5th May
It was on this day...
1914 First Ever 'Cannonball Run'

It was named after the first person to ever attempt it, Erwin "Cannonball" Baker.

The challenge was to travel (by motor bike) across the USA, at the time a tremendously difficult logistical endeavour because of the poor condition of some rural roads, and the lack of availability of motor fuel, and food and drink for many long stretches.

The public rallied to his cause and helped him plan his route and some even offered to supply him with fuel in the more rural parts. To stop feeling thirsty, it is reported that he put a pebble under his tongue.

Baker set off on his journey from California on this day on his V-twin 1000cc Stutz Indian motorcycle, heading east toward Yuma, Arizona.

On just his second day he ran out of gas, and had to push the bike in a near 120 degree heat to Agua Caliente, Arizona.

He was hampered by many elements along the way, including dogs which took a shine to the rubber in his tyres.

He managed to cover 3,379 miles in all, most of which he completed while standing up because of the poor suspension on his bike.

He was to become a national hero and probably change the way the public looked at motorcycling for ever.

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1821 Napoleon Bonaparte dies in exile on the island of St. Helena.

1921 Chanel No. 5 perfume, created by perfumer Ernst Beaux for Coco Chanel, launches.

1943 Library of Congress to preserve about 5000 films made between 1897 and 1917. (Public Domain Comedy Heaven)

1961 Navy Commander Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr becomes the first American in space

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