Following Wyman’s Tire Tracks. Update: Ogden Utah
It’s about a week into the trip and I have ridden from Lotta’s Fountain in San Francisco (the only source of water for the city after the 1906 earthquake), across California’s fertile Central Valley, up and over the majestic Sierra Nevada Mountains, and across the broad expanse of northern Nevada. Nevada has surprised me most of all with its stark, barren beauty, a subtle mix of golds, greens, and reds splashed upon an undulating landscape. It’s easy to miss if you’re buzzing along I-80, but I’ve explored as many side roads and small towns as I can and seen another side.
I am taking a day off the bike in Ogden, Utah to sit in A Good Life Café on 25th street catching up on writing, photo processing, and the bane of my modern existence, email. I roll into town in considerably better shape than George A Wyman did in 1903, as he ran into a bit of trouble east of Winnemucca, Nevada.
“Then my handlebar broke while I was going full-tilt, and I had a close call from striking my head on the rail. I missed it by a few inches. After a walk of a mile I reached a boxcar camp and got a lineman to help me improvise a bar out of a piece of hardwood, which we bound on with tarred twine. I made as good a job of it as possible, for it is a poor country for bicycle supplies, and I realized that I would not be able to get a pair of new bars until I got to Ogden, nearly 400 miles beyond.
George A Wyman
Compared to Wyman, I’ve got it easy. The handlebar of the Zero DSR is still in one piece, as is the rest of the bike. Wyman wrote of farmers and their horses being curious and a little spooked by his newfangled motorcycle. I get similar responses, “Electric? I didn’t know they made electric motorcycles!” Invariably, I get asked, “how far will it go on a charge?” And the official answer is 70 miles at 70mph, 88 miles at 55mph. But from Montello NV to Snowville UT I managed 110 miles and still had 20% in the tank when I got to Snowville. I managed that by taking my time and hypermiling on quiet NV233 (and SR30 in UT), watching the landscape change before my eyes. Ultimately, this is turning into a different kind of bike trip, and that’s cool.