By “Dazzlin” Shannon Venturo – SR Moto-Journalist MRN
The Riveter Chapter’s first AMCA-sponsored event was Chix on 66.
This was a motorcycle journey that began on June 10th, 2022 in Milwaukee, WI, at the Harley-Davidson Museum. The Historic Route 66 begins in Chicago, which was the official kick-off across the country with the goal to end at the Santa Monica Pier in 14 days, 2400 miles, and endless memories. Harley Davidson was a title sponsor.
Founder and President of the Riveter Chapter, Karan Andrea, said what began as a “Hey this could be kinda cool” ended up being an epic, iconic endurance run, with 40 women who were strangers on June 10th becoming lifetime friends by June 25th.
40 women motorcyclists, some on vintage bikes, some on newer bikes, sticking to the original alignment where possible, even in sand and gravel on the journey. The 2500-mile route covered between 100 and 300 miles daily. The riders started and ended their days at specific locations but were free to make the ride their own. Their fabulous pictures can be seen all over social media. Riders used a turn-by-turn app so they could follow at their own pace for enjoyment. Karan reiterated that “This is your trip. Make it your own.”
Marjorie Kleiman, a board member, rode her 82 FXR. “I was so happy when we finally started the ride after a year of planning. I’m sad. I’m proud. I’m excited. I’ll be up all night, I am sure. I am so glad it is over, but I don’t want it to be over. But I want to be home but don’t want to go home. It was a beautiful thing. We have all learned so much. We learned about ourselves, what we are capable of, how to push through our fears and anxiety.” Other women spoke about finding parts of themselves that they had lost and pieces of themselves they didn’t know existed. “You are powerful. You can do this.” We heard this repeatedly as we interviewed the ladies in Santa Monica. Roseanne said, “The heat was challenging. How to stay cool and work through blisters on my hands and feet, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Especially interesting to me were two extraordinary ladies I got to catch up with in Santa Monica, as the ride came to an end. Athena “Vagabond Chickie” Ranson and Vivian “Gypsy” Charros rode the entire route providing mechanical and sweep support. Riveter Chapter President Karan Anrea said, “from beginning to end we wanted a couple of female mechanics to inspire women not only to ride but to open up their field of vision to possibilities.”
I could have listened to these two Chix talk for hours, but “Gypsy” literally had to jump back on her bike and head back out onto the road to Alabama. Athena has been riding and wrenching since her teens. Vivian has been fixing and riding bikes since she was 9 years old. Both ladies can wrench on Pans, Shovels, Twin Cams, and Knuckles. Neither are afraid to get their hands dirty. Many of the ladies spoke about how inspired they were by these two. These two up at 5 am and riding sweep until the last rider was in daily. They provided webinars leading up to the beginning of the ride. These gave a baseline of maintenance like tire pressure and oil checks needed for a 2500-mile trek. Emotionally Athena said, “As much as they got from us for inspiration, we got from them. Gender has nothing to do with your passion. That motorcycle doesn’t know if you’re a man or a woman. But it’s like a horse. It carries you through the world and trusts that you will take care of it. It’s as close to God as you can get on earth. This is where your spirituality comes into play on a cross-country trip like this. It’s what are you made of, what’s your resolve, how much are you willing to withstand, how much are you just going to jump in and take it, because it’s not the world looking at you. It’s YOU looking at YOU. And it’s a reflection of who you are. And in the end, you did it. They had support, and they learned they had it in them.
Gypsy finished our interview time together, “It’s paying it forward; someone taught us, so we gave it back. They learned about themselves and their bikes from the beginning of the ride at that first tech check to the last day of the trip, lifelong friendships.” Athena said, “We learned how to take selfies!” So glad I could teach these badass women something!
Kathy Strobele of the Antique Motorcycle Club of American (AMCA ) Riveters Chapter, Ivy Yapelli of Stilettos on Steel, Tricia Szulewski of Women Riders Now, Jason Sims and Jose Torres with the Chase Van, Gina Woods Open Road Radio are just a few of the people that Karan notes as key to supporting the ride. “So many people have helped and supported us through this ride; we are so grateful. I am particularly grateful, though to our riders, my new friends. And I hope each of them got the experience they were looking for, plus some.” You can find a complete list of sponsors at www.chixon66.com
In closing, it was an honor to meet up with these ladies as they rolled into Kingman Az and then again with Gina Woods, Open Road Radio, at the end of the journey in Santa Monica, CA. It made me wish I had the opportunity to ride the entire event with them, and I don’t intend to miss their next one.
Riveter Chapter became the first woman-focused, nationwide chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. This chapter aims to bring female AMCA members together in a single chapter to concentrate their talents, give women motorcyclists an increased awareness of their history, and raise the visibility of women in the sport. By doing so, we will increase women’s understanding of each other and improve connections between women in the sport through visibility and networking. A chapter containing powerful, talented, dynamic women will give all women riders inspiring role models. I think they certainly hit this goal with their amazing Chix on 66 Ride.
Photo credit to Chix on 66 Facebook page as well as to “Dazzlin” – To see all the photos the ladies took, please click here