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Doobie Brother rides Harley across US

Doobie Brothers politics
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.

Doobie Brothers
Cris and her “Buddy”

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.

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Patrick in concert

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.

  1. Love the idea of taking these old girls out for a spin 🙂 Some people wouldn’t dare to ride such old machines around the block let alone across the country. Thanks for the story Mark, never knew this run even existed.

    If I may ask a questions: Does anybody know the ideal route from NY to LA ?

    By ideal I mean taking in the best bike roads AND taking in as many “sighs”, natural or otherwise, as possible. I realise that it’s not possible to see it all in 3 months (that’s what I’ve got) and to ride all the great roads but surely there must be an “ideal” route to maximise the above goal since so many have done this before me !

    Any pointers would be much appreciated.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    1. Joe,
      I wished I had three months to tour the US!
      There are plenty of great motorcycle roads in the US, but basically the best roads are in the mountains and there are two main groups: the Appalachian Mountains in the east and the Rockies in the west. Just about any of the roads in these areas are great. Apart from those areas, you must ride the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Natchez Trace in the south and Big Sur on the west coast. I’m sure there are many others you can do. But if you want the ultimate iconic American experience, ride through the monolithic rock formations of Monument Valley.
      Have a good time, Joe, and please send us some images.
      Any other tips from readers?

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