Friday, September 21, 2018

Truckee Waypoint Hosting

We are pleased to announce the Truckee California Information Center in partnership with the Truckee Donner Historical Society, have joined the Project as the hosting authority for the 520.2 Truckee Wyman waypoint.   The California Welcome Center is housed in the historic Truckee Depot.
Truckee California Information & Welcome Center
Ruth Gersey, Director of Operations at the California Welcome Center and Chaun Mortier, Research Historian at the Truckee Donner Historical Society are working together to mount the Wyman memorial plaque, Journey and Waypoint posters inside the Truckee Depot.  Located along the historic Donner Pass road in the center of the Truckee historic district, the Depot is visited by 100,000s of people each year.

Thank you, Dave McQueeney for sponsoring the Wyman memorial plaque at the 520.2 Truckee waypoint.

Here, in Wyman's own words is the account of his journey from the hotel at the Donner Pass summit to Truckee on Wednesday, May 20, 1903.

"The next day, May 20, promised more pleasure, or, rather, I fancied that it did so, l knew that I could go no higher and with dark, damp, dismal snow sheds and the miles of wearying walking behind me, and a long downgrade before me, my fancy had painted a pleasant picture of, if not smooth, then easy sailing. When I sought my motor bicycle in the morning the picture received its first blur. My can of lubricating oil was missing. The magnificent view that the tip top the mountains afforded lost its charms. I had eyes not even for Donner Lake, the "gem of the Sierras," nestling like a great, lost diamond in its setting of fleecy snow and tall, gaunt pines.

Oil such as I required was not to be had on the snowbound summit nor in the untamed country ahead, and oil I must have - or walk, and walk far. I knew that my supply was in its place just after emerging from the snow sheds the night before, and I reckoned therefore that the now prized can had dropped off in the snow, and I was determined to hunt for it. I trudged back a mile and a half. Not an inch of ground or snow escaped search; and when at last a dark object met my gaze I fairly bounded toward it. It was my oil! I think I now know at least a thrill of the joy experienced by the traveler on the desert who discovers an unsuspected pool.

Donner Snow Shed, c.1890
The oil, however was not of immediate aid. It did not help me get through the dark, damp, dismal tunnel, 1,700 feet long, that afforded the only means of egress from Summit. I walked through that, of course, and emerging, continued to walk, or rather, I tried to walk. Where the road should have been was a wide expanse of snow - deep snow. As there was nothing else to do, I plunged into it and floundered, waded, walked, slipped, and slid to the head of Donner Lake. It took me an hour to cover the short distance. At the Lake the road cleared and to Truckee, 10 miles down the canyon, was in excellent condition for this season of the year. The grade drops 2,400 feet in the 10 miles, and but for the intelligent Truckee citizens I would have bidden good-bye to the Golden State long before I finally did so.

Truckee to Boca RR crossing
USGS, c. 1905
The best and shortest road to Reno? The intelligent citizens, several of them agreed on the route, and I followed their directions. The result: Nearly two hours later and after riding 21 miles, I reached Bovo(sic), six miles by rail from Truckee. After that experience I asked no further information, but sought the crossties, and although they shook me up not a little, I made fair time to Verdi, 14 miles. 

Verdi is the first town in Nevada and about 40 miles from the summit of the Sierras. Looking backward the snow-covered peaks are plainly visible, but one is not many miles across the State line before he realizes that California and Nevada, though they adjoin, are as unlike as regards soil, topography, climate, and all else as two countries between which an ocean rolls. Nevada is truly the "Sage Brush State." The scrubby plant marks its approach, and in front, behind, to the right, to the left, on the plains, the hills, everywhere, there is sage brush. It is almost the only evidence of vegetation, and as I left the crossties and traveled the main road, the dull green of the plant had grown monotonous long before I reached Reno, once the throbbing pivot of the gold-seeking hordes attracted by the wealth of the Comstock lodes, located in the mountains in the distance. That most of Reno's glory has departed did not affect my rest that night."

Across America on a Motor Bicycle - "Over the Sierra's and Through the Snow Sheds" by George A. Wyman, The Motorcycle Magazine, June 1903, Vol 1 No 1
San Francisco, CA to Reno, NV
May 16 to May 20, 1903

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Wyman Tribute on the Salt Flats

Wyman rode a 1902 'California' motor bicycle across America in 1903.  Today, the sport of motor bicycling is alive thanks to small groups of enthusiasts.  One such group is the Motor-Assisted Bicycle Forum.  Despite the technological advances of two wheeled vehicles over the years, these enthusiasts focus on modifying the basic bicycle with small displacement motors.  Motorized bicycling is a two-wheeled sport with roots going back the birth of the motorcycle at the turn of the last century.

Speeding across the Bonneville Salt Flats

'Sabrina 2'  Motorized Bicycle, #T1903
Members of the Motor-Assisted Bicycle Forum have entered Sabrina 2 in the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association - 130 MPH Club. This racing class is specifically for vehicles with a top speed less than 130 MPH.  The One Mile rookie track is a 'time only' event.  Sabrina 2's 3.25hp single-speed belt-drive is reminiscent of early motorcycles up to around 1920, and the crew expects to post competitive speeds in this class.   Speed/Time trials of the Sabrina 2 begin daily,  9am to 6pm Friday, September 14th and run through Sunday, September 16th.  If in the area, you are welcome to stop by and watch the Sabrina 2 go through her time trials.  Wyman Waypoint patches available from the Sabrina 2 pit crew.
  • Rider Jimmy Brackett 
  • Owner/builder Augie Deabler 
  • Co-conspirator Pete Rasmussen 

You Are Invited!
Post racing celebrations will start at 11 am Tuesday, September 18th at Ogden's Union Grill, site of LH Becraft bicycle shop where Wyman stopped on May 28, 1903.  Restaurateur Laura D'Hulst is rumored to have some special Wyman themed dishes for all who attend.  Wyman Waypoint patches available from the Sabrina 2 pit crew.

Wyman Waypoint - 528.2 LH Becraft Bicycle Shop
Sponsored by Motor-Assisted Bicycle members
Waypoint Patch

Sabrina 2 Sponsors 

The George A. Wyman Memorial Project, Honorary Sponsor

Jim "TheWheelmaster" Burkman

Union Grill Ogden Utah

Golden Eagle Bike Engines

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Across America on a Janus Motorcycle

A virtual interview with Richard Worsham, co-founder of Janus Motorcycles, conducted by Tim Masterson, project manager for the G.A. Wyman Memorial Project.

Tim:  We are pleased to have Janus Motorcycles join the 2018 - Wyman Memorial Challenge, 'Rendezvous'.   

Janus Motorcycles, Goshen, IN
Richard Worsham, co-founder of company will be riding the Janus Halcyon 250 from San Francisco to New York City.  The Halcyon, a single cylinder, 229cc, 14 horsepower, 5-speed motorcycle is built at the Janus facilities in Goshen, Indiana.   Janus Motorcycles is the hosting authority for the Wyman waypoint in Goshen.

Richard has been busy planning his ride and running the company!  Please welcome to this brave rider to the long-distance motorcycling community.  

Tim:  Richard, what were you thinking when you signed up on Ride Master for the 2018 'Rendezvous'?

Richard:  I am an avid daily rider, but the mileage we will be putting down each day equals my longest ever day in the saddle. There is definitely some well-found nervousness on my part with the mileage, but I believe that has more to do with my own condition than that of the bike! That said, I and the rest of the Janus team are delighted to participate in an event celebrating George Wyman, an undoubted connoisseur of small-displacement motorcycles and a pioneer of long distance riding. We are very excited to continue his story.

Tim:  Being the co-founder of Janus, you are obviously passionate about riding.  How did you start out in the sport?

Richard:  My introduction to two-wheels started with a fascination with vintage pedal-type mopeds. I appreciated the aesthetics and design of these scaled-down motorcycles, the do-it-yourself mentality, and the humor of the small, unreliable, two strokes. Most importantly, I loved the feeling of openness and lightness of these small bikes. 

Tim:  How did Janus Motorcycles come to be one of just a handful of American motorcycle manufacturers?

Richard:  While in school, I started visiting and working over the summer in my friend's vintage moped repair shop. After several years exploring what we could do with mopeds, we had the idea to create our own bike, the way we wanted it, from scratch. That first one-off moped turned into the idea for a production motorcycle and we founded Janus Motorcycles.

Our design brief was simple: create a lightweight, small-displacement motorcycle that didn't look like all the other plastic covered bikes on the road. We wanted something that looked both to the past and the future, with classic styling, handmade quality, and at the same time modern technology and components. Six years later, with three models under our belt and a growing customer base, we continue to find satisfaction in our lightweight, small displacement motorcycles. We have seven full-time employees and currently produce around 4 road-legal, EPA compliant motorcycles a week. 

Tim:  That's interesting.  Do you see a connection between Wyman's journey and Janus Motorcycles? 

Richard:  It was 115 years ago when George rode his 200cc California motorcycle through our hometown of Goshen, Indiana, within a block of where Janus Motorcycles are currently built. Though his bike was different in design and performance from our production models, it was essentially the same thing that we create today: a small engine strapped between two wheels.

Tim:  To me, the Halcyon seems to be the Janus most suited to a long distance ride.  Are you doing any special modifications to get ready for the trip? 

Richard's Halcyon, JM-068
Richard:  Yes, the Halcyon is certainly the best Janus
model for long distance riding. The Janus team and I have been going over the Halcyon I will be riding and making sure it will perform as designed. This will be my first long distance ride and the first attempt at crossing the country on a Janus. We are keeping the bike as close to stock as possible in order to be able to use these miles to prove our production models. Our model line is designed for urban commuting, short excursions, and weekend trips, not necessarily long highway miles! 

In order to equip the Halcyon for this cross country trip we are making some minor changes that relate to the sustained cruising speeds that will be required on a long distance trip such as this, increased fuel range, and rider comfort. To help with the sustained highway speeds, we are re-gearing the bike for lower rpms and higher speed in 5th gear which should also help with fuel range. The fuel range of the Halcyon is a little over 120 miles which for most portions of the route will be more than enough. After learning that Wyman carried an auxiliary fuel tank from San Francisco to Omaha, we decided to fabricate a custom mount for a Rotopax fuel canister that will sit above the rear fender just like on Wyman’s California bike. We have also fitted the bike with a set of aluminum panniers on a custom rear rack that will carry my daily gear and equipment for the ride.

Tim:  How about riding gear and other equipment?  Will you be using a GPS?

Richard:  I will be using my regular riding gear and a full face dual-sport helmet. I have purchased a separate rain suit to use over my riding gear. My helmet will be outfitted with a Sena bluetooth headset paired to my iPhone. I have mounted the iPhone in a waterproof Ram case on the handlebars and will be using it for navigation to the Wyman waypoints. The GPX file you provided for the Grand Tour loaded perfectly. 

I have also signed up for a SpotWalla account so all our Janus customers, friends, and neighbors can follow along in real time as I ride across country. I followed your advice and reached out to Mario Winkelman of LDComfort. What a great character! He's setting me up with a full set of his gear including shirt, tights, helmet liner, and off the bike gear. Thanks very much for the recommendation and introduction. I am really feeling like I have the best leg up to make this ride a success. I had no idea the LD community was so well developed and the more I get into this 'Long-Distance' riding, the more I like it!

Tim:  Well, I feel confident that the entire long-distance riding and motorcycle touring communities will be following your epic journey 'Across America on a Janus Motorcycle,' with great interest.  

Tim:  Richard, I want to thank you for joining the 2018 - Wyman Memorial Challenge, 'Rendezvous' event.  We are excited Janus has selected the 'Rendezvous' to showcase the Halcyon 250.  

Richard:  I'm getting every excited for the trip!  And, looking forward to getting to know the other riders, as we 'Rendezvous' along the way.  

You are invited to follow along with all the Wyman 'Rendezvous' riders on our webpage:  

'Across America on Motorcycles' - 2018 Wyman Memorial Grand Tour
May 26 - June 2

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Promoting the Wyman History

The Wyman Journey Poster Campaign has reached a new level.  The Project has shipped 99 Journey poster packages to historical societies, museums and visitor centers along the Wyman trail.  Thanks, to all those who joined the campaign.  Your financial support is the fuel of this very effective promotional campaign.  Let's do more!

Our mission is to promote the Wyman story.  The Journey Poster is designed to tell the Wyman story at a glance.  With this phase of the campaign complete, our new focus will be to send a Journey poster package to the public library in each of the communities along the Wyman route from San Francisco to New York City.

Every Wyman Journey poster hung on a wall creates a visual memorial to the first long-distance motorcyclist.  Let's do more...

"Linking the Past to the Present to Enrich the Future"