Cris Sommer-Simmons To Ride Coast To Coast The Cannonball On A 1915 Harley-Davidson

crissommerSimmonsCris wants to be the 1st woman to ride the Motorcycle Cannonball. If you don’t know, this event is a 3200 miles run on vintage motorcycles, the name after Erwin “Cannonball” Baker who set many riding records in the early 1900’s. At the time Erwin made the US coast west coast in just 11 days on roads which were not roads, but mostly dusty trails.

Riding a vintage motorcycle on very long distances is a challenge for both the rider and machine, a test of physical endurance and of performance. Cris will begin the transcontinental run in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina riding a 1915 Harley Davidson. She states that it’s the thrill of her lifetime.

She has been involved with motorcycles since she was 9-years-old when she began riding with her stepfather.  At 14, she was riding on her own and at 19 Sommer-Simmons was the owner of her first Harley Davidson.  She is the co-founder of the magazine Harley Woman, the world’s first motorcycle magazine just for women. She has been a freelance writer contributing to many publications such as American Iron, Motorcycle Collector, Easyriders, V-twin and publications in other countries including Japan, Spain and Australia She also wrote a children’s book that has sold over 12,000 copies titled “Patrick Wants to Ride”. She released “The American Motorcycle Girls 1900-1950” which is currently the number one selling motorcycle history book on Amazon.com. She is also an inductee in the National Motorcycle Hall Of Fame, in the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation and in the Sturgis Hall Of fame (picture by Michael Lichter).

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12 Responses to “Cris Sommer-Simmons To Ride Coast To Coast The Cannonball On A 1915 Harley-Davidson”


  1. 1 Bigalyts Jan 8th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Cris, ride by my House on your way across the Country! I will test your stamina. In fact if you want to ride to my Home before you engage in this great endeavor, I will tell you if you can make the Trip.!!!!!

  2. 2 Gina Woods Jan 8th, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Woo Hoo – Cris when you told me about this several weeks ago I was green with envy! No doubt what so ever you’ll finish and most likely first! Let me know when you are near Chicago – your home town – would love to grab my 48 and ride with you some… hell I’d consider ridng the whole thing… hmmm….do I hear another TV show coming??

  3. 3 Pepper Jan 9th, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Cris is a pioneer and role model, and has been much of her riding career. No doubt she’ll tackle this recent challenge with the same grace and commitment as her other endeavors.
    Best of luck, Cris!

  4. 4 Buzz Kanter Jan 9th, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Good luck on this and look forward to a couple of great weeks on the road with you and our other pals. Hope I don’t need to borrow any spare parts from you as we will both be on 1915 Harleys.

  5. 5 Mike Kiwi Tomas, Kiwi Indian Motorcycles Jan 10th, 2010 at 2:45 am

    This is a cool event and congrats. I believe this is the event that is open to 50 riders. Vintage bikes are cool and riding these early old bikes will be no small challenge by any means. Cannonball Baker was the endurance man when one reads how many miles he covered in so few days over what wasn’t really roads and had to meet up with barges to cross rivers. He is a motorcycle legend. Enjoy the ride.

  6. 6 Ronda Gusinsky Jan 10th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Cris, what a wonderful adventure. I, like many, will be cheering you on! Safe and happy journey!

  7. 7 Weener! Jan 10th, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Cris, as your long time friend I know that whatever you put your mind to, you have always done it and with a flourish. I have no doubt you will accomplish this, as you have already done in so many aspects of your life. You have always challenged yourself and come out on top. I wish you nothing but the best! It would be awesome for Ross and I to see you in Joliet, as you pass by on Rt. 66, ahead of everyone else! Cris, best of luck to you, although I don’t think you’ll need it. Have a wonderful trip. You’ll be telling your grandchildren all about it in years to come! You are creating history!

    Love ya,
    Your friend,
    Linda (aka Weener)

  8. 8 Cris Sommer Simmons Jan 10th, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Thanks for the nice Cannonball plug Cyril. However, there is a typo, the run is to be 3,200 miles, not 320. Though there may be days when I will be wishing it was 320 miles!

    Best,
    Cris

  9. 9 LeftTenant Jan 10th, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    Go Cris, Go!

    Fantastic–I hope to wave at the blur that is the ’15 H-D as you come through NM.

    http://www.motorcyclecannonball.com/routes.shtml DETAILS AT WEBSITE

    Eric
    Rky Mtn Chap: Wind & Fire MC

  10. 10 Curt! Jan 11th, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Best of Luck with the cannonball, Chris. I just love it when old scooters show they can still roll with the best. Best of luck to Buzz and all the rest of those brave souls.
    Ride safe!

  11. 11 Sasha Jan 11th, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Oh this is soooo exciting! Cris, I’ll come cheer you on in Chattanooga! What a tremendous joy this trip will be for you….God bless you, my sister!

  12. 12 stella blue Jan 12th, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Cool idea.

    A question or 2: do you sleep with what you carry or at hotels?
    Carry tools or have a chase entourage?
    Does a rider have to fix and maintain their own vehicle?

    I can’t help but thinking back to two women who traveled across the us alone on mostly unpaved roads, barely a gas station, no phones, hotels, and chase trucks.

    Still sounds fun, but appears to be a rich man’s tour, not a biker/rider one.

    Ok- i read the Cannonball site. Answered my questions. sounds fun, but not quite as hearty as i envisioned.

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