Marjorie Kleiman, longtime editor and contributor at Thunder Press known affectionately as “Shadow,” is helping promote the Chix on 66 cross-country ride. It begins at the Harley-Davidson Museum on June 10 and will travel through Chicago and on to the legendary Route 66. The 40 women motorcyclists will ride classic vintage machines, ending up in Santa Monica, California on June 26. Shadow tells us that riders will now enjoy mechanical support from an all-female crew. Read the press release below for more information.
February 8, 2022—Riveter Chapter of the AMCA proudly announces that Athena “Vagabond Chickie” Ransom and Vivian “Gypsy” Charros have agreed to join the Chix on 66 ride as our all-female motorcycle support crew.
Chix on 66 is a cross-country ride that follows Route 66 from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, from June 11 through June 25, 2022. Athena and Gypsy will ride the entire Chix on 66 route along with us, providing mechanical support in the event that any participant’s motorcycle needs a repair, whether it’s a fouled spark plug, wiring problem, or anything else that can be fixed on the side of the road. This service, in conjunction with the sweep support provided by Jason Sims of the Cross Country Chase/Motorcycle Cannonball, will offer riders the security of having backup support for mechanical problems that may arise.
Riveter Chapter President Karan Andrea says, “From the beginning, as we were talking about this ride, we wanted a couple of female mechanics to provide support on the road. This goes right along with the intent of this ride, which is to inspire women, not just to ride, but to broaden their vision of what is possible. They can ride a vintage bike, they can learn to service that bike, they can develop mechanical skills. Having Athena and Gypsy provide mechanical support on this ride will inspire all of us, myself included. When women see other women do these things, they begin to believe it is possible for themselves. I am so grateful that Athena and Gypsy are taking time away from their lives and businesses to join us for Chix on 66.”
Athena Ransom, who has been riding and wrenching on motorcycles since her teens, learned her craft from her “guy” at the time, back in 1982, and through her job at a racing legend’s aftermarket shop. She is the founder/owner/lead tech at Vagabond Chopper in Pompano Beach, Florida. As part of the Chopper Chick Crew, and the lead crew member of Cris SommerSimmons’ Motorcycle Cannonball team in 2010, Athena has put to use her extensive experience with building, servicing, and maintaining bikes. She currently hosts the Athena After Dark podcast, featuring various women in the motorcycle industry.
Athena states, “I’m so honored to be able to participate in the Chix On 66 Adventure and provide mechanical support to women riders who are ready to take the iconic ride along Route 66. The lessons learned about motorcycles and my past encounters with parts and people proved to be the driving force to a passion-based career in the motorcycle world that I am grateful for daily. It is super exciting to provide support along with my esteemed colleague, the legendary Ms. Gypsy Charros with whom I’ve had the great pleasure of partnering with on incredible motorcycle endeavors. Participants’ preparedness will be key and through multiple platforms we will build confidence and motorcycling memories.”
Vivian “Gypsy” Charros’ mom forbid her to ride the neighborhood boys’ dirt bikes when she was 9 years old. So, she did what any good Catholic girl would do in that situation…she lied. The inevitable crashes and bruising and abrasions happened. Hiding the injuries from mom was a snap. Fixing the bikes on 9-year-old’s salary was challenging and taught her wrenching basics and creative engineering. Those days prepared her for when she got her 1973 Harley FLH in 1977 that needed a total rebuild before it was road worthy. Since then, she’s had Pans, Shovels, Twin Cams, and a custom Knuckle and got her hands dirty on all of them.
She was a freelance writer that evolved into a columnist and staff writer position with Thunder Press magazine that gave her a valid excuse to ride thousands of solo miles. She’s been a Harley-Davidson dealership parts manager, builder, winner of a Discovery Channel Biker-Build-Off trophy, and (her favorite accolade) a member of the Chopper Chick Crew along with Athena “Chickie” Ransom. Gypsy says, “I’m thrilled to be partnered up again with Athena on this exciting, legendary ride. I look forward to traveling Route 66 in its entirety, and welcome the opportunity to not only provide support for the other women riders, but inspire confidence in wrenching on their own rides.”
In the months prior to the start of Chix on 66, all riders and staff will be invited to participate in a series of online seminars addressing topics such as how to prepare one’s motorcycle for a 2,400-mile ride, what tools and gear to bring, what you should know about your bike, and more. These seminars will be announced in the near future.