Archive for February, 2014

February 28, 2014

Friday Jump

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With the momentum of Monday through Friday the weekend is sometimes achieved airborne. Hope the landing on Saturday morning is a soft one… Well at least head on pillow for a bit longer followed by a relaxing cup of tea…

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February 27, 2014

to look for America

” A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”

John Steinbeck (born 112 years ago today)
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Steinbeck wrote of the ‘open road’ and the journey of life people made along its way. His muse was America and a colorful time in her history during the Depression; the roads were dusty, the workers dustier but the pulse keen. In his latter years he took to the highways and byways to see the state of the Union; with a trusty poodle companion named Charley by his side, and a pickup camper as his wheels and abide both.
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Rocinante he named his conveyance, after the man from la Mancha’s steed, and a Quixotic journey was made in 1960 to see with his own eyes how the country was faring.
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A cozy spot to journey from, free of fuss and possession. A mobile hermits cabin to journey unencumbered. It has the air of a motorcycle traveler who needs to be lightfooted ready to follow the unknown road ahead. I could see a younger Steinbeck taking a motorcycle combination on such a journey with pup passenger in the chair rambling along the old Routes from dusty town to dusty town on an Indian or Harley.
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The venture could easily be adapted into a modern exploration of the country, keeping to smaller local routes, allowing time to absorb the immediate realm.
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A bit too sedate… Though nice for an outing to the vintage rally… Parasol, flat-cap and plus-fours speed!
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Here we go! Rocinante II
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“Pack our bags Honey! We’re off exploring!”

February 26, 2014

Of Rod and Reel

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   “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters.”
                      Norman Maclean
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Watching a trials moto negotiate a wet stream reminds me of a fly fisherman reading the waters of a trout plump river. A tremendous book utilizing a thread of the anglers life connecting a man and his brothers story growing up in the cool tree lined canyons of Montana. It is Maclean’s ‘A river runs through it’. A quick read but worth savoring its exquisite language that rolls softly off the page.
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…it’s our pal Ewan McGregor! True Scot, and motorcyclist, fly fishing in the Yemen…
   ..perhaps The Triumph fly lure is needed:
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February 25, 2014

What goes up must come down…

Yet more deft action in the nimble hands of experienced trials riders here the diminutive Triumph Cub can certainly perform. Whether up steep tree rooted slope or down the other side a balanced technician can handle an appropriately set-up Tiger with obvious aplomb.
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February 24, 2014

Braw brae

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Here are a few photographs showing modern trials riders clambering up the wet and rocky footpaths above Kinlochleven. They are all on Triumph Cubs and look as though they are enjoying the outing. I have trekked many a mile up the Scottish bens on foot but would love to experience these ways aboard an old trials moto.
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Cloudy skies typical of Scottish weather don’t dampen spirits here. I can smell the heather clad slopes from here and the salty air drifting up  from the loch beyond.
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The images are really giving me some inspiration for my own Triumph Cub trials motorcycle currently in the works. Though I would wear more period garb: such as army boots, cotton twill trousers tied up at the ankles, wool shirt, leather riding gloves and a flat cap. Although the cap me have to be swapped out for a tidy white open face brimm’d helmet. Waxed leggings and jacket obviously optional for typical ‘fair droukit’ Scottish weather.
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February 23, 2014

Tiger Trials: of mud, stone, grass, log & stream

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George Greenland in 1958 at an XHG Tigers event, the Priory Trophy trial, riding Des Smallshaw’s very tidy Tiger Cub special. The XHG were dispatch riders from the 7th Hants Home Guard and the tiger Club formed in 1945 and are still going strong. Hampshire being on the south coast would have been very busy during the war years and I’m sure there were plenty of DR riders haring to and fro along the country lanes back then.

February 23, 2014

Trial Man

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Johnny Giles, Triumph rider, seen here on his works Cub in the 1962 Perce Simon trial organized by the Ringwood club. Johnny was a preeminent off-roader seeing numerous ISDT’s including the infamous ’64 one riding in the British team. Eventually claiming twelve gold medals and six silver over a decade and a half. Here he is; a hale eighty-odd year old, looking forever youthful on a McQueen Trophy special…
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Good form: a latter sixties period image of him running a 490cc Triumph in Germany’s Six Day.
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If it had two wheels and a Triumph badge on the tank then Giles was your man!

February 22, 2014

My Heart is in the Highlands

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

Chorus.-My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains, high-cover’d with snow,
Farewell to the straths and green vallies below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.

Robert Burns (1759-1796)

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Ray Sayer on Loch Eilde Path in 1959. What a stunning photograph with Loch Leven beyond, Kinlochleven below and the magnificent Aonach Eagach ridge overlooking to the south.

February 21, 2014

Friday’s Equation

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Easy arithmetic and a sum worth aiming for. Well the end of the week IS The Great Escape!
“American moonshine: don’t smoke right after you drink it!”

February 20, 2014

ISDT ’64

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Fifty Years Ago…

Photo of USA Team Triumph Riders #278 – Steve McQueen and #276 – Cliff Coleman at the International Six Day Trials. Usually this event is seen in black and white but these images in living Kodachrome give this a vigor that feels younger than the half century of time passed. The Triumph Trophy #278 itself is at Johnson Motors in California.
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Here’s the bike post trials… All photos by François Gragnon

February 19, 2014

Seven Guns

Aka The Seven Samurai. John Sturges western remake of the Akiro Kurosawa classic Shinchinin no Samurai. 七人の侍 
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This was a big production with notable actors playing the hired guns: Yul Brynner, Brad Dexter, Charles Bronson, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn and introducing Horst Bucholtz. Eli Wallach was the antagonist Calvera running the bandits. Oh, and of course Steve McQueen.
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Steve and Yul were Vin Tanner and Chris Adams respectively. A great pairing with Colt, Winchester or ‘pepper gun’.
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Riding? Yep on four legs not two wheels but I bet he had a 500 Triumph desert sled handy between shoots.
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V for Victory? When asked about the progress of village preparations Vin replies:
” Reminds me of that fella back home who fell off a ten-story building. As he was falling, people on each floor kept hearing him say, “So far, so good.” Heh, so far, so good.”

February 19, 2014

The Model of Coolness

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A pair of McQueen detailed models based on the Hilts character. Both authentic in appearance including his subtle scowl. Clothing and boots perfect too. Indeed Ray Harryhausen could have used this for a stop motion filming if the infamous fence jump had Bud Ekins not stepped in to do it!

February 17, 2014

‘Ives, what do you call a mole in Scotland?”

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“A mole.”
A neat tee! Army green ready to tunnel with the best of ’em and pound your baseball on the cooler wall. Triumph name too. Waiting for more reasonable Target prices. Sixty bucks for a T-shirt IS a bit steep!

February 16, 2014

Cooler King

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This iconic image from The Great Escape says it all: Hilts, Moto, Germans. Well someone in the Chicago area has s recreated Triumph TR6 TGE bike that is available for purchase.
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Including HALT sign, all you’d need is a barbed wire fence and Swiss border. And somewhere to tote your baseball glove…. And wirecutters .
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Back to the moto: it a very clean mechanical recreation in gunmetal grey to look like a German wartime beemer. Which is what Bud Skins did for the movie. A wee bit of artistic license to maintain coolness; I’m fine with that!
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February 15, 2014

Cool!

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