Archive for the “Traveling Triumph” Category

Rob said it first and said it perfectly. “You own a Triumph, a spectacularly classic motorcycle…” His blog documents those words, and when someone wants to know what kind of bike I own, I steal those words exactly. Thanks for that.

I woke up first thing Saturday morning so I could polish my bike before hitting the road around 9am. After making sure I could see a flawless reflection in every piece of chrome, and all the black hadn’t a single water drop’s residue, I was ready to spend some time riding. The weekend previous, I had changed the oil, tightened and lubed the chain, and did a general tune up in preparation. The maintenance was complete, as was the zen that accompanies. I could ride worry free in the pilgrimage with my fellow riders.

I led the way for the other 2 riders behind me first through mountain roads, then through the desert. There were snow-capped mountains along the horizon, and winds sometimes blowing so hard that the bike was leaning against it to keep a straight line. I was in awe of some of the scenery, the landscapes looked appropriate for a movie set. I felt honored to live in it, and made it my own. I would’ve stopped for some photos had I not been a guide for the friends. We were on our way to check out the vintage bike street races at the Willow Spring racetrack in Rosamond, CA, flowing fast down the roads, stopping only for petrol.

We arrived, pulling in Willow Springs and paying our dues, just in time to catch the thunderous take off of the 250 cc class. As the commentator said, “These are some old bikes going really… really… fast.” And they were.

After watching the first race, I continued to the vintage bike exhibit. These bikes were some of the rarest of the rare. There was the fully customized along side of stock originals that deserved places in museums, not for historic reasons, but as art. Running, rocking, art. These Triumphs, Nortons, BSAs, Moto Guzzis, BMWs, Harleys, Tritons were magnificent to see, even standing still. But the show-stoppers were the ones still track-bound.

The bike below is a very fast, very clean, very rare Vincent. And yeah, it still sees the track, it still races. The owner, a worn middle aged man told be very honestly that “these bikes were meant to be raced under the sun, not sitting under fluorescent lights in a showroom.” Respect.

After soaking up a few more the races, it was time for the long ride home. This time the desert ride first, then the mountains. The sun was beginning to set along the last stretch of the mountain ridge as I was getting back to my familiar terrain. With cold knees and numb fingers, I arrived home and hopped in a hot shower for as long as it took.

After the long day of riding I still made it to a rooftop party in Encinitas.

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Yesterday was another perfect day in California, with ideal conditions for a motorcycle ride. I was invited to a party in the park, where slosh ball was the main attraction. I wasn’t out to drink, so I just went down to hang out for a little while, and to go for a ride with a destination in mind. I took some great back roads that I have never ridden, and found myself going way too fast, and having way too much fun. But that’s not the point of the story.

About 30 minutes into the ride, I was slowing to a stop at a red light sneaking in between the line of cars waiting on a red signal on the 101, when I felt a shake on my bike. This isn’t uncommon on a motorcycle, especially when riding the white line. It is usually because of imperfections in the road and the reflectors that lie along the white dashes. This felt a little different, though. When I finally came to a stop in front of the line of cars, the ground was shaking very noticeably, rocking my bike back and forth from under my grip. If I wasn’t wearing my helmet, I would have screamed “EARTHQUAKE!” It’s a very humbling experience; there is nothing to do except wait it out. With most other natural phenomenons, you can find an easy out by acting fast, and moving fast. If you see a tidal wave coming your way, run in the opposite direction. If lightning is all around, slide down off that flagpole. If a hurricane is in your path, hop in the bathtub. But the most you can do when an earthquake hits is to find a door jam to stand under, and that’s a pretty inefficient way to ride it out. So while the quake was shaking the ground I was under, I just watched the lamp posts, and signal lights to make sure they weren’t going to come crashing down.

The earthquake registered a magnitude 7.2 on the Richter scale, and because it was along the beginning of the fault, triggered dozens of much smaller shakes throughout the rest of the day. The amount is really amazing. The big yellow square in the bottom-right is the earthquake that I experienced while on my Triumph.

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Now that I think about it, I might run for my armored motorcycle jacket, gloves, and helmet during the next quake. Lets hope that I don’t get stuck under a pile of rubble that used to be my house, though. If that does happen, I’d like someone out there to re-name the site Destroyed By Earthquake.

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After almost a year and a half of enjoying life from the handlebars of my Triumph Bonneville, I have hit the 10,000 mile mark. Those of you who don’t own a motorcycle wouldn’t know it, but this amounts to a level of riding that most motorcyclists do not reach even after several years of riding. Perhaps it is the year round beautiful riding weather, or the many avenues of scenic routes along the coast and in the mountains, but I am still riding on.

I hit 10,000 miles yesterday on my way to watch the Eagles Monday Night Football game at a local bar. With the time difference, it was about 5:00 pm, and the sun was starting to make it’s way down to the horizon. I slowed the bike down upon reaching 9,999.9 miles and pulled over just as the odometer rolled over to 10. I was cruising above the coast line, with a beautiful view of miles of beach. The sun was glistening over the ocean, as if alerting us that it’s nearly time to wrap up the day. And I was standing on top of it all. After snapping a few pictures to capture the memory and feeling, I rode on.

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I went on a long motorcycle ride yesterday with a couple of friends. We drove east to Julian, a town that looks like it hasn’t changed in the past 50 years. The town consists of one main strip with little diners, saloons, cafes, and they all stake claim to having the best pie in town. Julian is known for 2 things. The first is delicious pie. The second is the windy roads to get to the town. I didn’t go for pie.

Every weekend thousands of bikes take control of these back roads to get a taste of wind in your face, leaning far back and forth as you ride through the exciting hilly curves. Sometimes its a little scary, and a ton of fun. I pushed my little Triumph about as hard as possible to keep up with the crotch rocket riding partners. Upon arriving in Julian, I was recognized for being able to not only keep up, but to also handle the Triumph better than they thought possible.

I have serviced and have been riding the Triumph more than usual as of recent to prepare for a few trips. The planned trips will take more than an afternoon’s dedication, and should bring some pretty cool photos for the blog. More importantly, though, they will bring a little adventure to my life. That’s what I live for.

If you’re wondering where the inspiration for finding these motorcycle adventures comes from, throw Long Way ‘Round in your queue. It’s a fantastic series from a few years back. You will recognize and respect the riders, and be inclined to hop in your car to go somewhere. If you end up really enjoying the series, then check out Long Way Down and Race To Dakar. If they don’t inspire you to seek adventure, nothing will.

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