The American Motorcycle Girl’s Cannonball Diary by Cris Sommer Simmons

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.

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10 Responses to “The American Motorcycle Girl’s Cannonball Diary by Cris Sommer Simmons”


  1. 1 Ray Mar 30th, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Cyril, do you know if there will be another Cannonball and when?

  2. 2 Rodent Mar 30th, 2012 at 9:01 am

    A great read by one of the top women bikers in the world

  3. 3 Rob Mar 31st, 2012 at 2:09 am

    It’s not all that hard when you have time and $$$$$…………………….

  4. 4 Wiz Mar 31st, 2012 at 3:41 am

    Rob, It’s alot more than time ‘n dough! All the money in the world ain’t gonna help yer ass from hurtin’ ridin’ a rigid all the way across the whole country! Besides that, she ain’t Donald Trump when it comes to the sheckles! She sacrificed/endured/TRIUMPHED!! Dollars to donuts you couldn’t do it!!! Wiz

  5. 5 Rogue Mar 31st, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Way to go Wiz.
    I have the privilege of knowing Chris and many of the others who were involved in the Cannonball and they worked very hard, had long days and dealt with many obstacles.
    Maybe if people read the book they will have a better understanding of what actually went on during the ride.
    Chris is serious about her motorcycling and has a way of putting a story together with facts that makes for interesting reading.
    I am please to say that I did see her while in Daytona and got a copy of her book which she signed for me.

  6. 6 Shifter Mar 31st, 2012 at 7:06 am

    Rob. Shame on you for your comment. Explain to us how money helps. Why don’t you order the book. Read it and I am certain you will change your mind and feel ashamed.

  7. 7 Tom Keefer/ Franklin Church Choppers Mar 31st, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Cant wait to get the book and share it with my 9 year old daughter, maybe I can get an autographed copy for her. It is good to have a positive role model for our kids, shows commitment and perseverance, way to go Chris!!

  8. 8 Tom Mar 31st, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Cool.,,,,

  9. 9 Pepper Massey Apr 2nd, 2012 at 8:13 am

    What an incredible accomplishment, regardless of gender.

    This was an immense challenge and Cris was able to finish through determination, the support of her family and friends, and her passion for motorcycles and the lifestyle.

    Congratulations again for finishing the race, Cris, and for what I’m certain will be another great read!

  10. 10 nicker Apr 8th, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    RE:
    “…Explain to us how money helps…”

    Easy.
    The new-age biker. Other people do EVERYTHING for-em.
    (they don’t gotta know nothing, don’t gotta do nothing. They just pay)
    Not very interesting people, IMHO.

    Such people DON’T Eat, Sleep, Breath, Live & Love Scooter.
    Chris obviously DOES.

    And NO i don’t hate them…. As i see em, they’re simply irrelevant……….. 🙂

    -nicker-

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