Eleven years ago-the Antique Motorcycle Foundation began presenting Leadership Forums bringing together individuals and organizations that play a significant role in vintage motorcycling.
These annual forums are typically two to three hours in length, and are designed to educate and inform old-bike enthusiasts. They usually feature speakers who give their perspective on the issues we face as a community, followed by an open dialogue with those in attendance.
Our 2022 AMF Leadership Forum will be conducted during the AMCA Wauseon National Meet, July 15-17 in Wauseon, Ohio. And for the first time, this forum will focus on an important and often overlooked group within our community, summed up in its title: "The Women of Vintage Motorcycling."
The people in charge of this effort are Dr. Denise Rich-Gross, who serves as AMF Vice President and chair of the committee, along with AMF Director Bob Vail.
The 2022 AMF Leadership Forum
In its previous Leadership Forums, the AMF has never focused upon the role of just women. As we have sought to identify the historical impact of women on the fields of motorcycle competition, exhibition, industry and culture, it has become clear that there is a plethora of women in the vintage-bike field who possess an abundance of knowledge, skill and experience.
Thinking about the involvement of women in motorcycles over the decades really sparked my imagination. Many of us are familiar with the "Motorcycle Chums" series of books published in the 1910s. You can even sometimes find copies for sale at AMCA meets. The adventures of these early riders inspired many young men of the era to consider the possibilities of exploration opened up by this new form of transportation. It makes you wonder what the effect might have been if the fictional Motorcycle Chums were instead a pair of Chumettes, or if the author had chronicled the real-life adventures of Augusta and Adeline Van Buren, sisters who rode a pair of lndian motorcycles 5,500 miles across the U.S. in 1916!
For that matter, we don't have to dig back a century into the past to find the accomplishments of women in the motorcycle field. Within the past dozen years, several women riders have made a name for themselves in the Motorcycle Cannonball endurance run, including Cris Sommer-Simmons, who was the first women rider to take on this cross-country challenge aboard her 1915 Harley-Davidson, and Andrea LaBarbara, who finished fourth in this year's ride on a 1913 Henderson.
Our plan is to bring together individuals who can relate their experiences, share their tips and tricks, and provide inspiration for the women (and men) in attendance. This forum is also designed to encourage women involved in the motorcycle business through networking with people of similar interests. We hope that this gathering of like-minded people will help inspire our next generation of the Women of Vintage Motorcycling!