At 2 stages from arrival on the Pier of Santa Monica, it’s time to give a special tribute to the only 2 women of the Cannonball. On the left, American Cris Sommer Simmons, riding “Effie” her beloved 1915 Harley-Davidson, (Class 3) And on the right German Katrin Boehner riding the oldest motorcycle of the Run, a 1907 J.A.P. (Class 1). No doubt that both women are going to complete the cross country ride this Sunday and consequently have their names enter history books and become the absolute reference for all lady riders looking for role models.
Cris Sommer Simmons is co-founder of Harley Women, the first women’s motorcycle magazine, is a freelance motorcycle writer/photographer. and a three-time Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee, In 2009 she authored the best seller “The American Motorcycle Girls, 1900-1950” still the #1 motorcycle pictorial book sold on Amazon. Her Cannonball motorcycle is named “Effie” as a tribute to a young woman named Effie Hotchkis who 95 years ago decided she wanted to travel coast to coast. She purchased a 1915, 3 Speed V-Twin Harley-Davidson with some money she had inherited, but her mother Avis told her she couldn’t make that trip alone because it was too risky. Mother and daughter agreed that Effie would buy a sidecar, and Avis would make the trip with her. It took them 2 months to travel from Brooklyn, NY to San Francisco, California. Young lady Effie had dipped her toes into the water of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. At the start of the Cannonball in North Carolina, Cris Sommer Simmons filled a small jar with some water from the Atlantic ocean that she carries in one of her saddlebags during all the Run. On Sunday, at arrival in Santa Monica, she will pour this water on the Pacific Ocean…Cris Sommer-Simmons has an all ladies supporting crew (Athena Ramson, Laura Klock & Toast) plus her husband Pat. As of Friday evening September 24th, her 1915 Harley-Davidson ranks 14th in Class 3, and 20th overall.
Katrin Boehner is a German woman who surprised all Cannonballers by taking the number one position during the first 2 days of the Run. She rides a 1907 J.A.P., a motorcycle produced by a small English manufacturing company founded in 1859 by John Alfred Prestwich (explaining the abbreviation J.A.P.) The bike is a single speed motorcycle with no clutch, gear driven, requiring to be pushed by running alongside to get it started! Katrin does her acrobatic start several times a day especially on steep hills! I hear that it’s quite a spectacle seeing this little woman pushing her motorcycle, running with it until it gets started with the final jump on the saddle while the bike is in movement. With her husband Dieter Echel, also in the Run riding a BSA, they will be the 1st European couple completing the motorcycle Cannonball. As of today, Katrin is leading Class 1 and is 17th overall,
These 2 women are an inspiration not only for her fellow lady riders but for all motorcyclists around the world. On Sunday on the Santa Monica Pier, please give them a special ovation for their exceptional courage and dedication to our sport. (photography courtesy Martin Two feather)
10 riders have ridden all the 2958 miles since the start September 10th. 2 Excelsior years 1913 & 1914 still leading the group. Riders arrived in Laughlin, Nevada. Below the updated ranking at end of stage 14. Two more stages to go before arrival in Santa Monica, CA.