George H. Osen

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George Henry Osen 19 November 1869 – 18 September 1953

brother of Oscar Osen


Garden City Cyclers

The two-mile safety race for the Pacific Coast championship, held by G. H. Osen, of the Garden City Cyclers, was won by W. F. Foster ol the Alameda Bicycle and Athletic Club, Osen coming in a good second. B. C. Lund of the Acmes had very little trouble in winning the one-mile ordinary handicap in 2:51 3-5, the second man being H. C. Smith of the Garden Citys.


George Osen, San Jose's big boy, won the third heat with ease, in 2:37 1-5, F. Kenna of the Alameda County Wheelmen being a far-away second. The fourth heat was a walkover for W. J. Edwards of the Palo Alto Wheelmen, none of the other men entered caring to compete with the diminutive Hercules. However, he went over the course and. with E. Maillot as a pacemaker, attempted to beat the half-mile record. In this he did not succeed, his time being 1:17 1-5. Then he slowed down and finished the mile in 2:52 1-5.

The final heat of this race was extremely exciting. Bell, Foster, Osen and Edwards started from scratch, their first object being to overtake Van Wyck, who had a 75-yard handicap. This they soon succeeded in doing, and then the battle of the giants began in earnest. Each led by turns until the last lap, when Osen got to the front and on the lower turn led Foster. who seemed to be in a pocket, by 20 feet. Then the Alameda champion let out a link and showed how he could ride when he felt that way. It was only a short distance to the lane, but the way he overhauled Osen was a caution. He gained with every push of the pedal and In a moment was lapping the San Jose giant's hind wheel. Ten yardmore and Osen would not have been in it, but there was not that distance to go, and the pride of the Garden Citys crossed the line two feet ahead of the Alameda boy. Edwards was third and Bell fourth. Van Wyck dropped out of sight somewhere near the clubhouse. The time was 2:37 3-5.


Last of all, but by no means least interesting, was the five-mile safety scratch race. The starters were: Osen. Edwards, Bell and Scleuter, the latter making the pace, and a snail-like pace at that, for about four miles. The others were riding in a bunch at their ease. On the fifth mile they all limbered up a bit, and when the last half-mile was begun Bell made one of his phenomenal spurts, quickly moving up from last place to the front. But he made his final effort a little too soon. Big George Osen didn't want to follow anybody's procession, so he just shook a few flies off his broad shoulders and began to pedal as though he had a license to do nothing else. Then Edwards of Palo Alto breathed a prayer to his alma mater and moved up as though he wished to whisper a word in Osen's ear. Both passed Bell, and Osen may consider himself lucky that he got to the finish before Edwards was quite close enough to reveal his secret, otherwise he might have reflected less glory on the Garden City cyclers. The time was 16:32 2-5, not fast, but, as Captain Ravlin said, it was enough glory for San Jose to win the two chief events of the day without minding a few seconds more or less. Nevertheless, Walter Foster is happy, for he still holds the time championship for the Pacific Coast.

San Francisco Call, Volume 72, Number 35, 5 July 1892 - Bicycle Races in Various Parts of the State

There should be a large attendance from this city and Alameda, for the San Jose boys are always ready to lend a helping hand to insure the success of meets up this way. Genial George Osen, who is now riding a relay Columbia, will throw down the gauntlet to all comers, as the champion of the home club.

CHAT ABOUT THE CYCLE - Grant Bell Wins the Road Race of the Acme Club. - Preparations for the Thanksgiving Day - Events at San Jose - Close of the League Campaign. - The San Francisco Call, 14 Nov 1892, Mon - Page 2

Distance. Winner. Club. Time. Date. Place
One-half mile D. L. Burke, Los Angeles W. 1.33 July 4, 1890. San José.
One mile District Henry Smith, Garden City W. 3.03 2-5 July 4, 1890. San José.
Five mile District Julius Smith, Garden City W. 16.58 3-5 July 4, 1890. San José.
One mile Safety J. F. Ives, Alameda Bi. Club 3.18 3-5 July 4, 1890. San José.
One mile D. L. Burke, Los Angeles W. 2.50 2-5 July 4, 1891. Stockton.
Two miles Safety Geo. Osen, Garden City W. 5.45 2-5 July 4, 1891. Stockton.
Three miles W. R. Lipsett, Garden City W. 9.58 Nov. 26, 1891. Oakland.
Five miles Safety Grant Bell, Oriental C. C. 15.35 1-4 Nov. 26, 1891. Oakland.

Bicycling in California in 1892 - The Overland Monthly, June 1892

San Jose Merchants as Cyclists

RECOLLECTIONS of Heydey of Sport Recalled by Strange Photographs Resurrected by Mercury - Pictures of Well-Known Local Citizens in Queer Attire Are Found.


PURSUED by a swarm of small boys, like a clown on circus day, a "husky" Edenvale youth mounted on a machine similar to no other ever seen in San Jose before that time rode bashfully down the streets of the city one day in '87. Pedestrians stopped to "rubber" and horses snorted and did gymnastics as he pedaled self-consciously along.

The cause of all this excitement was 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. These cards answered questions which people generally asked him, running something like this: "Yes, this is a bicycle. Yes, it is called a safety. Yes, I can go just as fast with it as I can on the high bicycle," etc.

When these safeties first made their appearance the riders of the high "ordinaries" scorned to ride them, and easily outdistanced safety riders on the road or track. It was not until the era of pneumatic tires that the old "ordinary” was discarded and the safety adopted generally.

George Osen purchased this machine while a resident of Edenvale, and frequently rode into San Jose and back to his residence. In this way he developed considerable speed and ability as a bicycle rider, and later won the State championship.

Old citizens of this city remember a tandem race in which he participated on an old dirt track constructed on West Julian street, and in which he won with the assistance of Wilbur Edwards, at present an official in the Security State Bank, and of whom we will have much to say later. This was Edwards' first appearance in public, and he rode the front seat of the tandem and did the steering. The pair pedaled with such strength and skill that they easily won the race, making a runaway out of it.

For a couple of years Osen was without a peer in California as a rider, but later a number of swift sprinters, among them well-known San Jose merchants, developed, and then "Big George," as he was known, took a back seat and devoted his time to his cycle business. When the auto first made its appearance in San Jose, he gradually drifted into that line, finally to the utter exclusion of the bicycle business. He is at present a member of one of the best known garage firms in the city -the Osen & Hunter Company.

San Jose Merchants as Cyclists - San Jose Mercury-news, Volume LXXIV, Number 70, 10 March 1908

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