Friday, January 30, 2015

"The Motorcycle Magazine" Found ! !

George A. Wyman is credited with the first transcontinental crossing of America using a motorized vehicle.  He began his historic journey on May 16, in San Francisco, CA and arrived in New York City on July 6, 1903.   See American Motorcyclist Association  Motorcycle Hall of Fame
The 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.

The George A. Wyman Memorial Project has located the complete volume 1 (1903/1904) and volume 2, number 1 (1904/1905)  collection of the  "The Motorcycle Magazine" at Yale University Library:  Call Number: UTL1 M67
These publications are rare and to date only one other set of the original Wyman articles published in “The Motorcycle Magazine” has been found.  Those were in the private collection of Herb Glass who, in 1979, allowed the publishers of “Road Rider Magazine” to transcribe and republish the entire series of articles.  Today, even that August 1979 issue of “Road Rider Magazine” is a rare find.  It has not been digitized to our knowledge.  The Wyman Memorial Project has secured a copy of the August, 1979 “Road Rider Magazine.” 
After the original publication of Wyman’s journey in 1903 the world literally forgot this historical event, for over 70 years.   If it were not for the efforts of Roger Hull, publisher of “Road Rider Magazine,” the Wyman story could well have been lost forever.  See a transcription of the FORWARD that accompanied the August 1979 issue of “Road Rider Magazine” to see just how fragile the historical memory of the Wyman journey was, even among the motorcycle print media. 

The Wyman Memorial Project has contacted the Yale University Library and the Microsoft mass digitization project to get the entire Yale collection of “The Motorcycle Magazine” digitized and published using Internet Reader facility similar to the one used by Internet Archive and Open Library Reader.   If not the entire collection, volume 1 & 2, then the June, July, August, September, October and November, 1903 issues that contain all the articles relating to George A. Wyman.
The Wyman Memorial Project is dedicated to keeping the Wyman story alive.  Getting the original publications of the Wyman account available for all via the internet is very important to the over 60,000 members of the Iron Butt Association, "World's Toughest Motorcycle Riders" who consider George A. Wyman the first Long-Distance Motorcycle Rider. 

The George A. Wyman Memorial Project is an educational and historic preservation non-profit organization.   We hope the Yale University Library and Microsoft mass digitization project see the merit of our mission and will help ensure the original accounts of Wyman’s historic saga live on. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

50 Days...More or Less

Broadway & 195th St
George A. Wyman is credited with the first transcontinental crossing of America using a motorized vehicle.  He began his historic journey on May 16, in San Francisco, CA and arrived in New York City on July 6, 1903. 

Members of the press covered both the start from Lotta's Fountain, in San Francisco, and his arrival in New York City along Broadway in the Kingsbridge neighborhood of the Bronx.  You can read the press account of his arrival in New York City in this news account published in The Bicycling World and Motorcycle Review.

If one counts the days between May 16 and July 6 they number 51.  So, why is Wyman credited with a 50 day journey across America?  As noted in the contemporaneous news accounts above, Wyman started in San Francisco at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time on May 16.  He arrived in New York City at 3:20 p.m. Eastern Time on July 6.  It would not have been the 51st day of his journey until 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.  It is, therefore, a true statement it took Wyman more than 50 days but less than 51 days.  History has reconciled this issue and recorded his historic transcontinental journey as taking 50 days.

The debate over the number of days it took Wyman to cross America on his 1903 "California" motorcycle looses its significance when put into the context of the struggles he endured.  In an article written for "The Motorcycle Magazine", November 1903, by A. Nicolas Jervis on "The Merits of Wyman's Performance"  the author dissects the journey.  He points out that Wyman had a total of 38 days riding and over 11 days stopped making repairs or waiting on parts.  Jervis provides an insight into Wyman's determination to ride, peddle and sometimes push that fragile motor bicycle across a vast landscape, in all manner of harsh weather over mostly rough and unforgiving terrain.  Finishing almost three weeks ahead of the first successful cross-country automobile journey, Wyman's accomplishment would be relegated to the back pages of the popular press.  The automobile would be become the focus of the popular excitement.  The "motorcycle" was seen as a novelty at the time.  It would take 70 years, or two generations, before Wyman's historic saga would again capture the imagination of a new breed of enthusiast...the Long-Distance Rider.

One such enthusiast would pay tribute to Wyman's 50 day ride across America.  The 50cc Quest Gold is an Iron Butt Association Challenge event designed to test a riders ability to safely navigate coast to coast in under 50 hours while documenting more than 2,900 miles.  Starting in San Francisco on May 16, the 109th anniversary of Wyman's journey, this long-distance rider safely reached New York City 49:05 hours later arriving on May 18, 2012.  The account of this modern day equivalent of the Wyman motorcycle journey was published in "Iron Butt Magazine", 50CC Quest Gold: Honoring George Wyman, The Hard Way

Friday, January 9, 2015

America's First Iron Butt Rider

George Wyman's Passion for the Long Ride

Appearing in the Winter 2014 edition of "Iron Butt Magazine" is this four page article about George Wyman's ride across America.  It seeks to establish the link between Wyman's historic motorcycle journey and the passion felt by the current generation who claim the mantle of "Long-Distance Rider."

These highlights of Wyman's story capture the very spirit of the long-distance motorcycle rider; they reflect the desire to go beyond one's riding horizons and seek the challenging of the mundane.  George's epic ride is an inspiration to all who would call themselves an Iron Butt rider.  The lure of the long ride fuels our passion to make every trip a hard riding adventure.

In the 35 years since Road Rider magazine retold Wyman's story, our generation has discovered the passion for the long ride.  Thanks to the Iron Butt Association, we have a standard under which to ride.  The IBA is recognized the world over as the sanctioning body for all those who would claim the mantle of long-distance rider.  We owe George A. Wyman as debt of recognition.  If any group of enthusiasts should accept the duty to keep Wyman's story alive, it is those who live the passion today.  Wyman reminds us, by his example, that he was the first World's Toughest Motorcycle Rider.

Courtesy of the Iron Butt Association and "Iron Butt Magazine," you may read the entire article online. 

Click this link:  "America's First Iron Butt Rider"

"Iron Butt MagazineDedicated to the Sport of Safe Long-Distance Riding, is the premier publication of The Iron Butt Association.  It is published quarterly and is available for purchase by all motorcycle enthusiasts.  Click on the link above for single copy purchase and subscription details.