Newspaper article from the  

Boone News-Republican
Boone, Iowa

Man Journeys Across America
On Motor Bicycle


Rif Addams poses outside the Boone County Historical Society on a
replica of George Wyman`s motor bicycle that
Wyman rode across the
country in May, 1903. This was Addams second stop in Iowa. He
traveled east to Ames, Marsalltown, Cedar rapids, and Clinton. The
motor bicycle gained alot of attraction from those passing by.
(Photo by Kathryn Gillmore)
 
By KATHRYN GILLMORE
Staff Writer

Rif Addams is determined to make it across the country on a motor bicycle just like
George Wyman did in 1903. Addams displayed his bike and sat outside the Boone County
Historical Society Friday, talking to people who were impressed and interested to find
out what he was doing.

Addams is riding a 1905 Mead Roadster bike, a near replica of George Wyman`s motor
bicycle, across America. He started in San Francisco on May 16. This is close to the
same day that Wyman left on his journey on May 15, 1903.

The 26-year-old Wyman left San Francisco en route to New York City accomplishing
something that no other motorcyclist had attempted --- the jou
rney across the American
continent. Wyman was a member of the Bay City Wheelmen of San Francisco and possesses
all of the attributes necessary for the fulfillment of this interesting undertaking.

Addams is doing the very same thing that Wyman accomplished. Addams` Iowa stops
included Ogden, Boone, Ames, Marshalltown,Cedar Rapids and Clinton. "I`m trying
to stay to the original time schedule that Wyman had", Addams said

Addams started getting interested in old bicycles in 1998. Addams, from
Washington, then got interested in motor bicycles in 1999. Addams learned
the story of Wyman and says "It just captured me". He wanted to travel
Wyman`s route and see what Wyman saw as he traveled across the country.

Addams attended Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood, Wash. He is working
toward his associates degree in interior design. He will finish after he gets
back from riding across the country. Addams wants to work in the Pioneer
Motorcycle Museum in Tacoma, Wash. designing displays and exhibits for the museum.

He said he is exited to see different things on his journey across the country.
"I got to see fireflies for the first time. They were really neat to see", Addams said.

Before his motorcycle was a motorcycle, it was a bicycle. Addams said the frame,
seat,and wheels were donated from Texas. The headlights and tail lights were
donated from New York City. Addams said he used some of his own parts for the
cycle. Addams assembled the bike himself."It was quite the social experiment,
having people from all over helping put it together," Addams said. "I`d say it
worked pretty well." The motor is a 2-horsepower, 4-stroke, flat head Whizzer
motor. The cycle gets around 100 miles to the gallon and travels up to 40 mph.

Addams` father follows him with a pop-up camper pulled behind a small truck.
His father will drive ahead of Addams then wait for him up ahead. Addams
and his father said that they stay about one night at a location to follow
Wyman`s schedule. "We are very fortunate to have had good weather so far,"
Addams said. Addams said Old U.S. Hwy 30 is closed, which was the original
path that Wyman rode. Addams rides on the shoulders of the roads when cars
are coming and rides on the road when no cars are approaching. "People give
me plenty of room on the road and smile and wave as they pass," Addams said.

Addams has encountered some delays along the way. The cycle`s frame broke a few
days before reaching Boone. They stopped and got it fixed but it ended up braking
again. The engine blew a few head gaskets and a few other minor maintenance problems.

Addams said one personal triumph he has experienced is he had to pedal over the 8,000-
foot Sierra Nevada Mountains in California and over 9,000-foot tall Rocky Mountains
in Wyoming. "I never thought I would be able to do anything like that," Addams said.

Addams said the people have been fabulous across the country as well as in Iowa. Addams
described Iowa as being wonderful and beautiful and the people being helpful and friendly.

When Addams is finished with his journey he plans to store the cycle in
his shop. He said he might restore it but that might take the history
out of it. Addams said he is just a man with a lot of time on his hands.
Addams also has a 1960 Honda CC motorcycle that he is working on. He found
it free against a tree. "It kind of becomes a part of you,"Addams said.

"Overall, the whole experience of really getting to see America is incredible," Addams said.




The Boone News-Republican 2003
HTML Compliments Of Guido For Rif Raff Productions And Whizzer Motors 2003