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Author Topic: Motorcycle touring history - Van Buren Sisters  (Read 484 times)

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Offline Kortbroek

Motorcycle touring history - Van Buren Sisters
« on: April 11, 2019, 03:28:49 pm »
Came across this story from 1916

Augusta Van Buren and Adeline Van Buren, sisters, rode 5,500 miles in 60 days over hazardous roads to cross the continental United States, each on their own motorcycle, in 1916. In so doing they became the second and third women to drive motorcycles across the entire continent, following Effie Hotchkiss, who had completed a Brooklyn-to-San Francisco route the year before with her mother, Avis, as a sidecar passenger.

History of the ride
The sisters descended from Martin Van Buren, the eighth President of the United States. In 1916, 24-year-old Augusta and 22-year-old Adeline Van Buren, or Gussie and Addie as they were known, were in their 20s and active in the national Preparedness Movement. America was about to enter World War I, and the sisters wanted to prove that women could ride as well as men and would be able to serve as military dispatch riders, freeing up men for other tasks. They also hoped to remove one of the primary arguments for denying women the right to vote. For their ride, they dressed in military-style leggings and leather riding breeches, a taboo at that time.

They set out from Sheepshead Bay Race Track in Brooklyn, New York on July 4, riding 1,000 cc Indian Power Plus motorcycles equipped with gas headlights. Indians were the high-end motorcycle at the time, selling for $275, and ran Firestone "non-skid" tires.

They arrived in Los Angeles on September 8 after having to contend with poor roads, heavy rains and mud, natural barriers like the Rocky Mountains, and social barriers such as the local police who took offense at their choice of men's clothing. During the ride, they were arrested numerous times, not for speeding but for wearing men's clothes. In Colorado, they became the first women to reach the 14,109-foot summit of Pikes Peak by any motor vehicle. Later on, they became lost in the desert 100 miles west of Salt Lake City and were saved by a prospector after their water ran out. They completed their ride by traveling across the border to Tijuana in Mexico.

Beyond question the Van Burens have made one of the most noteworthy trips ever accomplished, chiefly because they have proven that the motorcycle is a universal vehicle.
 Paul Derkum, Indian Motorcycle Company

Despite succeeding in their trek, the sisters' applications to be military dispatch riders were rejected. Reports in the leading motorcycling magazine of the day praised the bike but not the sisters and described the journey as a "vacation". One newspaper published a degrading article accusing the sisters of using the national preparedness issue as an excellent excuse to escape their roles as housewives and "display their feminine counters in nifty khaki and leather uniforms".

- you reckon that thing will pop a wheelie? We're about to find out, SLAP that pig!
The following users thanked this post: eSKaPe, jaybiker

Offline Bokveld

Re: Motorcycle touring history - Van Buren Sisters
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2019, 08:25:52 pm »
    Merkwaardig.    Inderdaad twee tawwe koekies!

Offline Grunder

Re: Motorcycle touring history - Van Buren Sisters
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2019, 08:38:11 pm »

En ons dink Ewan en Charlie was awesome...

Step aside boys!!

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Offline Pilchie

Re: Motorcycle touring history - Van Buren Sisters
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2019, 09:41:02 pm »
they are the real adventurers
May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live

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Re: Motorcycle touring history - Van Buren Sisters
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2019, 09:54:37 pm »
Daai hoeters op die handlebars is genoeg om mens permanent van balans af te gooi!! :deal: :eek7: :o

Offline jaybiker

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Re: Motorcycle touring history - Van Buren Sisters
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2019, 11:12:56 am »
I'm fascinated by reading stories like this. Some while back on the forum was a story of a British man who toured virtually the whole world in about 1907 on a machine called a Phoenix,
(I think?).

I'd very much like to retrieve that story if I could.
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