Tuesday, May 15, 2012

George Wyman Memorial 50CC Challenge

See: NPT West & East Coast

"In 1903, George Wyman became the first motorcyclist to make a transcontinental trip across America. In fact, he was the first ever to make the trip by means of a motorized vehicle. Wyman's trip was made on a 1.25-horsepower, 90cc California motorcycle designed by Roy Marks. Wyman's arduous journey, which started in San Francisco on May 16, took 50 days and ended in New York City on July 6." 

George Wyman may well be the first American long distance motorcyclist and is in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.  (George's Ride Report)

Wyman launched his transcontinental trek at 2:30pm on May 16 from Lotta’s Fountain at the hub of Third, Market and Kearny streets, known then as Newspaper Square.  He arrived at the New York Motor Cycle Club's rooms at 1904 Broadway, NYC, on July 6, 1903.

To commemorate George Wyman's accomplishment I am setting out on an Iron Butt version of his history making San Francisco to New York City transcontinental motorcycle ride.  Instead of taking 50 days I will ride from the Pacific coast in San Francisco, CA to Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City, NY in less than 50 hours. I'm beginning the ride on May 16th, the same day George Wyman started.  If you are in the SF area join me at Lotta's Fountain (Third, Market & Kearny streets) at 2:30 PM on Tuesday May 15th.


Monday, 15 May -- Went to sleep early last night and woke at 2:30 PDT this morning.   Today I'll be heading over to Third, Market and Kearny street around 2 PM to get a couple of pictures and to place a memorial poster at the site.  Then I'm going to get something to eat before riding to the SFPD motorcycle unit location to get my all important start witness form completed and  signed.  Then, all that is left is to return to the hotel, pack everything up and get some sleep.  My planned departure time is 3 AM PDT Wednesday morning.
Lotta's Fountain, May 15 2012
Northern end of Golden Gate Bridge


Witness sign-off went very well.  I used the SF CHP station across the street from the 24 hour Shell station I'm using for my start dated business receipt (DBR).  Once I explained what I was doing the Officers at the station were very interested in all the details.
No, it's not a ticket!

I secured the all important dated business receipt, pressed the Spot message button at 0255 PDT.  And, on my way.  Stopped along the way to get some gas.  Did a 3.5 hour rest stop in eastern NB.  There I successfully completed over 1500 miles qualifying for another Bun Burner Gold.  Arrived in Coney Island, Brooklyn NYC with about an hour to spare.  Glad I built into the ride plan a couple of hours at the end of the ride because I needed it from NJ to NYC.

Coney Island Boardwalk
New York City's Finest
1900 Broadway


Ride from San Francisco CA to New York City NY in 50 hour or fewer.
Iron Butt Association 50CC Quest "The Hard Way" (Xtreme!) rules apply.   There is a BunBurner GOLD opportunity within this challenge ride.

Link to the timed ride plan:  GW 50CC Leg Plan
Did a check of the enroute weather and things are looking great.  Based on my 3 AM PDT departure time I'm posting the estimated time of arrival at the planned stops below.  While these times are not a schedule I feel pressure to meet, they do represent the navigational timing marks to let me know if my ride leg plan assumptions are holding.   

Interstate 80
Segment, ETA (CDT)
A -- Depart San Francisco, 0300
B -- NV Exit 106, 0936
C -- NV Exit 410, 1354
D -- WY Exit 130, 1832
E -- NB Exit 59, 2311
F -- NB Exit 333, 0302, BBG, Rest 4 hours
G -- IA Exit 225, 1155
H -- IN Exit 107, 1659
 I -- PA Exit 62, 2155, Rest 2 hours
J -- Finish at Coney Island, NY, 0508

Follow along:  Active SpotWalla Map
Enroute Weather, (thanks Travel Man!)

This challenge ride has always intrigued me as a fitting tribute to one of the great pioneers of the long distance motorcycling sport.  As anyone who has attempted/completed the 50CC Quest "The Hard Way" knows there is not a lot of "slack time".   So, this is a bit of an endurance training event with opportunities to practice disciplined riding, pit stop efficiencies, apply rider rest techniques and overall risk management strategies.  Lots of things can go wrong and there isn't much room for errors.   Baring a unrecoverable breakdown, weather delays or a crash I plan to finish the ride in under 50 hours.  I'll post some musing before and after the 50CC.

Only 5 IBA members have certified SF to NY west to east 50CC.

Jack Shoalmire    Broken Arrow, OK    08/19/05  BMW K1200LT      SFO>NYC
Gary Eagan          Salt Lake City, UT    05/04/02  Ducati ST4           SF > NY
Rick Morrison      Albany, NY               04/13/02  BMW K1100LT      SF > NY
Ken Hatton          Chicago, IL               09/10/96  Kawasaki ZX11    SF > NY
Robin Moser         Olympia, WA           06/17/96  BMW R1100GS      SF > NY

Source:  Iron Butt Association published records.

The back story....

I attempted this ride in 2011 as a IBR training event.  I "pulled the plug" on the attempt after being snowed in at a Flying J truck stop for 6 hours in the southwest corner of WY.  

Copywrite/Trademark credit:  all references to the 50CC "The Hard Way" Challenge are recognized as property of The Iron Butt Association.


  1. Very Nice! Congratulations to you for completing this run. My father is Robin Moser, I know how grueling that ride is.

  2. Very Nice! Congratulations to you for completing this run. My father is Robin Moser, I know how grueling that ride is.