Since 2002, we, the Van Buren family, have been promoting the ideals and accomplishments of our ancestors, the Van Buren sisters. Why, because they are so unique in history. An empowering upbringing in New York City gave them the tools to be strong, independent, and educated as they embarked on an attempt to change the world.
The Sisters Story
The role of the horse was being transferred to the motorcycle and Augusta and Adeline immersed themselves in riding. Their intent was to use that vehicle and their new found skills as riders to push the envelope for women’s contribution to society.
This would come to fruition by successfully completing a solo ride from NYC to California. If they could do that, given the harsh realities of the roads of the day and the fact that they were two women riding alone, then they could serve in the US Army as motorcycle couriers. Everyone knew that the war in Europe would eventually draw the US into the fight.
They left Brooklyn in early July and arrived in San Diego in early September. The Lincoln Highway was their intended route but in those days it was mostly just an idea, a line on a map. Dirt roads, either full of ruts or transformed into mud, was the reality. They proceeded, got lost, fell off their bikes, got mired in mud, ran out of water in the desert, and had to hike to the nearest town for help. Two young women riding alone who were never bothered or accosted by the people they met, only helped and protected. Maybe the world 100 years ago was a better place.
The details of this journey were thoroughly described in Grace and Grit, written by our friend Bill Murphy, and published in 2012 by Arbutus Press.
We grew up hearing the stories my Dad told us about Aunt Gussie and Aunt Addie’s prowess. Now, we will join other descendents of the Van Buren sisters and replicate the original ride. Our purpose is twofold; Ride for women in motorcycling and the military, and fundraise for our wounded veterans. The details of those connections are currently in discussion.