Ride on sister!

Photo courtesy of the Van Buren Family

One hundred years ago, when the United States was preparing to enter World War I, two gutsy women wanted to participate and sign up as dispatch riders. However, the U.S. forces weren’t so sure that people who weren’t men were up for anything more than making tea and typing letters.

Sisters Augusta and Adeline Van Buren were determined to show they could be just as good at dispatch riding as the men, so they set out to cross the continent on their 1,000 cc Indian motorcycles as proof. Many of the roads were unpaved, and they almost ran out of water in the Utah desert, but they made it.

Map courtesy of sistersmotorcycleride.com / Main photo courtesy of the Van Buren Family

This Sunday, July 3, the Sisters’ Centennial Motorcycle Ride kicks off in Brooklyn to celebrate their accomplishments and commemorate an event that was pivotal in advancing women’s rights and motorcycle touring.

More than 100 women riders will follow the Van Burens’ 1916 route to San Francisco as closely as possible. They’ll accomplish in three weeks, with a lot more comfort, what took Augusta and Adeline 62 days in often grueling conditions. Community events are planned along the way.

And Canada Moto Guide will be there, of course. Liz Jansen will be joining the group on July 7 in Greensburg, PA., and riding a Victory motorcycle to Columbus, OH. where the  AMA is celebrating Vintage Motorcycle Days.

“I’m thrilled and curious,” says Liz, “and looking forward to learning more about our motorcycle heritage, meeting and riding with many modern-day role models, and gaining a better understanding of the legacy left by the Sisters.”

And we’re thrilled and curious to know she’s there. Watch for her story when she returns from Ohio. In the meantime, follow the ride on the Sisters’ Motorcycle Ride Facebook page.


  1. […] Astute, principled, and patriotic, the sisters recognized their best chance to serve was to become motorcycle messengers, but they had to prove themselves first. So in 1916, as the U.S. was preparing to enter World War I, they rode their Indian motorcycles across the continent, from New York to San Francisco, becoming the first women to do so. Read more about them here. […]

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