...or at least I did.
This is one of the perks of my job. Because of my profession, people trust me enough to loan me bikes from time.
I have been riding motorcycles in the city for 17 years, and most days I arrive at my destination feeling like I survived the battle. I get very little respect on the road, and I think that is the case for most motorcyclists. However, my experience while riding the Triumph was a bit different.
As motorcyclists, it is our job to make sure we are as visible as possible in traffic at all times. The bright red motorcycle was definitely spotted, and when it was, I was given that respect I have been missing all of these years. I was gestured by other motorists to pass when I needed to. I was questioned about the motorcycle by motorists while stopped at traffic lights, and I even got thumbs up from pedestrians. Not to mention, all the conversations I was forced to engage in when parking it or stopping for gas. It just seemed to make people happy to see it. I was a sort of an instant celebrity. I think if I had it any longer, people were going to start asking me to sign autographs. I even got out of a moving violation with a warning. That NEVER happens. Shhh, don't tell anyone.
I began to wonder what it was about this motorcycle that was causing that type of reaction. Was it the color? Nostalgia? I know it was not that fact that it was ridden by a female, because I have ridden a lot of motorcycles, and I have never received such a reaction.
I think it is a combination of the color as an eye catcher, and the fact that Triumphs are such classic motorcycles. Being able to maintain the classic look with modern technology really is the best of both worlds.
Triumphs have played supporting roles in many movies and TV shows throughout the years.
The Triumph Bonneville's celebrity status as the "World's Fastest Motorcycle" was boosted at various times by showbiz appearances. Stuntman Evel Knievel used a Bonneville TT Special for his attempt to jump over the fountain at Caesar's Palace casino in Las Vegas in 1988. Clint Eastwood rode a Bonneville in a chase scene through New York's Central Park in the movie 'Coogan's Bluff'. Richard Gere co-starred with a 750cc T140E Bonnie in 'An Officer and a Gentleman'. Other Triumph riders in movies are Marlon Brando (The Wild One - a 1950 Thunderbird 6T), Steve McQueen (The Great Escape - a 650cc Triumph Trophy TR6), 'The Fonz' (Happy Days - various Triumphs and other bikes), and Ann Margret (The Swinger - Tiger T100).
If you are a licensed motorcyclist, and live in Chicago, I recommend heading over to Motoworks, at 1901 S. Western, and taking one of these machines out for a test ride. They had to pry the bike out from under me. I was not ready to give it back. I could not believe how easy it was to ride. I joked that I felt like it was on auto pilot, riding and stopping itself.
Respect on the road, easy on the eyes, and a pure joy to ride, nuf said.
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