In 1916, just before the US entered WWI, sisters Augusta (Gussie, age 24) and Adeline (Addie, age 22) Van Buren wanted to prove women could serve as military dispatchers. They rode 5,500 miles in 60 days on motorcycles equipped with gas headlights. Crossing the continental US each on their own bike, wearing military style leggings and leather riding breeches they were arrested numerous times, not for speeding but for wearing men’s clothes.
In 1937 Sally Robinson is an 88 pound, 4’11” tall 27 year old resident of Washington that has been riding since 1928 and wanted to get her motorcycle license. After taking the written test twice with scores of 80 and 92, she must bring her lawyer in order to get the opportunity to take the riding portion. Upon completion the examiner announced “Lady, you handle it as well as any man could” but because he had not seen her kick it over, he would not give her the permit. An article written in the Washington post went on to say that Miss Robinson was embarrassed to admit that she had “cussed him out” but left with her permit in hand.
The year is 1940. After an extensive search, Linda Dugeau and Dot Robinson compile a list of 51 female riders that would make up the Motor Maids Charter membership. In 1941 the American Motorcycle Association issues Charter #509 to the club.
Today, 76 years later, the Motor Maids, are one of the oldest continuously operated Women’s Motorcycling Organization in North America. Joining the Motor Maids will enlarge the 1,300+ membership that is a diverse group with a passion for riding, promoting safe riding habits and showing the world a positive image of ladies on motorcycles.