During the year of 2014, I had the opportunity to work for a big restoration shop in Brazil. Among many different activities we performed there, one of them was selling used “premium” motorcycles.
This little story happened on a hot summer afternoon. I was almost asleep on my desk when I saw an old guy coming through the front door, walking slowly, a cane in his hand. I would say he was on his eighties.
He passed by the Harleys and BMWs and he didn’t pay attention to the Ducatis either, but the Triumphs caught his eyes.
I got up, walked over to him, shook his hand, and even before I could introduce myself he asked:
“Do they till make Triumphs?”
“Yes, they still do. Brand new if you want”, I said.
He laughed, tapped gently on the gas tank of a Daytona 675 that was between us and said:
“Oh no!!! I don’t ride anymore”
“But I had quite a few Triumphs, long time ago. I think my first one was back in 1960.
Then he started telling me about a time when paved roads were rare and the broken bikes had to be fixed on backyards. Parts had to be adapted from other bikes or even built from the scratch.
He also told me about details of the machine that only a guy who tore them apart and put everything back together could possibly know.
He was the kind of guy who rode Triumphs not to show off, but because he loved them.
He even told me that he and his pals used to race their bikes on the back roads, outside of town.
“ We wore no helmets, no gloves… Just a bunch of reckless kids”
I tried to convince him that the bikes have changed a lot, but the kids… They haven’t changed that much.
– “Perhaps…” he said. “Perhaps…
Sometimes he would stare at the Triumph logo and be quiet. Maybe he was trying to remember more stories.
I would have gladly listened to them all.
I accompanied him to the door and before we parted, he looked at my left boot, with the leather worn out by the bike’s shifter.
“A biker yourself ?”
“Sure”, I said.
He smiled, shook my hand as strong as he could, wished me luck and left.
No, I never had a Triumph and most likely I’ll never have one, but it doesn’t matter; we are all bikers.
That handshake is record of a brotherhood. We can find our “brothers” anywhere in the world, in different situations.
We are bikers and we’ll always be; even if the weariness of time forbids us to keep on riding.