Patrick Simmons and his wife with their 1929 Harley
Founding Doobie Brothers guitarist Patrick Simmons will be “rockin’ down the highway” on a vintage Harley across America next month in the third biennial Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run.
Patrick will ride his 1929 Harley-Davidson JD called “Norge” more than 4100 miles (6500km) from Daytona, Florida, to Tacoma, Washington, from September 5-21. It’s called Norge because of its similar blue colour similar to Norge refrigerators once popular in the 1950s.
He will be accompanied by his wife, Cris, on a 1934 Harley-Davidson, named after its previous owner, well-known Hollywood stunt man Bud Ekins who performed the famous jump scene in “The Great Escape” movie for actor Steve McQueen. “Pat bought the bike from Bud many years ago and I stole it from Pat in 1993, vowing to ride it ‘someday’,” says Cris.
“Cris and I are excited, and so ready to head out on the 2014 Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run,” Patrick says in an official Doobies press release. “We have been working on our bikes for over a year now.”
The Hawaiian duo will raise money in the run for Stand Up for Cancer in honour of their son, Pat Jr., who successfully battled testicular cancer last year. Cris, who is a member of the National Motorcycle Hall of Fame, participated in the inaugural ride in 2010, finishing 20th out of 45 riders. She was the only female rider in the pack. This year there are three other women participating.
Cris has released a book, “The American Motorcycle Girl’s Cannonball Diary”, which chronicles her transcontinental adventures with “Effie,” the 1915 Harley-Davidson she rode during the inaugural Cannonball Run. Cris also tagged along to help the sweep crews for the 2012 Cannonball.
It is Patrick’s first time in the run.
Several of the Doobie Brothers line-up are motorcycle riders, a point they made to rousing applause when they played at the Harley 110th anniversary celebrations last year. Their early and little-known hit, Road Angel, was also featured on MotorbikeWriter’s top 10 road songs, thanks to its motivating rhythm, gear-shift chord progression and lyrical references such as “I was ridin’ down that highway, silver Harley by my side.”
Patrick has been on tour with the band and recording their new album, “Southbound” which features re-workings of their top hits alongside some of country music’s biggest stars, including Blake Shelton, Zac Brown Band, Sara Evans, and Brad Paisley.
He will return to the road with the band after the Cannonball Run.
The Cannonball Run began in 2010 as a ride to showcase the restoration and power of antique motorcycles built before 1915. It has since evolved into a cross-country endurance ride held every other year with over 100 participants, which now includes bikes built before 1936.