In September 2010, 50 riders participated to an historical 16-day and 3300 mile coast to coast ride on pre-1916 motorcycles. Among them, the only American woman was Cris Sommer Simmons riding “Effie”, her beloved 1915 Harley-Davidson. After a grueling 2-week endurance ride, only 37 riders arrived in Santa Monica and Cris was among them and took 2oth place.
The American Motorcycle Girl’s Cannonball Diary is her very special story from November 2009 when she decided to prepare for the event to September 26, 2010 when she crossed the finishing line onto the Santa Monica Pier.
Riding cross-country on an antique motorcycle presents many challenges, mentally, physically and, of course, mechanically. Cris won all these challenges, before the endurance run when preparing her machine with master antique motorcycle restorer Steve Huntzinge, then on the road supported her Effie Team (Athena Ransom, Toast Boyd, Laura Klock) and of course by her husband Pat Simmons.
Very well written and richly illustrated with the photography of Michael Licher, her book expresses very well the tenacity of all participants, their expertise at maintaining and fixing their cantankerous machines by the side of the road either under pouring rain or by 110F heat, and of course at night between each leg of the run (Wrench-Ride-Repeat.) Because Cris’ daily diary tells a very special story of both human and mechanical endeavor, all those having ridden motorcycle should get a copy, just as a beautiful reminder of what motorcycling is all about. Hardcover, 8 x 8.5 inches, with 192 pages. (ISBN 9781935350163) Autographed copy $36.00. Order online at Cannonball Diary.