained the night I stopped in Terrace, and, starting the next morning at 5:10 o'clock, I had to walk for several miles along the tracks; then I struck the desert, and found that the rain had left the sand hard enough to make good riding. It was an uneventful day, and I made 104 miles, the road winding along the northern shore of the Great Salt Lake, of which I caught frequent glimpses. I stopped 19 miles west of Ogden because it began to rain. I put up at a section house, that of the foreman of the gang, and he gave me a bed for the night. The railroad furnishes these section houses for the men, and I found them more comfy than I expected. There were no carpets, but the bed had a springy wire bottom, a good mattress and fine sheets. The hands do not fare like the foreman, though: they huddle together a dozen in a house in the other two buildings that constitute the "place." The place where I stopped is down on the time table as Zenda, but I was no prisoner there, and there was no romance to the situation. l am glad the foreman took me in, for a section gang is a motley lot, a regular cocktail of nationalities, and full of fighting qualities. At some of the places I passed I saw Chinamen at work on the railroads, and this was a new thing to me accustomed, as I am, to the pigtails of the Pacific coast. It is not often that John engages himself in such arduous and un-remunerative labor. The next morning the ground was so wet that I walked half the way to Ogden.

According to the railroad survey, Ogden, Utah, is 833 miles from San Francisco. I rode on the railroad track fully half the way. What distance I actually covered getting there I cannot say with preciseness owing to having lost my cyclometers, but while there I took a map, and, summing up my detours, I figured it out that I had ridden very nearly 100 miles more than the distance by rail, or about 925 miles.  At Ogden I found a pair of new tires and a gallon of lubricating oil waiting for me at the express office. They came from San Francisco, and the charges on the tires were $2.75 and on the oil $1.50. I put on one new tire and expressed the other, with the oil, to myself at Omaha. I got to Ogden at 11a.m., May 28, and spent the day there. I got a new pair of handlebars and put some new spokes in my wheels. While there I met up with S.C. Higgins, who has the other motorcycle in that city of 15,000 inhabitants. I met him at the store of L.H. Becraft - the pioneer cyclist of Ogden and the proprietor of a large bicycle store there. I spent the evening with Mr. Higgins and slept at his house, in response to a pressing invitation.At Ogden, Utah, where I arrived after traveling 925 miles, I had 10 new spokes to put in to replace those that were snapped by pounding over railroad ties. As I had ridden 400 miles with a stick for a bar, I got also a new handlebar and I put on a new belt rim and one new tire, shipping my extra tire and oil and other stuff on to Omaha. This was on May 28, and I left Ogden on the 29th at 6:10 a.m.  S.C. Higgins, who had been my host overnight, rode out of the city with me on his motor bicycle for three or four miles in order that I might not take the wrong road. He is a genuine enthusiast, although well past 40 years of age, I should judge, and he took the liveliest sort of interest in my trip and the success of my undertaking. Mr. Higgins is a machinist, and several years ago he made a motor bicycle for himself. Now he rides an Indian."

The Motorcycle Magazine, July 1903, Volume 1, Number 2 (Digitized PDF)
II - Over The Great Deserts To The Rocky Mountains
Reno, NV to Ogden, UT  May 21 - May 28, 1903

Monday, March 16, 2015

Iron Butt Association Certification!

We are pleased to announce the Iron Butt Association, "Worlds Toughest Motorcycle Riders", in collaboration with The George A. Wyman Memorial Project, has developed two IBA Challenge Rides to pay tribute to the world's first long-distance motorcyclist, George A. Wyman.  These events are available for certification to IBA members under the strict rules and protocols established by the IBA.  The Iron Butt Association is recognized among the motorcycle community as the world sanctioning body long-distance rides.  The Project is pleased and honored to include the IBA among the "Friends of George"

The two Iron Butt Association challenge rides commemorate George A. Wyman's historic transcontinental journey across America in 1903.  The rides listed below are available for certification only during the Wyman Memorial period of May 16th through July 6th. 
  • The George A. Wyman Memorial 50cc Gold - San Francisco, CA to New York City, NY, in less than 50 hours.  Xtreme! 
  • The George A. Wyman Memorial Grand Tour - San Francisco, CA to New York City, NY, stopping at many of the 160 "Points Along the Way", during a single Wyman Memorial period (May16 - July 6).  The Grand Tour has 4 levels of certification:  Gold, Silver, Bronze and Finisher.
The certification protocols, rules and forms for the required documentation are available NOW!

 IBA Event Calendar is the porthole to The George A. Wyman Memorial Challenge IBA certification protocols.

Special Thanks!  The George A Wyman Memorial Project is very grateful to Michael Kneebone, President of the Iron Butt Association, for recognizing the significance of Wyman's 1903 accomplishment has to the riding community and to the sport of safe long-distance motorcycling.  And, we wish to thank all members of the IBA who will attempt certification, honoring the "World's Toughest Motorcycle Rider", circa 1903. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Grand Tour -- Available Online!

The adventure of the first person to use a motorized vehicle to ride across America is one of inspiration, determination and historical significance.  It is important to remember that in 1903, life moved at the pace of the horse and buggy.  The only exception was the Railroad, which by that time had transformed America in ways we continue to benefit from today.  Motorized personal transportation was in it's exciting infancy.  Automobiles were capturing the imagination and fostering change in the way 1900s America viewed personal transportation.  The motor bicycle was seen as a novelty, a toy of young men who wanted to experience the freedom of cruising around the neighborhood and town.

George A. Wyman had a passion for the long ride.  He saw the "motor-cycle" as a means to extend his riding horizons.  Being a competitive bicycle racer and adventurous soul, he would push this new technology beyond its novelty status.  The saga that is his journey lays the foundation for the modern day sport and defines the spirit of the long-distance motorcycle rider. 

The George A. Wyman Memorial Grand Tour - "Points Along the Way" captures the adventure by providing a chronological listing of the 160 waypoints along Wyman's original 1903 route.  The Grand Tour: Rider's Guide, with the companion GPS waypoint file, enables modern motorcycle riders to experience the excitement of following in his tracks and visiting the Wyman points along the way.  The Rider's Guide is available in PDF form, suitable for viewing on laptops, tablets and smartphone devices. 

The self-paced Grand Tour is designed to be ridden by motorcycle enthusiasts during the George A. Wyman Memorial period of May 16 thought July 6.  And, in the true spirit of the Wyman adventure, it is best experienced following the original route starting at Lotta's Fountain, San Francisco and ending at 1904 Broadway, New York City.  The Grand Tour is available for Iron Butt Association Certification
The George A. Wyman Memorial Grand Tour, Points Along the Way, Rider's Guide PDF.  An overview of each leg of the journey is below.
Grand Tour GPS Exchange Format GPX File

Listed below are the miles and riding times for routes to each of the Wyman waypoints accessible by paved roads.  The routes follow the paved roads and highways available today that closely match Wyman’s 1903 route.  You may choose any route between waypoints.  Navigating point to point using the “Fastest” GPS route setting may reduce the distances and moving time.  But, you will miss out on a lot of great riding between the points along the way.
Table of Distances and Times by State
New York
  (Source: Garmin BaseCamp, map set 2015.2)