Sisters' Centennial Motorcycle Ride Honors Female Riding Pioneers

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Sisters' Centennial Motorcycle Ride Honors Female Riding Pioneers

A number of motorcycle manufacturers, including Indian Motorcycle and BMW Motorrad, are lining up to take part in a cross-country ride to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Augusta and Adeline Van Buren’s trek across the United States in 1916.

The Van Buren sisters were the first women to travel across the United States by motorcycle, taking on the challenge in hopes of showing the U.S. Army that women could serve as motorcycle messengers. Their trip was a massive undertaking at the time, coming just two years after Erwin "Cannonball" Baker made his own record-setting run.

It took roughly 62 days for the sisters to travel from New York City to Los Angeles. Three years later, a military convoy sent to demonstrate the need for an interstate system would manage to beat their time by only a few days.

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Van Buren sisters

The Van Buren sisters had a greater purpose than highway infrastructure, however. Their arduous journey aboard two 1915 Indian motorcycles helped to shine a light on the women’s suffrage movement of the time. Women would not receive the full right to vote until 1920.

The two also tackled a then-unpaved Pikes Peak as part of their ride.

This year's commemorative ride will take place July 3rd - 23rd, and roughly follow the same route that the sisters took 100 years before.

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Van Buren sisters

Two charities will be funded as a result of the Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride’s event efforts: Final Salute, Inc. and Women’s Coalition of Motorcyclists. Final Salute is a national women’s veterans’ organization that provides temporary and permanent housing for the over 500,000 homeless female veterans in the United States. The Women’s Coalition of Motorcyclists is an organization providing funding for motorcycle train-the-trainer scholarships that will help enlarge the number of female instructors and coaches for road, dirt and track.

The Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride begins July 3rd in Brooklyn. Other stops along the route include Latrobe, Pennsylvania (July 7th), Pickerington, Ohio (July 8th-9th), Anamosa, Iowa (July 11th), McCook, Nebraska (July 13th), Colorado Springs, Colorado (July 15th), Pikes Peak, Colorado (July 15th) and San Francisco (July 23rd).

The Van Buren sisters were inducted into the American Motorcyclists Association Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame in 2003. To learn more about the sisters and the ride, visit VanBurenSisters.com

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Van Buren sisters

Indian Motorcycle will be sponsoring a number of riders in the event, including Robert Van Buren, the great nephew of the Van Buren Sisters, and Sarah “SeCCret” Moreau, who will be riding from Los Angeles, inspired by her heroine Bessie Stringfield. Stringfield's story is equally inspiring, if not more so. A black woman, she undertook a number of solo long-distance journeys in the 1930s and 40s.

Here's the official Press release:

@INDIAN MOTORCYCLE TEAMS WITH SISTERS’ CENTENNIAL MOTORCYCLE #RIDE

Event marks the 100th anniversary of the Van Buren Sisters’ courageous cross-country motorcycle journey on 1915 Indian ‘Motocycles’

MINNEAPOLIS (May 24, 2016) — Indian Motorcycle®, America’s first motorcycle company, is proud to announce its partnership with the Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride, a cross-country group ride that celebrates the 100th anniversary of Augusta and Adeline Van Buren’s courageous and unprecedented motorcycle journey across the United States.

In 1916 the Van Buren Sisters were the first women to traverse the continental U.S., each on her own motorcycle. Their mission was to show the U.S. Army that women could serve as motorcycle messengers, and to throw light on the women’s suffrage movement of the time. Their ride was heavily reported and included riding to the summit of Pikes Peak, quite a feat on the unpaved road with their 1915 Indian “Motocycles” (as they were known at the time). The Sisters were inducted into the American Motorcyclists Association Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame in 2003.

The ride, beginning July 3 in New York and ending July 23 in San Francisco, honors and celebrates female motorcycling heroines of the past, and promotes the continued growth of women motorcyclists and the motorcycling community. The journey will loosely follow the Van Buren sisters’ 1916 path, with the primary route being the historical Lincoln Highway.

Two charities will be funded as a result of the Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride’s event efforts: Final Salute, Inc. and Women’s Coalition of Motorcyclists. Final Salute is a national women’s veterans’ organization which provides temporary and permanent housing for the over 500,000 homeless female veterans in the United States. The Women’s Coalition of Motorcyclists is an organization providing funding for motorcycle train-the-trainer scholarships that will help enlarge the number of female instructors and coaches for road, dirt and track.

"We are delighted that Indian Motorcycle has chosen to participate in the Sisters' Centennial Motorcycle Ride,” says event organizer Alisa Clickenger. “Indian Motorcycle left an indelible mark not only on America's transportation industry but also the defense of our country dating all the way back to World War I. Additionally, their importance to the Van Buren sisters' history-making transcontinental journey makes them an ideal partner for us.”

“Indian Motorcycle is proud to celebrate the increase in female ridership as led by the Van Buren Sisters a century ago,” says Pam Kermisch, Director of Integrated Marketing Customer Experience at Indian Motorcycle. “Looking back at the long history of our brand, it’s events like this that cement our commitment to brand enthusiasts, patriotism and inclusive ridership at every opportunity.”

In addition to the group ride program, Indian Motorcycle will sponsor select riders with the loan of new 2016 models for the trip, including Robert Van Buren, the great nephew of the Van Buren Sisters, and Sarah “SeCCret” Moreau, who will be riding from Los Angeles, inspired her heroine Bessie Stringfield’s journey. Bessie Stringfield, an AMA Hall of Fame member, became famous for long distance riding in the 1930s and 40s. SeCCret’s tribute will be reported through Black Girls Ride magazine.

The Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride begins July 3 in Brooklyn, N.Y. Other stops along the route include Latrobe, Penn. (July 7), Pickerington, Ohio (July 8-9), Anamosa, Iowa (July 11), McCook, Neb. (July 13), Colorado Springs, Colo. (July 15), Pikes Peak, Colo. (July 15) and San Francisco, Calif. (July 23)

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