"Big George" and San Joses' first "safety" bike


"Big George" Osen, from the Edenvale neighborhood in San Jose, was the first cyclist with a "safety" styled bicycle. He drew so much attention riding from his neighborhood to downtown San Jose, that he printed cards that answered all the questions people had about the "safety" bicycle vs the "ordinary". His first bike weighed 50 lbs. He became known as one of the top cyclists in California. He was also known for his tandem racing.


George H. Osen —now the well-known garage man—and his “safety.” the first ever used in San Jose. This "safety.” which represents the third step in the development of the bicycle, was equipped with solid rubber tires and weighed fifty pounds. When this bicycle made its first appearance it created so much comment and its owner was pestered with so many questions that he was compelled to get some cards printed to pass to all inquisitors.


 

Later George Osen formed a car manufacturing and sales company called Osen & McFarland Company.


I came to San Jose because my father wrote back to Wisconsin, saying that this place was the finest location he could imagine for a young man. That was twenty years ago, and Wisconsin couldn't get me again if they offered half the State.




1911 Advertisement for Osen & Hunter Company
1911 Advertisement for Osen & Hunter Company

 

Osen & Hunter Garage was on top of the former Letcher Garage site on the corner of Saint James and First Street.



 

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