Ervin Baker Gets Cross-Country Motorcycle Record

By Tribune Leased Wire, Photography by Unknown

He Rides a 1914 electrically equipped, two-speed Indian from San Diego, in the southwestern corner of the United States, to New York City, 3362 miles, in 11 days, 12 hours and 10 minutes, smashing Volney Davis’ San Francisco-to-New York record, 3071 miles in 20 days, 9 hours and 1 minute, made in July, 1911---Encounters rain, snow, great heat, cold, desert, mountains, prairies, good roads and no roads, conquering all practically without mishap

ERVlN G. BAKER, formerly of Indianapolis, and where he will make his headquarters until the hot autumnal sun of the Hoosier state sends him back to Phoenix, Arizona, his adopted home, is the transcontinental hero of the year. On a new 1914, electrically equipped two-speed Indian he did it-3362 miles in 11 days, 12 hours, 10 minutes, breaking Volney E. Davis’ record of 20 days, 9 hours, 1 minute, made in July, 1911, on an Indian, from San Francisco to New York. Leaving San Diego, California, at 9 a. m. on Sunday, May 3, Baker crossed the Hudson river ferry and reached Forty-second street, New York City, at ten minutes past midnight on Friday, May 15, and was escorted up town by a large crowd and taken to the Hotel Astor, where he was washed, nourished, congratulated and asked about his meteoric streak across California, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and a little bit of little old New York.

The long arduous ride, on which he forged through sandy deserts, across rough, wild mountains, over extensive plains and the various roads of the middle states, through the Appalachian and Allegheny ranges and northward on the finished roads of the eastern coast, was the culmination of years of hard training in long distance riding. It was his crowning ambition and, in the language of the day, he got away with it, good and plenty. And paste this in your hat-he w1ll not brag about it.

Baker carried with him a small, high-speed camera. It will bring forth a sort of record of the details of his ride. Each night, while on his way, he sent telegraphic letters notable for their brevity. In conversation with friends, he will tell of his experiences. But brag-never. It is not the nature of the man.

The Speed And The Roads

Covering 3362 miles in 11 days 12 hours 10 minutes means covering each mile in 4 minutes 42 seconds; an average of 12 1-5 miles per hour. Baker rode only about 12 hours out of every 24, so that his actual average time was probably at the rate of about 2 minutes 21 seconds per mile, or about 24 4-5 miles per hour-a wonderful average, and indicating the high speed which he must have attained wherever the going was good.

The first 100 miles, approximately, were good roads; then came about 950 miles of mixed desert and mountain trail, much of the desert being sandy; then nearly 1000 miles of prairie, into Missouri; then about 925 miles across the level and rolling middle states, into the mountains at Greensburg, Pa., then nearly 300 miles through the Appalachian and Allegheny ranges and a final bit of about 125 miles over finished highways, practically level. Quite an assortment.

Baker’s total time of 11 days 12 hours 10 minutes was figured, according to railroad and general commercial custom, on the basis of New York or eastern time being three hours ahead of Pacific time, and any future records will be measured by the same standard. Actually, however, his total time was 11 days 12 hours 17 minutes, using the 75th meridian time at the finish as is done by the New York and Washington weather bureau officials, scientists and others. Commercial custom lumps the difference between Pacific and Eastern time at 3 hours. Actually the difference in time between Washington (practically south of New York) and San Diego is 2 hours 53 minutes.

Previous Records

The transcontienntal record of 20 days 9 hours 1 minute, made by Volney E. Davis, of San Francisco, on an Indian, in July, 1911, was from San Francisco to New York via the north end of Salt Lake, through Wyoming, Omaha, Chicago, Buffalo, Albany. He did little night riding. The distance covered by Davis was stated as 3071 miles (presumably railroad time table distance). Actually, it was probably about the same as that covered by Baker, owing to the right-angle journey east to Albany and south to New York.

An automobile, a Reo, was driven from New York to San Francisco in 10 days 18 hours, in August, 1910, and that is the automobile record today; but the machine was driven night and day, and its speed practically was no faster than that of Davis on a motorcycle. Its route was New York to Albany, Schenectady, Utica, Syracuse, Buffalo, Erie, Cleveland, Fremont, Goshen, South Bend. Valparaiso, Aurora (skipping Chicago), Clinton, Cedar Rapids, Marshalltown, Council Bluffs, Columbus (Neb.), Laramie, Green River (Wyo.), Ogden, Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco.

By Tribune Leased Wire
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