George Adams Wyman Completes a Record-Setting Transcontinental Trip on His Motor Bicycle

July 6, 1903

George Adams Wyman arrived in New York City on his motor bicycle 50 days after departing San Francisco on that vehicle. In completing this coast-to-coast trip, the 26-year-old Wyman became the first person to make a transcontinental crossing of the United States by motor vehicle. Twenty days after Wyman finished his journey of approximately 3,800 miles (6,100 kilometers), Dr. Horatio N. Jackson and Sewall K. Crocker jointly became the first people to travel across the United States in an automobile.

Wyman’s pioneering cross-country trek began at Lotta’s Fountain in San Francisco. He ended up traveling through Reno, Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, Omaha, Chicago, Buffalo, and Albany.

Wyman’s trip neared its end at three o’clock in the afternoon on July 6, 1903, when he reached the outskirts of New York City, and officially concluded upon his arrival at the headquarters for the New York Motor Cycle Club on Broadway at 5:30 p.m.  “Two things counted largely in Wyman’s success, indomitable pluck and the use of a light motor cycle weighing only ninety pounds [40.8 kilograms],” reported New York City’s Sun newspaper. “He has ridden an estimate of 1,500 miles [2,414 kilometers] on railroad ties, crawled through snow beds, scaled cliffs, walked in deserts and pedalled on muddy roads.”

Wyman’s luggage for the journey had consisted of money, a water bottle, a set of warm clothing, a few cans for oil and gasoline, a camera, a cyclometer, some tools and spare parts for the motor bicycle, and a revolver. While managing to repair his motor bicycle as needed for most of the journey, he had to pedal the vehicle during the last 150 miles (241.4 kilometers) after it lost all engine power. After reaching New York City, Wyman stayed there long enough to attend the launching of the Federation of American Motorcyclists. He then returned to San Francisco by train. Wyman, who died in 1959 at the age of 82, was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2000.

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