Motorcycle showman extaordinaire ~ Evel dominated the stunt world of riding through several decades, fans eagerly waiting for him to jump cars, buses, fountains, and the Snake Canyon. With star spangled cape flying, there always seemed to be some sort of spill on the landing ramp, stretcher borne exit and shaky 'thumbs up' from the rider who, I'm sure, introduced many a boy to the daredevil world of motorcycling. Where does Triumph come in? Well one of his most famous jumps was over the fountain at Caesers Palace in Las Vegas NV. He rode a Bonneville 650.
Triumph even commemorated the 40th anniversay of the stunt with a special: a sweet looking version of their Scrambler model. High pipes, shortened mudguards and I'm sure a ripping twin sound.
Here's one of the original 650's on display.
Another on a workstand...
Now, any boy growing up in the mid-seventies yearned for the popular Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle. I had the chopper. Rev up the 'energizer' and watch him go. Ramps were set up in schoolyards, across back lawns and along the streets. My figure of Evel suffered a fractured ankle: a piece of the wire armature poked through the thick rubber skin. Much like the real guy!
Advertising with comic strip type graphics lured the Marvel, DC, 2000AD crowd...
Smaller die-cast bikes also apeared; raced alongside my Britains bikes. These modelled after Harley Davidsons, his latter s'steeds'. Now, honestly if you were going to jump over things would you want a lump of iron like a Harley under you?
There was even a toy marketed soley for girls, Derry Daring with pink jumpsuit, long blonde hair and matching stunt cycle and energizer: classic stuff.... sadly this didn't make it over to the UK. I wonder how many girls were inspired to ride?
Another journey around the world undertaken was in 1998 by Nick Sanders, professional long distance biker extraordinare, who rode a world record 19,930-mile in a record riding time of 31 days 20 hours. He has since repeated this feat in faster time on a Yamaha R-1. The post ride look is priceless... absolutely knackered and pleased it's over.
You can catch up with his latest shenanigans at http://www.nicksanders.com/
Fun artwork for the cover of the mid sixties Triumph motorcycle range brochure. Makes you want to take a ride down to a cafe and sit under a shade sipping an aromatic cappiccino watching passers by admire your ride...
In 2009 Triumph celebrated its 50th anniversary of the Bonneville with a limited edition in the classic tangering dream color scheme. Very close to my Porsche Gulf colours! It looks fabulous and I'm sure would ride great and sure to be a head turner.... now if only I could win the pools!
I took the bike out both days this weekend; one trip heading north through the winding roads lined with fall colored trees, the otehr south along the lakefront upon the gentle rollercoaster that is Lake Shore Drive. Perfect weather...
One inspirational story is of Ted Simon, who, in 1974 aged 43, ventured on a four year journey around the world covering 64,000 miles through 45 countries on a 500cc Triumph Tiger. A truly impressive feat that was undoubtedly life changing. The book "Jupiters Travels" recounts his adventures and the people he met on his journey.
Two decades later, aged 70, he then retraced his route, this time on a BMW, to see how the world had changed. Truly Impressive.
A couple of things I loved looking at growing up was how things were put together; two forms of which were real things with cuttaway parts (the cuts always painted red) and the inner workings on show, sometimes with a hidden motor somewhere making the whole contraption move. Here's a Triumph in such a manner:
The other was engineering illustrations beautifully crafted by the manufacturers draughtsmen. No AutoCAD back then, just pen and ink. True works of art with perfect line weights, hints of solidity and true understanding of how things not only go together but also work together.
A classic fall season peanuts where CB wins out with a slow bike and persistence, as well as a pumpkin helmet. His prize? 5 Free haircuts, in true Charlie Brown style he admits that his father is a barber and we see that his bonce is thinly covered as it is.
This weekend I finally had the opportunity for a couple of jaunts out on the Bonnie to get familiar with its handling and controls as well as getting comfortable with it in traffic. I rode up Sheridan Road yesterday to Lake Forest; nice windy roads through leafy North Shore communities; returning down Route 41 to get the bike up to speed. Today I rode down the length of Lake Shore Drive, again a mix of traffic, speed and city riding. A few adjustments to the front brake cable to tighten it up as well as dialling up the rear shocks gave a more secure feel today. Still need to attend to the front brake cable brake light switch as well as the engines idle and low speed tuning (it's a little hesitant). However, when you roll on the throttle the bike takes off and I sense why they felt the need for an additional gear in 1973 with the T120V! (V for 5 speed). All in all though a couple of great rides out!
Down near the Adler Planetarium with the Chicago skyline behind