Triumph Over Blogging

You may have noticed a shortage of posts recently. With this post, I’m back to flogging the keyboard. And I begin with an explanation.

In April I upped my commitment to motorcycling and purchased a new mount – a Triumph Thunderbird 1600. With plans to do some motorcycle touring this summer, I realized that I could use a little more torque and horsepower than my Honda 250 Rebel could provide. Ahem.

Triumph Thunderbird 1600

I have the good fortune of living within a mile of one of America’s best-selling retailers of one of Great Britain’s most enticing exports: the Triumph line of motorcycles. Though the temptation to make frequent visits proved irresistible, I managed for a couple of years to restrain my impulse to “gear up.” Then, in April, Triumph rolled in their 2011 demos. This was my chance to see what I really thought of the Triumph America that had me drooling. I rode it and liked it. Of course. Then I rode the Speedmaster and decided there wasn’t much difference between them. Somebody suggested I ride the newly-released Triumph Thunderbird Storm. Okay, why not?

Why not, indeed! The America quickly dropped from the radar. In other words, the 1700 cc displacement of the Storm blew the 860 cc powerplant of the America right out of my mind. Literally within seconds of starting out on the Storm, I knew it was too good to be true. I would have to “settle,” now, for the America while dreaming of a Storm receding on the horizon. The Storm was just too much bike for too much money.

Out of curiosity, I jumped into the saddle of the Thunderbird 1600, the “base model” Thunderbird. The difference in torque was significant, but it had a lot of the virtues of the Storm. And the price was a bit lower. Not low enough for my wallet, though.

2010 Triumph America

So I went home to study up on the America, hoping I could be persuaded that it was the right bike. Along the way, I made the mistake of reading reviews of the Thunderbird 1600, introduced in 2009. This Triumph was uniformly trumpted as the crusier to turn heads. In 2009 and 2010, it was judged best cruiser on the road in North America.

Meanwhile, back at SoCal Triumph, they were lowering the price on the 2010 Thunderbird 1600 to make room for the new 2011’s. Jay, their chief salesman, was by now a familiar face. He could read me pretty well. My commitment to the America had grown tentative. To his credit, Jay never pressured me to go for the T-bird. But he did see me gravitating in that direction. And he did tell me that in addition to the special they were running on the 2010, they would include a windscreen, a touring seat, and a sissy bar and pad in the price. The only thing that didn’t resonate with me (still doesn’t) was the concept of a sissy bar. But that wasn’t a deal-breaker. The only remaining question was what 2010 Thunderbirds they had in stock. I was in luck. There was one blue bike in the inventory, with a wide white stripe garnishing the tank and fenders.

I immediately realized that I would find a way to crunch the numbers in favor of the Thunderbird. This would take some time and effort. Intense concentration would be required. I would have to put a hold on blogging for a few days.

A few days. That was in April. So why so long getting back online?

I bought the Thunderbird, that’s why. And a new Thunderbird has to be broken in. You understand.

Now, 3500 miles later, I’m back to check in here. And since the next best thing to riding is talking about riding, here I am talking about the new ride. I’m sure future posts will report on specific rides. Here I’ll just note that a week ago I returned from a five-day, 1500-mile jaunt up the California coast and back. For the past week I’ve been scheming and planning. Mid-July I hope to be back on a northerly bearing, this time with Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula as a destination. The trip will include numerous visits with friends and family, some camping, and lots of great riding.

I’m already thinking about future trips. A guy’s got to justify his guilty purchases! Maybe some day my travels will bring me to your door, every bone in my body vibrating, a sleeping bag in my tingling hands, asking the favor of a roof over my head.


I didn’t see a single other Triumph on the road during my recent coastal tour. Lots of Harleys, though. I’m happy to report that Harley riders have been remarkably friendly. I won’t say they’re jealous. I might think it, but I definitely won’t say it. I’m outnumbered about a million to one.

About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking, sailing.

12 Responses to Triumph Over Blogging

  1. Doug Geivett says:


    Let me know the schedule for a Thunderbird ride in the Seattle area when you know of it. Seattle is a long way from here, but it could work out. I was in Seattle a couple of weeks ago and will get up there occasionally several times a year, mostly by plane, though.

    Take care,



  2. Doug Geivett says:


    The NW is my favorite part of the country. We have property on the Peninsula. I get up to the Seattle area a couple times a year. I was just there a couple weeks ago to speak at a conference in Bellevue. Don’t know when I’ll get up that way again on my Thunderbird. It’s a long haul. The Puget, I know, is kayaker heaven. Maybe someday . . . .



  3. Steve Marzocco says:

    Hello Again, Doug:

    First of all, please kindly accept my apologies for my terribly delayed reply. Had some quite intense stretches last summer into the fall, especially with a few key portfolio companies. Happy to say have seen some nice progress, helping offset the intense hits, with one of them even voted Most Promising Life Sciences Company at a large Biotech Forum (in a much larger state than WA), among other progress…but this all takes a whole lot of work, key recruits and more, of course. Hence sometimes overburdened time.

    So to the exchange; very impressive all your riding you managed, as you shared in your reply (Thank You). Albeit happily enabled with your clearly committed cruiser lifestyle, it would seem. Perhaps your example and sharing, can help inspire others! As to “cruiser,” effectively “performance cruiser,” really, as you know and despite the 1600 version of the Thunderbird “technically” nipping at the heels of typical performance cruiser metrics. But as we know, the ride is most key, which as some reviewers occasionally call out, they find deceptively intoxicating. I particularly like one observation in a comparison at Motorcycle-USA, I think it was; something to the effect of, the crew “…grinning like morons while trying to look bad-ass riding the blacked out bad-ass Thunderbird Storm…” That sentence seemed to sum up nicely a whole lot of other reviews whether professional or on the forums. “Therapy” comes in many forms; some of us ride!

    To your question and the rarity of more than one Thunderbird riding together; I live in the Seattle area. As it also happens, one of the largest sellers of Triumph bikes in the nation, as I recall their saying, is the I-90 Motorsports team in Issaquah, one of the eastside suburbs of Seattle. Between them and, your managing to schedule a NW Tour would likely provide more than ample excuse, for at least a few other Thunderbird riders in our region, for even a small “flocking” as the folks refer to them. Regrettably I was unable to join one organized here last year, for the same reasons I am so delayed replying here.

    Oh and I note your reference to sailing and sea kayaking in another exchange; our region is easily by most measures, also a World Class (destination) Gem for sailing, kayaking and more. As it happens, even Jacque Cousteau felt the waters adjacent the Puget Sound on which Seattle is perched, along with the nearby San Juan Islands, were some of the very best globally, for diving! So a NW Tour riding that could also include some other adventures like these, would be highly advised. Pointers, referrals, introductions and more available, too.

    Until then…

    Safe, Happy Riding!



  4. Doug Geivett says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your post about the joys of motorcycling in the West. I concur. In fact, the reason why it has taken me a few weeks to see your post and respond is that I was out on two motorcycle trips during the month of June, then out of town on family vacation the past week.

    I teach at the university level and the day after commencement I hit the road with a friend, riding up the coast from Santa Monica through San Francisco and down to Muir Beach, then up to Olema. From there we cut across the state to Lake Tahoe through Sacramento. After a couple days there, which included a counterclockwise ride around Lake Tahoe, we returned home through Yosemite National Park. It was a spectacular five-day trip.

    A few days later I rode to Phoenix where I had a speaking commitment. After the conference I rode to Payson, then back across Arizona to Jerome and Prescott. From there I went north to connect with old Highway 66 at Seligman, over to Kingman, and south into Oatman. Just before Oatman the road runs south of Thimble Mountain and through Silgreaves Pass in the Black Mountains on a road with more tight twists than I’ve seen anywhere else. I dropped down from there to Lake Havasu City and returned home through the Mojave. On that trip I spent two nights camping using my Hennessey Hammock. Great fun!

    Last summer I rode a 4000-mile circle up the Pacific coast, including California, Oregon, and Washington, then over to Spokane and back home through the national parks, along the Snake River, through the Shasta area and Mt. Lassen National Park.

    You didn’t say where you live in western Washington. Maybe our paths will cross. I seldom see another Triumph on the road. To have two Thunderbirds riding in tandem would be most unusual!


  5. Hello Doug,
    While attempting at least a brief distraction from doing business far too late, in hopes to better wind my brain down to bed, I came upon your site on our really very nicely built, as you know, Triumph Thunderbirds. Well, your one posting re: same, anyway; I’ve not searched if you’ve more than the one about when you bought it, etc.

    So two things (and subsets) for now;

    1). I live in Western Washington, which gives me an advantage for riding in the NW but you the far distant edge, in riding weather effectively year round. But you knew that already. Meanwhile and as often feels the case with the majority of folks living in Washington State, I lived in Southern California for quite some years prior and now here going into my third decade. Punchline: I’d be happy to share some notes about rides all across the Western US as I first started riding more than four decades ago…crazy to say since I surely don’t feel in my 50s – usually. So by the time I was 30 I’d managed over 100,000 miles of motorcycling, with very little of it at all, from commuting in the LA area. It was all about touring the Sierras, the coast, of course, San Gabriels and San Bernardino mountains and the high and low deserts and much much more, as often as possible with further extended tours thrown in covering the whole Western US and up into Canada. One of my favorites was one of my many coast runs up Carmel, with only one other vehicle for an impressive stretch, when I had my V65 Sabre (worth looking it up; many today refer to it as a Legend); the other vehicle was a Ferrari and I’ve never had so much impromptu fun riding “cat and mouse” so to speak, with anyone else before or since; both respectfully and remarkably also, quite sanely.

    Since getting the Thunderbird I’ve now done much the same (loads of regional rides; that is how I maintained relative sanity much of last year since getting it) except with no southerly rides of note, as yet. I did even manage the amazing Beartooth Highway last Fall, despite nearly being quite literally galloped over by a huge Bison. That happened in the pitch black dark coming around a blind corner in Jellystone, as I like to call it. Could almost smell it given how incredibly close he went by in the wrong direction and lane (a bad driver but clearly used to others yielding). It was one of those moments you barely have time to react so really without thinking, prompting my repeatedly after, saying to myself for quite some miles, “Holy S***!, Holy S***!”

    …happily some wolves not far down the road caught my attention helping pull me out of this self chanting trance of near shock, as they were clearly tracking dinner right adjacent the road not bothered in the least with my trundling by. I can go on with some more sharing but instead here – finally, sorry – is,

    2). I strongly suggest you Google S. Douglas Woodward and tell him I said you both should speak. This Doug is a colleague in a portfolio company (I build and turn around companies, etc.) and you both share some key interests in authoring, speaking and more on faith, prophecy, etc. Although this Doug is specializing more in “End Days” stuff and with his latest book, also some Occult. This about Occult Worship and and rituals and more, underlying a quite impressive share of the heritage, if you will, forming a surprising and surely to most people, quite shocking proportion of our Nation’s Founding, all the way up into today.

    …can’t imagine you two wouldn’t have a whole lot of stuff to talk about and as we all know, sometimes collaboration can prove awfully potent, if that is where this introduction leads.

    Safe Happy Riding!
    Steve Marzocco


  6. Doug Geivett says:

    Keep me posted on your whereabouts, Tim. I’ll be in Brookings, OR for a couple of days before heading north on the Oregon coast around July 19. I may spend a day or so on the Oregon coast before crossing from Astoria into Washington. You’re right about the Washington “coast.” We’ll follow the road to Aberdeen, then probably swing up into the Rain Forest, then up to Port Angles and Sequim. The San Juans do beckon! Beautiful. And I hear that motorcycles go to the front of the line to board the ferries. Is that still true?

    A friend is riding with me from So. Cal. to Oregon, where my Dad and maybe my brother-in-law meet up with us for the Oregon coast and Washington portion of the ride. Let me know if you’d like to join in some of the fun. From Seattle I go over to Spokane to see family and friends (my family will be flying up). Then I begin picking my way south back home: Hells Canyon, in Oregon, the Klamath area, Shasta, Lassen, Grass Valley, Yosemite, and the Sequoias.



  7. Tim says:


    You are going to have a terrific ride up the coast. How many in your contingent? Just you? Sadly for me (perhaps fortunanetly for you) it looks like I will be out of town the week you plan to arrive in Washington. However, if my plans change it might be fun to meet up and ride up the coast together. Although I use the term “coast” losely because by the time you hit Washington, most of the coastal vista riding will be far behind in California and Oregon. However, there are some great roads and the San Juans beckon.

    I will keep you posted.


  8. Doug Geivett says:

    Tim, I should get to Port Angeles sometime around the 19th or 20th. That would be the soonest.


  9. Doug Geivett says:

    Hey, Gibraltar! Great hearing from you. From motorcycling to yachting . . . not a bad trade. I love sailing, too. But I don’t have as much experience with it.

    By the way, I was in Barcelona for a week of speaking some years ago. ¡Increible! I did do some sea kayaking one afternoon.


  10. Tim says:

    OK Doug. No more excuses. While my July is looking pretty busy, let me know when you plan to hit the Olympic Pennisula and perhaps I can join you for a couple days. Motorcycles by day and philosphy by night. What could be finer?
    BTW, now that we know what you think of Harley’s, what about Beemers?


  11. As a Brit I am rather obviously baised about good bikes and one of my brothers is a Triumph fanatic .. er rider. In my youth I also used to ride and collect classic bikes. My old Norton was my tourer and when I was a bad-boy it was the very loud (and very shaky) ’56 Ducatti 900 two-stroke. Those were my University days in London and I came from and returned to Gibraltar. They say it is a great touring area but I have chosen in my old age the more sedintary (and more expensive) pass-time of yachting. 21 foot, it has been six months now and for the first time I have done so overnight to Mallorca not just one week ago.

    Work at your job and fight for your dreams!

    D Charles QC


  12. Welcome back!


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