Story by Jim Witters
One hundred years ago, sisters Augusta and Adeline Van Buren made a trek across the country on their motorcycles, riding dirt roads, challenging notions of the traditional role of women and braving the elements on what now would be considered primitive bikes.
This year, five of their descendants are recreating the sisters’ ride from New York to San Francisco. They, with about 70 other riders in tow, arrived on Saturday, July 9 at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, after a Friday night stop at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame and Museum in Pickerington, Ohio.
Their aim is to arrive in San Francisco on July 23 with a pack of 250 riders.
Descendants of the Van Buren sisters at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. Photo by Jeff Guciardo
“This is beyond our wildest expectations,” Sarah Van Buren said of the ride so far. “Not only are we honoring the sisters on the 100th anniversary of their ride–which in and of itself is very cool–but we are riding with hundreds of very accomplished riders, many of whom are women.”
Sarah’s father, Bob Van Buren, said every day of the trip has been packed full of great experiences.
“To see this whole event come to fruition is just amazing,” he said. “We started a website 14 years ago to honor the Van Buren sisters. And my wife, Rhonda, and I rode the route for 90th anniversary. But it was just the two of us. So, to see more than 200 riders cross the Golden Gate Bridge at the end of this ride … Well, it will be magic.”
The other family members along for the trip include Dan Ruderman, Skyler Ruderman and Sofie Ruderman. Also joining the ride is Anna Bottcher, Skyler’s fiancée.
The AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days weekend, July 8-10, also included the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Bike Show presented by Old Bike Barn, the American Motor Drome Wall of Death, a classic motorcycle field meet, demo rides of current production bikes, seminars, live music, raffle bikes and displays of AMA clubs and custom bike builders.
For more about AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, see www.facebook.com/AMAVintageMotorcycleDays.
AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days is a fundraiser for the nonprofit AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Financial contributors include Moto Armory, Nationwide Insurance, Suzuki Motor of America, Federal Motorcycle Transport, Old Bike Barn, Iron Pony/Pony Powersports and Sena Technologies Inc.