Dreams came true in Hollywood for 800 distinguished gentlefolk as they wound their way around Beverly Hills and Santa Monica in the third largest DGR attendance behind London and São Paulo.
It was a big ask, but we picked out four stars from the day for some special FTR treatment.
Rage Stewart – 1969 T-100 Bonneville ‘Buttercup’
Yes, that’s his real name: “I had hippie parents. My dad was an old stuntman from New York and he named me Rage. It works sometimes.
“I stretched the frame a bit, chopped the forks. It’s just an amazing toy, and my buddy, Mike Cleary, did the amazing paint job on it, did a lot of the detail work, the welding and things like that. It’s called Buttercup. My other bikes are a little more violent; this is the pretty one.
“Once you get past the electrical system on the old Triumphs and you redo everything, you can’t get anything more reliable. I have a 2003 America, but this is what I call my ‘minimalist’ bike. I trimmed it down so there’s no front brake; you plan your stops carefully.
“On a bike like this, your ass feels the road. It’s just you and the road.”
Ariel Bradley – 2007 Custom Triumph America ‘Bela’
“I doubt there’s a soul whose life hasn’t been affected by either cancer or mental health issues, or both. My dad had prostate cancer and I lost him to it, and this day actually marks the 18th year of his passing, so I did it in his honour.
“This is my second year riding but my first year as a ride marshal. The guy I bought the bike from had started the process of bobbing it out and had stripped off most of the bells and whistles. I love the bones of the Triumph America, and because of my build, I needed something lighter and easier to handle but that still had that look.
“I dropped the rear end a bit to fit me better, had the front forks lengthened, put on cocktail shaker pipes and then swapped out the America tank for an old Thruxton tank I stripped to its base. It’s simple, almost a little ugly in the way that it’s so beautiful.
“Triumph is about being part of a culture. Not everyone who rides them is going to be cut from that same cloth, but Triumphs have a certain undeniable history and most of us not only know of it but respect it.”
Austin Melrose – 2007 Triumph Thruxton ‘Rabbit’
“This is my third year. I was invited first by a friend and we’ve made it an annual thing because it combines two things I like to do: give back and ride motorcycles.
“My grandfather is a prostate cancer survivor, so I do it every year in the hope we get closer to a cure. Triumph has always been the ultimate bike for me.
“Bud Ekins and Steve McQueen are the epitome of cool, plus my family is English, so it’s nice to have a brand that harks back to my ancestry. I was riding a custom bobber before, then I found this Thruxton and it just spoke to me.
“I chopped the pipes, wrapped them, dropped the instrument panel so it’s got a lower profile, but the beautiful thing is that I didn’t have to change much and really just made it my everyday ride.”
Mikki Kristola – 2014 Triumph Scrambler ‘Babybitch’
“I usually ride alone, but this was for a good cause. I also enjoy dressing up for any occasion and what better occasion than a ride that happens around the world that actually benefits others?
“My bike, a 2014 Scrambler, is named Babybitch because my dad once had a bright orange cruiser and my mom allowed it under the stipulation that he name it The Bitch. So when I got my bike, and because my parents have always called me ‘baby girl’, she became Babybitch.
“My first bike was a cherry red ’71 Honda CB350 and I loved how classy she looked, the lines that she had. She was an adorable first bike, but she kept breaking down on me and wouldn’t go that fast. I found that same sense of class, but more reliability and power, when I upgraded to the Scrambler.
“I went looking for motorcycles with a buddy who was looking specifically for a Triumph, and while he was talking to a salesman, I climbed up on this Scrambler and immediately fell in love with her. I still had my other bike, but it was love at first straddle.”