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

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

June 27 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Cleveland to Conneaut, OH)

"It was on the day I left Cleveland, June 27, that my troubles began to come thick and fast. I started from Cleveland at 10 a.m. and had gone only a mile when the lacing holes in my driving belt gave way and I had to stop and relace. For the first five miles the road was fine, and then I came to a stretch where the road was being rebuilt and I had to walk for a mile and a half. After that, I had a plank road for six miles, and then it was sandy for 30 miles, all the way to Geneva. From there to Conneaut, 22 miles, the road was good in places, with occasional stretches of clay and sand, through which it was hard going. It was a dreary day of travel through a pretty farming country, where the ranchers seemed to be as heavywitted as the cattle. The belt broke five times during the afternoon, and the last time I fixed it I laced It with two inches of space between the ends in order to make it reach. 

I passed through town after town, where I wondered what the people did for recreation. There was nothing for them to do after their day's work but to walk around the block and then go to bed. One thing I noticed is that it is a poor country for shoemakers for nearly everyone I saw, men, women and children, were barefooted. It was plain that much of the country I saw was settled by immigrant farmers from Germany and other parts of Europe. I made only 75 miles this day. When I arrived in Conneaut, I got a piece of belting at a bicycle store and spliced my troublesome piece of driving leather. Then I discovered that the screws in the crankcase of the motor were all loose, so I put in some white lead and tightened them. It was so late by this time that I concluded to remain at Conneaut that night."

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, June 26, 2018

June 26 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Perrysburg to Cleveland, OH)

"From Perrysburg I got a 7 o'clock start, but soon discovered that I did not have any more lubricating oil than enough to last for 30 miles. By economizing I managed to reach Tremont(sic Fremont) where I got some oil at a machine shop. It was so thick that I had to heat it before it would run, but it was better than nothing. After leaving Fremont the roads began to grow very poor. There had been several days of rain on them Just before I came along and as they were simply dirty roads for repeated stretches of 10 miles or more the mud was deep and wide.

Near Amherst about 30 miles west of Cleveland I got my first reminder of the one-horse story and a foretaste of what was in store for me. The truss on the front forks of my bicycle broke. When I stopped to remove the remains of it, I found that it had crystallized so that it was like a piece of old rusty iron. It broke in several places like a stick of rotten wood. That was the effect of the terrible pounding the machine had received over the railroad ties.  It occurred to me at the time that the whole machine must have suffered similarly, but it did not show signs of disintegrating at the time, and I concluded it would carry me to New York. After leaving Elyria, 25 miles from Cleveland, I struck a good sidepath that continued for 20 miles. It was only six inches wide in places, but those few inches spelled salvation for me, because the road was so heavy with sand that if I had not had the path to ride I would have had to have walked for long stretches. Just out of Elyria I met an automobile, and it was having a hard time of it. It was all the engine could do to keep it moving. The last five miles into Cleveland I went over the best roads I ever had ridden on anywhere in my life.

It was 7 p.m. when I reached Cleveland. and my first move was to hunt up an automobile station in order to get some oil. At the Oldsmobile branch I found what I wanted, and they gave me enough to last for 300 miles, all I cared to carry, in fact. They took a lively interest in me and my bicycle and examined my motor carefully. Like everyone else, though, they had to be shown the photographs of my start from San Francisco before fully accepting my statement that I had come from California. My distance for this day, to Cleveland, was 121 miles, and I used five quarts of gasoline."

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, June 25, 2018

June 25 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Ligonier, IN to Perrysburg, OH)

"At 8.a.m. On June 25 I left Ligonier and struck out over a sand road, through a rolling and fertile farming country, to Wawaka, where I came to a stone road, and had good riding to Kendallville. East of that place, to Butler, the going was a good second to what I had in Iowa, which was the worst of anywhere that there were roads. Between Butler and Edgerton, after having ridden 48 miles from Ligonier, I crossed the state line into Ohio. The road improved some then, but it was very bad in places all the way to Swanton. at which place I
Leaf Hotel, Perrysburg, OH c.1890
resorted 
to the railroad for more comfort and fewer dismounts. I rode nine miles to Holland along the tracks, but the railroad bed was a poor one and about as rough riding as the road, so I returned to the highway and found a six-mile stretch of good road south to Miami(sic, Maumee). By taking this road I made a shortcut that saved me 15 miles, and did not therefore, see Toledo. 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."

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, June 24, 2018

June 24 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Kensington, IL to Ligonier, IN)

Kensington Depot, c.1900
"In the morning I ordered and paid for some gasoline. What I got was a vile mixture of gasoline and something that was much  like linseed oil. I believe it was that, but I did not discover the imposition until after I had started. and I did not go back. A man who will sell such stuff has no conscience. Only a club will appeal to him, and I had no time to waste in fighting. I simply went on and made the best of it till I could get fresh gasoline elsewhere. The roads were heavy from recent rains when left Kensington at 6:45 a.m., and here in the smooth and "built up" east I had to resort to the trick I learned in the deserts of Nevada and Utah. I took to the railroad track, and rode 20 miles along the ties to the lake. I saved a considerable distance by following the railroad, and as I was seasoned to such riding, the bouncing did not hurt so much as the thought that I was having the same sort of traveling east of Chicago that I had west of Omaha. Well, it as a big country to build up and supply with good roads. Anyone who has made such a trip as I made can appreciate this in a fullness that others cannot. When this country is eventually built up with good roads it will be truly great and wonderful.

I left the railroad at Porter, Indiana, and got onto a road with a good rock bed, which lasted for several miles. The rains, which had so severely damaged the roads, had not hurt the crops much, so far as I could see. It was all a "ranching country," as we say in the West - farming they call it in the East - through which I was passing at this stage, and it looked flourishing. I reached La Porte at noon, and lunched there, having made 55 miles in the forenoon. I had been keeping company with a smell like that of burning paint all the morning. It came from the mixture that I was exploding in the motor. I got fresh gasoline at La Porte, and at least had an honest smell for my money after that. I passed through Goshen at 5 p.m., and reached Ligonier, where I stopped for the night, at 6:30 p.m. The roads began to get better after I left La Porte, and the last 19 miles of this day's run were made in an hour and 10 minutes.

I thought that when I got east of Chicago folks would know what a motor
Calvin Street, Ligonier, IN c.1900
bicycle  is, but it was not so. In every place through which I passed, I left behind a gaping lot of natives, who ran out into the street to stare after me. When I reached Ligonier I rode through the main street, and by mistake went past the hotel where wanted to stop. When I turned and rode back the streets looked as though there was a circus in town. All the shopkeepers were out on the sidewalks to see the motor bicycle, and small boys were as thick as flies in a country restaurant. When I dismounted in front of the hotel the crowd became so big and the curiosity so great that I deemed it best to take the bicycle inside. The boys manifested a desire to pull it apart to see how it was made. There was really more curiosity about my motor bicycle in the eastern towns than in the wilds of the Sierras. The mountaineers are surprised at nothing, and seemed to have caught from the Indians the self-containment that disdains to manifest the slightest curiosity. Although when spoken to about it, the Westerners would frankly admit they never saw such a machine before, yet they turned toward me on my first appearance stolid countenances with which they gazed at the sky and the surrounding landscape. This day, when I reached Ligonier, June 24, I had made 130 miles."


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 23, 2018

June 23 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Chicago to Kensington, IL)

"It was not until the morning of this day, June 23, that I got my new motor crank by express, and it took me nearly all day to fit it and get the engine together again. I lost no time in getting away from the Windy City. I did not want to stop there one hour longer than I was obliged to do. I left there that same evening.

I would "blow in" to New York in a week or so. The worst roads I knew must surely be behind me, and, with better highways, I calculated that I would have no more trouble with my motor bicycle. I reckoned without thought of the cumulative effects of the continuous battering that the machine was receiving. It has proven itself a wonderfully staunch steed, but no vehicle could stand what I imposed upon the 90-pound vehicle, nor should any be expected to do so. Before I got through with my trip I had, as will he seen, a vivid personal experience that put me into thorough sympathy with the Deacon and his one-horse shay.

As I have said, I did not want to remain in Chicago one minute longer than was necessary. and accordingly I left there at 5:30 p.m., on June 23, and made my way to Kensington, 23 miles east."

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, June 20, 2018

June 20-22 - Across America on a Motorcycle

(Layover in Chicago, IL)

G.Wyman
"I was thoroughly disgusted with Chicago from that time on. I eventually went to a hotel where everything was all right, but my dislike of Chicago increased during the five days of my stay there. It rained nearly every day, and the soot from the soft coal smoke nearly strangled me, after my being accustomed to the pure air of the mountains. The things that impressed me most in Chicago were the way that the inhabitants ran about the streets as if they were lost or going to a fire, and the number of drunken men and women in the streets. I never saw so much drunkenness In my life anywhere before. I went to some of the theatres, but my impression of the city was not helped by that. I simply abhorred the place." 


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, June 19, 2018

June 19 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Naperville to Chicago, IL)

G.Wyman
"I was on fine stone roads by this time, and only 25 miles from Chicago. I pedaled Into the Windy City in five and a half hours the next day, June 19. As may be imagined, I was tired after pedaling 25 miles, and not only physically weary, but I was mentally dejected because of the accident to my motor. On the outskirts of the city I sat down on the curb to rest and meditate, and I was aroused by a local rider who, fancying I was in trouble, stopped to offer assistance.

Once I was fairly in Chicago I sought to get a new motor crank, but found there was none to be had, so I telegraphed to San Francisco for one. The motor crank was the last thing that was expected to break. I had parts of every sort excepting that one along with me, and these were unused, while the one thing I could not replace was the one that broke. This showed that one never can tell what to expect in a cross-country journey of this sort.

After telegraphing for the motor crank I knew I would have to lay up in Chicago for a while, so I went out to engage lodgings. I found a nice-looking boarding house, and chose it in preference to a hotel. I engaged board for four days. When I made a light in the room, however, I found I had company - insects in the bed as big as canary birds. At least they looked that big to me. I hastily decamped with my few belongings, and walked the streets for three hours, feeling timid about making another attempt to get accommodations. "


Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Through The Valleys Of The Two Great Rivers To Chicago" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, September 1903, Vol 1 No 4
Omaha, NE to Chicago, IL
June 12 to June 19, 1903

Monday, June 18, 2018

June 18 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Clinton, IA to Naperville, IL)

Lyons-Fulton Bridge, c.1898
"At Clinton I was nearing Chicago, within 150 miles of it, and on the morning of June 18, when I left Clinton, Ia, at 6:30 a.m., I hoped to reach it before noon on the following day. Shortly after leaving Dixon(sic. Clinton)  about two miles, I crossed the "Father of Waters" and was at last east of the Mississippi and into Illinois, where I was told at the start I never would get with my motor bicycle. The roads improved at once after crossing the great river, though I had some difficulty finding the correct one going out of Fulton, Illinois. The country in general also improved. The soil was darker and more fertile looking, and the farms had a thriving look about them that was superior to anything I had seen since leaving Sacramento. I chose the road on the north side of the Rock River, and remained on that side until I crossed the river at Dixon.

Persons of whom I made inquiry at Dixon advised me that the best thing I could do was to take the old Chicago stage road. I did so, and that road will be ever memorable to me, for on it my troubles broke out afresh. I rode from Dixon, which Is 99 miles from Chicago. Southeast about 45 miles to Earlville, and then rode northeast about 25 miles toward Aurora.

A great part of the road was so poor that I wished I had stayed on the railroad, and I learned afterward that I might have ridden on roads much nearer the tracks. Still, other parts of the road were good and I made fair time. I was getting near Aurora when the crank of my motor broke. This was the most serious accident that had happened to me, and it meant trouble. There was no possible way of repairing the damage, so, like the steamer that breaks its engine and hoists sail, I resorted to the pedals, and mighty glad I was that I had fixed the coaster brake at Cedar Rapids, so that I could pedal and did not have to walk. I pedaled about 10 miles before nightfall, and then put up at a little store at a crossroads, where they gave me accommodation for the night."

Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Through The Valleys Of The Two Great Rivers To Chicago" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, September 1903, Vol 1 No 4
Omaha, NE to Chicago, IL
June 12 to June 19, 1903

Sunday, June 17, 2018

June 17 - Across America on a Motor Bicycle

(Clinton, IA)

Wyman did not account for his activities on June 17, 1903.  In the passage below, he states he departed the Stoddart Hotel in Marshalltown at 7 am, Tuesday, on "July 16"(sic - should be June 16), clearly a transcription error that made into the September 1903 issue of The Motorcycle Magazine.  (See page 145, right column, last paragraph)

"With my nerve fortified by a resolve to brazen it out with the section hands on the railroad, and a stock of interesting stories arranged in mind for their benefit, I left Marshalltown at 7 a.m. on July 16, and proceeded to the tracks of the Northwestern."

His last reference for Tuesday, June 16, is arriving in Clinton at 9 pm after riding some 85 miles that day.  (See last paragraph of page 146 to top paragraph of page 147)

"Darkness overtook me before I reached Clinton, and, being afraid of smashing into something. I walked the last few miles into that place, arriving at 9 p.m., after having covered eighty-five miles."

Wyman's next date/time reference is when he departs Clinton at 6:30 am on June 18, heading north to cross the Mississippi over the "Lyons-Fulton Bridge."  There is another transcription error in the reference to "Dixon" instead of Clinton.  Dixon is community east of and after going through Fulton, just across the Mississippi river.  Wyman goes on to mention "Fulton" correctly in the passage below.  (See page 147, first full paragraph)

"At Clinton I was nearing Chicago, within 150 miles of it, and on the morning of June 18, when I left Clinton, Ia, at 6:30 a.m., I hoped to reach it before noon on the following day. Shortly after leaving Dixon(sic. Clinton)  about two miles, I crossed the "Father of Waters" and was at last east of the Mississippi and into Illinois, where I was told at the start I never would get with my motor bicycle. The roads improved at once after crossing the great river, though I had some difficulty finding the correct one going out of Fulton, Illinois."

It is remarkable there are relatively so few transcription errors in the whole of the Wyman narrative.  If you think of the communication flow-process that was necessary to end in the final printed copies of The Motorcycle Magazine articles.

Wyman would have to keep a journal of his daily progress, noting dates, times, locations and a descriptive narrative about activities.  He also had with him a Kodak Vest Pocket camera that he used to take pictures along the way.

At the end of each riding day, after tending to the motorcycle, getting fed and securing lodging, he would compile his notes into a narrative suitable for publication.  Then, depending on the telegraph, telephone and postal services available in the place he stopped for the night, he had to package it up and send it to Goodman Company publishing facilities in San Francisco and/or New York City.  He never mention getting film developed so one can assume it was sent to the publisher for processing.  Also, we imagine the editorial staff at the Goodman Company offices would polish the narratives before sending the copy to the press for typesetting and printing.  So, the opportunity for "copy errors" were ever present.

Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Through The Valleys Of The Two Great Rivers To Chicago" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, September 1903, Vol 1 No 4
Omaha, NE to Chicago, IL
June 12 to June 19, 1903