I’d been riding bikes for almost 10 years before I learned anything about women’s motorcycle history… It doesn’t help that the media rarely shares women’s bike stories, and it’s so much easier to find dudes to ride with!
"it's so easy to ride even a woman can do it" - motorcycle magazine, 1916
The best thing about women’s motorcycle history is that women have been riding bikes for as long as motorcycles have been around. Awesome, right? Augusta and Adeline rode their motorcycles across the United States in 1916, before women even had the right to vote!
Speaking of the right to vote, Augusta and Adeline Van Buren were a huge part of the fight for women’s rights. In 1916 North America was getting ready to join the war and with everyone feeling patriotic and ready to do whatever they could to help in the fight, the Van Buren sisters were ready to do their part.
Their historic 5 500 mile ride across the country was not just any road trip.
The sisters set out to prove to the US Military that women could be of significant use on the battlefield if allowed to serve as dispatch riders, delivering urgent orders and messages between headquarters and military units.
So, Augusta and Adeline set out on their trans continental journey as a way to prove that women were up to the challenge.
In 1916, there was essentially one road to follow across the US, roads weren’t paved and there weren’t even maps of the whole country. On top of that, the Van Buren sisters would need to do any repairs on their own along the way. Dispatch riders were expected to carry any spare parts they may need and know how to use them when necessary. This ride would prove to be Augusta and Adeline’s training ground.
Throughout the sisters’ 5 500 mile ride they encountered bandits, got lost in the desert and crossed mountain passes - through the kind of mud that stops your tires spinning. They once had to walk for hours to find help and it took a whole crew of Miners to get the bikes moving again!
When we call these sisters “badass” we’re not kidding! They fought through so many cultural barriers and genuinely survived an epic trip across the country in a time when women wouldn’t even have a bank account!
The spirit of these women is what fuels our company and what we hope to inspire in you -- tough, badass, independent -- on and off the bike.