Wednesday, October 03, 2012


The '73 Triumph TR5T Trophy Trail purchased at the Bonhams Las Vegas auction last January...overlooking Bolinas Lagoon and Stinson Beach.
San Francisco doesn't fit the image of California, mostly because it's always cold in the summer.  Then again, it doesn't get cold in winter; it averages 57 degrees all year long, excepting a few days in the Fall, when a window of perfection opens up.  I happened to be in SF for one of those wonderfully odd, only in Cali kinda days.
Across the Golden Gate Bridge by Triumph
I've always lived in cities (SF, NY, Paris, London), but riding a motorcycle in the countryside is my release, which requires an hour's escape from the city limits on two wheels, battling the cages and creeps, one of whom will threaten to kill you, guaranteed, when you ease past those stuck on a slow-motion 'freeway'.
The Redwoods make for compelling and twisty riding, in deep shade...
San Francisco has become stupidly expensive in rents and real estate with the recent influx of well-paid techies from Zynga and Google, so don't get any big ideas about moving there.  I'm lucky enough to have basically grown up in SF, and enjoyed 25 years of local roads, which are unparalleled.  15 minutes from downtown, you'll cross the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, which is a thrill every time; 10 minutes further up the road is an enormous swath of the state with very little development (some by gov't decree) which runs from the Bridge northward to the Cali border, meaning there's little traffic or population density (or gas stations), so hours and days of round-road riding is possible.
All Ruby'd up; Conrad is wearing his Ruby 'Lucky13' helmet, which he and Jérome Coste designed
If you have the freedom from work, a mid-week ride with a buddy in fine weather is just about the best thing cooking.  My pal Conrad Leach is in town, so we pulled my two Triumphs from the warehouse (the '73 TR5T purchased at the Bonhams auction last Jan, and the '65 Bonneville picked up en route to the Quail Ride, then hammered around Laguna Seca).  Susan McLaughlin came along to take photos; these are all hers.
Thanks for shooting, Susan!
After the ride, a Craigslist find; Bruce at Hobo Customs, my neighbor at Motopia (our industrial park), alerted us to a '71 Triumph TR6R for £1k, in the mountains near Sonora [don't let anyone tell you classic bikes are all too expensive; we found three 1960s/70s Triumphs and BSAs for under $2500 in a one-hour Craigslist search].  As Con wanted his own bike for an upcoming desert trip (to be featured soon in The Vintagent), we drove 2.5 hrs to meet Jeff Epps, and buy his serviceable Triumph.  I had my wet plate kit in the Sprinter, so captured it all the old-fashioned way...  and we've named it Project Desert Rat (Con's grandfather served in the 8th army under Montgomery... apropos!).  More on Desert Rat, and the TR6R, later...
At the edge of the world...1000' of cliffs and rolling hills down the Pacific
The Ridge Road on Mt Tamalpais in Marin County; no cars at all
Jeff Epps and his fantastic Ford flatbed
Conrad and Jeff seal the deal on the Desert Rat Triumph

Jeff and his 'new' truck...


Anonymous said...

So that's your friend "Con" with you at the overlook in a baby blue helmet and tight leathers? He's beautiful.

The Vintagent said...

Yes, he is ;)
That's my sweetie, Susan, who shot all the pix for this story...barring that one!

Don O'Reilly said...

Thanks for taking me back to one of my favorite places Paul... I've never actually ridden anything but muni, bart, or cable car when there, but maybe next time; marin looks like a whole lot of fun. Cheers, Don

Hairy Larry said...

Mr.Natural is alive and well in California. When I get my Triumph going I'll have to head out for a ride around Mount Tam, been years.