The Research

Dateline April 25, 1903Wyman may Cross Continent, "George A. Wyman of San Francisco is the first motor bicyclist to disclose across-the-continent symptoms.  If he is able to perfect the necessary arrangements, as is likely, he will undertake the long trip early this summer." The Bicycling World and Motorcycle Review

This casual mention in the, then, premier cycling sport magazine was the first known publication of Wyman's intention to ride a motorcycle across America.  The Bicycling World and Motorcycle Review would follow Wyman's journey as he rode across America.  Wyman, who kept a diary of his saga posted letters and telegrams to the editors of the yet to be published The Motorcycle Magazine who would distribute them to The Bicycling World for printing. Both the Bicycling World and The Motorcycle Magazine were owned by The Goodman Company, rooms 123-125, The Tribune Building at 154 Nassau St., NYC. The Goodman Company was sponsoring the Wyman transcontinental attempt and would subsequently publish his accounts, launching the magazine, in 5 articles starting in Jun 1903. 

Here are the Wyman "Date Line" clippings from The Bicycling World and Motorcycle Review


After his successful crossing there was a brief period of publicity and some public interest.  This soon waned as the news of the first automobile crossing by Dr. Horatio Nelson Jackson and others.  This would capture the imagination and interest of the motoring public in a way that relegated Wyman's accomplishment to the back pages of history.  In December the Wright Brothers successfully flew the first power lighter than air vehicle thereby vanquishing the Wyman story from the public media.  It will be 70 years before his story surfaced again. 

While the original Wyman articles published in "The Motorcycle Magazine" must still exist, none have made it to the internet for public viewing.  The Project is actively seeking copies of the original Wyman articles as published. 

Re-Telling the Story -- August 2014 is the 35th anniversary of Road Rider Magazine August 1979 Special Edition.

Were it not for a hand full of devoted motorcycle enthusiasts the Wyman saga would have been lost forever.  Thanks to Roger Hull, AMA Hall of Fame inductee, and then publisher of Road Rider Magazine, we now have as much of the story as can be found.   In August, 1979,  Road Rider Magazine republished the original narrative that was published only once in Motorcycle Magazine, in five parts, June - October, 1903.  By the 1970's there was virtually only one known copy of the original articles, with pictures, still in existence.  Road Rider got rare access to the original articles and published photos and was allowed to copy them.

Now, the August 1979 Road Rider Magazine is a rare find.  I managed to get a copy in good condition on eBay for $5.50 plus shipping.  Below are transcribed copies of each article as they appeared in the Road Rider Magazine, August 1979 issue.  I took care to transcribe each article to maintain the paragraphs, punctuation and spelling as it appeared in the RR articles.  See: meaning of (sic)

August 1979
Forward -- By the Editors of Road Rider

Across America on a Motor Bicycle - By George A. Wyman, circa 1903

      II -- Over The Great Deserts To The Rocky Mountains - July
     III -- Over The Rockies And The Great Divide To The Prairies - August
     IV -- Through The Valleys Of The Two Great Rivers To Chicago - September
      V -- Along The Shores Of The Great Lakes And Down The Hudson To New York - October

The Merit of Wyman's Performance -- By A. Nichols Jarvis, November 1903

Thoughts Concerning the Wyman Trip -- By the Editors of Road Rider

Road Rider Salutes . . . George A. Wyman

There are no publicly known GAW artifacts to be found outside of those already mentions by the Road Rider Magazine.  Image how interesting if his trip diary would be available.  How about all those pictures GAW snapped with his Kodak Vest Pocket camera?  Some were published with the original Motorcycle Magazine , and included in the Herb Glass collection.  But, GAW probably took many more that didn't make the publication selection.

As Wyman was entering New York City he was met by a reporter and photographer from "The Bicycling World and Motorcycle Review."  The iconic Wyman photograph was shot at this interview.  Wyman enter the greater NYC area around Kingsbridge where the photographer took a picture of Wyman riding his motorcycle.  The interview by the fellow Wyman called "Josh" was conducted near the intersection of Broadway and West 195th street at around 3:30 pm.  Read the interviewFrom 'Frisco' to New York

There are few in any public references to the GAW story prior to the RR publication in 1979.  Here is a rare public reference to the GAW story sent to me by the archivist of the San Joaquin County Historical Society.  It is a clipping from the Oakland Tribune, written April 20, 1958.


One can only imagine if George profited from his efforts.  Although, after reading his first hand account of the trek, I do not think he cared too much about the money.  The Motorcycle Magazine was funding a portion of the trip expenses and may even provided the motorcycle as a promotional sponsor with CMC.  

A "California Motor Company" ad did appear in one of the issues.  Also, George may have "endorsed" other products, as this "Duck Motor Cycle Brake" ad suggests.  George lived the rest his years as a private person.  We don't even know if he continued to ride motorcycles or continued to pursue his passion for two wheeled vehicles.  


Has Wyman's 1902 California Been Resurrected?

The George A. Wyman Memorial Project has been contacted by a private collector who believes to be in possession of 'The' Wyman 1902 California motor-cycle.  This beautifully restored 1902 California was acquired by Dave Scoffone in 2006.




Size Matters:  The 200cc 1902 California