Friday, November 5, 2010

Motorcyclists set out to beat a record set
150 years ago by the Pony Express

Update: You can now watch a documentary movie about motorcyclists trying to equal the cross-country record set by the Pony Express, followed by a discussion with the riders who tried it, on the website of the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum. I have embedded the movie below. Allow some time for it to load. It is well worth watching:

The sweeping victory of the Republican Party in the November election changed the course America was on.

Trouble was, if you lived on the West Coast, you didn't know it yet.

It was 1860, and the election of Abraham Lincoln was big news. But there was still a gap in the telegraph line to California.

The Pony Express used the 1860 presidential election as a showcase for what it could do. Before the election, it hired extra riders and prepared extra relay horses.

"California’s newspapers received word of Lincoln’s election only seven days and 17 hours after the East Coast papers, an unrivaled feat at the time," according to the National Postal Museum.

This year a group of motorcyclists set out to repeat that feat, producing a film in the process. The ALT Project will show its film 7 Days, 17 Hours at 1 p.m. Sunday in the postal museum in Washington, D.C. The museum's blog, Pushing the Envelope, describes the movie this way:

"...They ride the route of the Pony Express, trying to beat its speed record with modern GPS equipment and vehicles. This may sound like a cinch but join us to view the film on Sunday, Nov. 7 (the anniversary of the historic fastest ride), and you'll discover that it's not!"


  1. Great post! Of course I like it--it's about MY program! :) The ALT Project is at a crossroads planning what will come next for them. They've just done a fascinating trip through Canada, too, that will soon show up as a movie.

  2. What a cool event! An excellent post, David, I'll be watching! Perfect tie-in with this week's election.


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