Archive for ‘History’

February 19, 2019

Not a BMW

Cooler King – slim chinos, cut down sweatshirt, cigarette and Persol shades: he epitomizes Cool. A Triumph TR-6 dresses up to look German hits the mark too.

February 14, 2019

“Helen, I think we took a wrong return at Aylesbury.”

No. 1 Corinthian Arch – this year is the 60th birthday of the classic small British car: the Mini. So the blog will periodically dip into the history of the coolest vehicle ever devised. It beats the Beetle, dashes the Deux Chevaux, sinks the Cinquecento. I like this photo for the black and white photojournalist look as well as the Arch at Stowe where my wife live IN for a summer back in the mid-nineties.

February 3, 2019

Heartbeat

The Day The Music Died – Sixty years ago today a small aircraft took off from Mason City Iowa flying into winter conditions with poor visibility and crashing near Clear Lake killing all on board. Of course this was Buddy Holly 22, Richie Valens 17, and JP Richardson (The Big Bopper) 28; as well as the pilot.

Waylon Jennings gave his seat up on the flight to Richardson.

In regards to Buddy and his love of motorcycles; here in Jennings’ words:

They loved Marlon Brando in ‘The Wild One,’ and when they got to Dallas…they decided on the spur of the moment to buy motorcycles and drive back home on them.” Waylon recalled. “They took a cab into the city and walked into a Harley-Davidson shop. They had their eyes on a trio of 74-inchers, but the proprietor didn’t think they had any money and treated them like a bunch of bums. ‘Hell, you boys couldn’t even begin to handle the payments on that.

Then they went over to Miller’s Motorcycles, which specialized in English bikes. There, Joe B (Maudlin, the Crickets’ then-bass player), and J.I. (Allison, the drummer) bought a Triumph each, a TR6 and Thunderbird, respectively, while Buddy picked out a maroon and black Ariel Cyclone, with a high compression 650cc Huntsmaster engine. They paid cash, bought matching Levi jackets and peaked caps with wings on them, and rode home through a thunderstorm.”

January 24, 2019

Toon Time

The Hill – climbing up from the historic and commercial center of Newcastle is Westgate Road. It literally was the west gate of the medieval town that following the line of the older Hadrians Wall towards the sunset. Its role as a meeting spot for travelers is therefore ingrained. For several decades it has been the popular venue for motorcycle gatherings centered around the numerous bike shops, chippy’s and cafes. I remember as a wee un coming down from North Northumberland twice a year to go to see an ophthalmologist at the General Hospital at the top of the road. My mother and I would take a bus from the City Center to the appointment and I’d look out of the window at the bikes; exciting stuff for a young lad! It’s popularity is waning but there are some stalwarts holding the flame aloft for any roaming bikers needing an excuse to gawp at new models; or enjoy a lunch at a greasy spoon washed doon wi’ a mug o’tea.

January 23, 2019

Pheon

Ten Past Ten – Smiths are the clocks used on vintage British motor vehicles. Speedometers for velocity measurement and Tachometers for engine revolutions. Here’s a fine timepiece from the watchmakers at Smiths chronometers in military styling. They were a staple for British soldiers in WW2, wrapped the wrist of Sir Edmund Hillary as he summited Everest and an alternative to the Swiss Made items such as Rolex.

A detailed description of the face:

“The black dial features a somewhat traditional aviator configuration found on numerous mil-spec watches: a legible hours index with a triangle at 12, sword hands, and an outer railroad track for the minutes. Right under 12 is the “SMITHS” logo and an encircled T indicating the presence of tritium. Above 6 is the pheon (broad arrow), the official mark designating property issued by the British government dating back to the 17th century. Right below 6 along the inner perimeter of the minutes track is a proud “MADE IN ENGLAND,” a small element that differentiates the W10 from scores of other mil-spec watches.”

January 1, 2019

Trifuno

Cuba – Triumph of the Revolution (Triunfo de la Revolución) – 1st of January marks the anniversary of the victory of the Cuban Revolution by Fidel Castro in 1959. We travelled there in 2003 on a Cultural Exchange program between the US and Cuba.

It would be a tremendous adventure to travel across the island on two-wheels.

November 11, 2018

The Memory of Loss

Armistice- on this day One Hundred years ago saw the end of hostilities of The Great War. A global conflict whose influence ripples to this day. Tragic in outcome; it saw the loss of a generation through industrialized warfare, epidemic disease, boundary reconfiguration, and political & societal upheaval.

October 9, 2018

Instant Karma!

Imagine – John Lennon would have been 78 today. “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted.

July 21, 2018

Moonshot

One Small Step – 49 years ago today saw the monumental combined effort of thousands who achieved the seemingly impossible task of landing men on the moon and returning them safely back to earth. Neil, Buzz and Mike were those men and Apollo was their craft.

July 4, 2018

Fat City

Freak Power – another Coloradan piece of folk lore was the 1970 election for Sheriff in Aspen which included on the ballot Gonzo reporter extraordinaire Hunter S Thompson whose goal was to shake-up the incumbent conservative leaders. Though unsuccessful it did pave the way for liberal reformation later that decade.

June 6, 2018

Operation Neptune

D-Day June 6th 1944 saw the landing of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force along the Normandy coastline. The beachhead that saw the beginning of the invasion of mainland Europe to free its people from the clutches of Nazi occupation.

This Triumph mage shows some dispatch riders disembarking from a Landing Craft Tank LST with their Matchless G3/L’s onto one of the beaches. Everyone arrived with wet feet and many under a hail of bullets.

June 5, 2018

Cinnéide

June 5 1968 – Senator Robert ‘Bobby’ Kennedy was shot on the campaign trail for President of the United States. Just five years after his brother Jack, and two short months after Rights activist Martin Luther King. The event rang an ominous peal in the events of ’68 which saw the country turn on itself in political, social, civil, and military turmoil. He was a beacon of a bright future that the US so desperately needed.

Here someone had created chopper art with RFK gunning a double vee-twin drag bike named after his wife Ethel.

I have an idea for a novel: Jack & Bobby weren’t assassinated, the moon landings continued, Vietnam was a short military skirmish, John Jr is current a President and the Soviet Union is still in place… that’s the alternative historical context.. I just need a seed for a storyline…

May 19, 2018

Blue Blood

Royalty – with the wedding of Harry & Meghan earlier today I thought I’d look at the Windsor’s and compare them with their corresponding Triumph. Queen Mother? Model H, old world classic, suitable for a day at the races. Prince Philip? A German TWN 2 Stroke – the European Triumph. QE2? Easy, a ’59 Bonnie; timeless classic. Princess Margaret? The racy Thruxton, Charles? The too-little-too-late Trophy 250.

William & Harry? The new Triumphs! 675 Daytona or T120 Bonneville. Next generation.

May 17, 2018

The Rocket

A Full Head of Steam – Fill the boiler, stoke the fires, crank the flywheel, spin the governor. The Age of Steam Power fed the Industrial Revolution the explosion of society that would eventually become modern times. Some inventive folk like to adorn Victorian garb and assume an air of a contemporary age still driven under James Watt’s engines. Steampunk! Here’s a custom Triumph Triple set up as as if it were a 19th Century era Motorcycle.

May 1, 2018

Power to the People

Red Square – center of the socialist world. May 1st celebrates the workers of the world and their stand for the rights of the laboring class. Started after the Haymarket Affair in Chicago which occurred after striking action for an 8 hour day turned into a riot. The Ural combinations ride in a formal line through Moscow in 1951. Soviet era banners fly from the GUM department store behind.