Inspiration: Lifestyle

Your Letters

Share your best riding stories, pictures and videos, tell us why and what you ride, let us know your best ever memory of bike.  If your email grabs us we’ll feature you in the next letters page, and if we really love it we’ll send you a little something as a random act of kindness.

An emotional journey

Reminiscing with my Scrambler

Dear FTR,

My name is John Newman and I live and ride in Melbourne Australia.
A friend I’d known for 35 years recently passed away. I met him when we worked as welders on a new gas and oil construction site in the South Australian desert together. We were in our early 20s, were both motorcyclists and we just ‘clicked’.

Over the years he worked away on various construction and oil installations, I went back and did a University course, but we got together again from time to time.

Triumph Scrambler, Tank, pinstripe

His family base was about four hours from Melbourne and over the years I rode my bikes to his place to share in family celebrations or just to catch up.

So last weekend I fired up my 2010 Scrambler and took those familiar roads back to the farm. It was raining part way, really windy and cold at times, but I relished the ride both ways.

I had about three and a half hours with my friend’s family and got chatting to his brother who is also a motorcyclist and was interested in how my Scrambler went.

I have had some great rides on my Triumphs, dating back to an old TR6, and a T150 in my earlier years, but this was perhaps the most poignant.

John Newman, Melbourne, Australia

Two-time love affair

When you're on a Bonnie, you dont need to fear anything

Dear FTR,

I’d always wanted a 60’s motorbike so in 2006 when I was walking in Bolzano in north east Italy I saw her, staring out at me from the show room’s window.

She was an elegant Red and Black Bonneville T100. I fell in love with her and few months later we started our love story.

So far we’ve travelled more than 40,000km but during the last 10 years I couldn’t use my Bonnie as much as I’d have liked because of my job, but against all odds I squeezed in some short trips around Austria, Switzerland, Croatia, Germany and, of course, Italy with my wife Sonia.

Last year I got it in my head to arrange a big trip and she was keen to visit Amsterdam, so I suggested that I rode there and met her off the train so we could tour the city by bike.
She didn’t give me an answer so I pressed her for a final decision and was thrilled when she said she wanted to ride two up with me all the way.

Then it was all about planning the itinerary from Rovereto in Italy to Amsterdam.

We left Rovereto in the early morning and headed for the mountain passes of Brenner Pass  and Fernpass under a shining sun until we reached Ulm in Germany. From that point we aimed for Stuttgart, but the weather began to worsen and started raining… heavy rain.


We didn’t stop and continued our ride until Mannheim where we spent the night. My wife told me: “There was a moment when I was crying because I wasn’t able to see anything around us because the rain and all the bikers that we met along the road had suddenly disappeared and we were completely alone. I was scared.”

I answered: “don’t worry, when you’re on a Bonnie you don’t need to fear anything.”

We spent two days in Amsterdam and then were hungry to see more so we rode to Frankfurt and the small medieval villages such as Wurzburg, Rothenburg, Dinkelsbuhl, Harburg and Fussen where we visited the two castles Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.

We covered about 2,800 km, cold and rainy days on the outwards leg and sunny and hot (almost 40° C) on the return.

The Bonnie was perfect as usual.

The Heart is Bonnie, I can feel her heart when I ride, I can feel her perfection without ABS and Traction Control. She is perfect simplicity. The Steel is my wife. It’s not easy to tread so many km’s as a passenger and with so many different climates we encountered.

If your wife doesn’t like motorcycles but at the end of the journey asks “can we go to Provence on the Bonnie next year?” it’s mission accomplished – it’s very nice having two girls knowing that neither is jealous of the other.

So next stop Provence… then maybe Nordkapp.

Luca Zappacosta, Italy.

Texan on a Tiger

Checking out the Scottish hang-out

Dear FTR,

Last May I had a three week stay in the UK. I hired a Triumph Tiger 800 from Bournemouth Motorcycle Hire for two weeks and took off on a trip that I’d wanted to do for a long time.

After seeing it highly rated in For the Ride’s 10 Bike Friendly Hang-outs guide  I stayed at The Buccleugh in Moffat, Scotland for a night and I highly recommend this hotel.


I had the bike locked up for the night and the accommodation was wonderful.

It was nice to see The Buccleugh get a shout out on your site. Keep the recommendations coming.

Jimmy Bounds, Dallas, Texas

Editor says: Share YOUR recommended hang-outs and we’ll give the best ones a mention:

The final farewell

Roman Roads

Dear FTR,

Any trip needs planning and mine was to join my brother at our dear mum’s house up in Lincolnshire in the UK and start emptying her house for the last time.

My first bike was bought in the mid 80’s, a 1973 CB 125. I still have the registration document but have misplaced the bike.

Bikes and digging have always been my two great passions. British bikes and Romano- British archaeology and Lincolnshire has been a fine training ground for both.

After passing my test, there was a brief boy racer episode on an elaborated RD125 which sensibly matured into the ownership of a couple of Triumphs, both Bonnevilles – a 1971 T120R and 1979 T140E.

Offers of work excavating and a training course in practical archaeology took me and my bike further afield and armed with qualifications I spent two busy years in London where I developed a more cosmopolitan taste in bikes and music.

Archaeology paid the bills as I excavated in various corners of the city, including beneath the National Gallery and a former barber shop and birthplace of the artist Turner in Maiden Lane.

Before long I was in Northern Italy excavating a Roman cemetery and 20 years later I’m still here settled with a family and of course a Triumph which brings me back to my opening statement… planning a trip across the continent from the Italian North Adriatic to the Lincolnshire Fens.


My Street Triple serviced and loaded, departure brought hot Italian roads leading onto two Swiss passes, Offen and Fluela, and my passage through the Alps and on towards the night’s halt on Lake Zurich in Switzerland.

A barbecue and rest day with friends later with body and mind refreshed, it was on to France where I rested in a small town on the Somme and after a meal in a restaurant off the town square and bed in a hotel we savoured a brief tour on open roads through the theatre of the Great War.

We paid our respects at the cathedral like monument designed by Lutyens to commemorate the dead with no known grave as heavy showers welcomed us to the Channel Tunnel.

As I chatted to another rider, daylight and amazement at how quickly the Tunnel was breached. Then up through England to the village of Ruskington and resting place of my mum.

After weeks of sorting, removals, car boot sales and  a trip to Mablethorpe carrying my brother as pillion on the Streety, I even had time to take the bike on a pilgrimage to the biking forum of Cadwell Park, enjoying good company as we watched the qualifying races for the BSB. Of course the sun always shone.

I made the return journey, another story, and I’m now back in Italy refreshed by my experiences on the road. Thank you Triumph, Italy and England for making a sad trip a little less of an ordeal.


Richard Hilton, UK