In 1916 Adeline and Augusta Van Buren set out from New York to prove they could ride as well as anyone. With World War I looming, the Van Buren sisters planned to show that women had what it took to be dispatch riders in the U.S. Army. They set off on their transcontinental journey on a pair of Indian motorcycles and made history with their successful coast-to-coast ride, becoming the first two women to cross the continental U.S., each on her own motorcycle, and the first women to ride to the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak on motorcycles. The sisters were inducted into the American Motorcyclist Association’s (AMA) Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame in 2003.
One hundred years later, women have an opportunity to recognize the Van Burens’ accomplishment and celebrate women in motorcycling through participating in the cross-country 2016 Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride, July 3-24, 2016. “The 1916 ride was a phenomenal accomplishment by two courageous women at a time when few roads were paved, post-Victorian attitudes were in full flare and women did not yet have the right to vote,” says organizer Alisa Clickenger. “The 2016 event is intended to honor their achievement and promote the growth of modern-day women motorcyclists and the motorcycling community.”
Community events and meet & greets are planned across the country as a way of assimilating the event into local communities and enticing women no yet riding to learn about the joys of motorcycling.
Community events scheduled at this time include the following:
- Brooklyn, New York Ride Launch Party (July 3, 2016)
- Springfield, Massachusetts Launch Party (July 4-5, 2016)
- Latrobe, Pennsylvania – Lincoln Highway Experience event (July 7, 2016)
- Pickerington, Ohio – AMA Hall of Fame and AMA Vintage Days (July 8-9, 2016)
- Anamosa, Iowa – National Motorcycle Museum (July 11, 2016)
- McCook, Nebraska – Community Event (July 13, 2016)
- Colorado Springs, Colorado – Rocky Mountain Motorcycle Museum (July 15, 2016)
- Pikes Peak, Colorado – Pikes Peak Event (July 15, 2016)
- San Francisco, California – Grand Finale Party with emcee Erin Hunter Sills (July 23, 2016)
The event concludes with a large group ride into San Francisco on July 23, 2016, where festivities will celebrate the ride’s completion and all riders’ accomplishments. Women have several options for participation, including a fully supported tour and self-guided tours of the entire route or individual segments. An option for West Coast-based riders is that of joining the ride in Carson City, Nevada for the Grand Finale Group Ride into San Francisco.
Registration is open on the event website at SistersMotorcycleRide.com. For photos of the Van Buren Sisters and their history, click here.
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