Fifty years before Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. (KMC) opened in America, in 1916, Augusta and Adeline Van Buren began a life-altering journey that made history. Starting in Brooklyn, New York and finishing in San Francisco, California, these two sisters became the first women to ride across the continental United States, each on their own motorcycles. Now, 100 years later, these two women will be remembered through a group ride, the Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride, taking place July 4-23, 2016.
The ROK riding club is proud to announce sponsorship of the Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride. Sarah Van Buren, the great-grand niece of the Van Buren sisters, will take part in the event, riding an accessorized Kawasaki Vulcan S cruiser.
“This is a wonderful event and a great cause to be a part of,” said Kevin Allen, manager of public relations at KMC. “It’s also great to be able to provide a Vulcan S motorcycle for Sarah Van Buren to ride, to help her honor her ancestors who paved the way for female motorcyclists.”
Two long time ROK team members, Sue Slate and Virginia Shear, will be helping to lead riders from sea to shining sea. The women will be riding touring motorcycles, a 2016 Kawasaki Versys 650 and a 2016 Concours 14, courtesy of KMC.
“This ride is about growing the ranks of female riders which we know grows the industry overall, making [motorcycling] a family sport. It’s always been our motivation. We want to bring a lot more attention to our female riders,” said Slate. Both are instructors and coordinators for the Motorcycle Safety School and both have been working in the motorcycling industry since 1983, helping to coordinate events and efforts to promote and increase the number of female motorcyclists.
“We want to create a life altering experience for these riders,” said Slate, who helped determine the route for the ride. The route runs through secondary highways and scenic byways, more like the route in the original ride, which happened long before interstate highways connected the regions of the United States. The ride will also venture up Pikes Peak summit and finish with a Grand Finale Party in San Francisco. Other descendants of the Van Buren sisters will be participating in the ride. The ride is “not designed to be an Iron Butt,” it is designed more for sightseeing and building camaraderie and most days consist of around 250-300 mile rides. Significant stops along the route include:
- Brooklyn, New York Ride Launch Party, (July 3)
- Springfield, Massachusetts LAUNCH PARTY (July 4-5)
- Latrobe, Pennsylvania – LINCOLN HIGHWAY EXPERIENCE (July 7)
- Pickerington, Ohio – AMA HALL OF FAME AND AMA VINTAGE DAYS (July 8-9)
- Anamosa, Iowa – NATIONAL MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM (July 11)
- McCook, Nebraska – Community Event (July 13)
- Colorado Springs, Colorado – ROCKY MOUNTAIN MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM (July 15)
- Pikes Peak, Colorado – PIKES PEAK EVENT (July 15)
- San Francisco, California – Grand Finale Party with emcee ERIN HUNTER SILLS (July 23)
The Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle ride will help support two great charities, the Final Salute, INC., a national women’s veterans’ organization, and the Women’s Coalition of Motorcyclists, an organization providing funding for motorcycle train-the-trainer scholarships.
Slate and Shear are not only activists for female motorcyclists, but also serious Kawasaki enthusiasts. They each own both a KLR650 and KLX250 motorcycle, while Slate also owns a Versy 650 touring motorcycle and Virginia owns a Ninja 650 sportbike. “We have a lot of Kawasakis, but there’s always room in the garage for one more,” said Slate.
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