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.

Tridays

Discovering the icing on the cake

Dear FTR,

Having seen Tridays mentioned in various circles over the years, it was the one trip I always fancied doing.

This year was when it all came together. Friends were able to join us on the journey, but we didn’t want a quick trip to Austria and back, we wanted a memorable 14-day European tour.

The journey through Holland into Germany and Austria was carried out on my 2008 Speedmaster loaded with side panniers, rear mounted luggage and, of course, my wife on pillion for the two-week break.

The journey there was outstanding as we rode through Holland and its cycle friendly roads, into Germany and along the side of the Rhine, a straight 10 on the grin factor… but 10++++ was yet to come.

Approaching Austria from Germany is quite outstanding. The view of the Alps and the winding country roads taking you there is what bike cruising is all about and the bike just seemed to love it as much as we did.

Tridays is everything you expect and more, from the actual location with cable car lifts for spectacular views and local waterfalls to the Neukirchen (Newchurch) town shops and bars that are fully into the Tridays event with stalls, daily events, bands and the most friendly people you could wish to meet.

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The local ride outs, Grossglockner being one of many, are the icing on the cake for motorcyclists no matter what type of bike you’re on. The road suits each and every way you wish to ride it.

The whole journey there and back took in over 2,400 miles with more memories and smiles that today’s computer storage would struggle to handle. But we will relive it from memory for many years to come.

The only problem now is that I was contemplating upgrading my Speedmaster for a new model or the new 1200 Bonneville, but after Tridays that isn’t going to happen. I may well go and purchase a new Triumph but the old one will not be retired as it has just become like an old friend.

I have a Meriden Triumph that’s been morphed into a bobber, and that may well happen to the Speedmaster as it’s got such good lines to begin with. Triumph have defiantly reintegrated the 50s/60s feeling of owning a bike that’s as good to ride as it looks, and I for one look forward to their journey as well as many more of my own.

Leigh & Jackie Clark

Bikers best friend

Sven and Zowie

Dear FTR,

Since my wife and son picked her up from the animal shelter aged seven months, my colly Zowie and I have been pretty much inseparable.

She prefers the car, but traveling in the sidecar is still better than staying home. We both love camping, I love riding and Zowie loves herding sheep, so we’re all good.

Since childhood I’ve loved motorcycles. I started with an old Solex electric bike when I was 13 and had bikes since I was 18. I bought my Triumph Tiger 900 a decade ago and made many holiday trips in Europe with friends. I love its design, especially the three cylinder motor.

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Five years ago I bought an old sidecar. Since then Zowie and I go camping every year to Germany or France, sometimes alone, sometimes with my son.

My wife doesn’t like camping, so I go every time with my dog in the sidecar on my good old Triumph Tiger 900 and nothing could be more perfect.

Sven and Zowie

Dustyroad

Owning a motorcycle keeps you sane

Dear FTR,

Thought I’d share my brief but salutary tale about how owning a motorcycle keeps you sane.

I have always traded bikes every three to four years but I currently have a 2013 Rocket III that I never want to trade for anything else!

I started riding in high school, nearly 43 years ago, in dusty west Texas and still have a bummed up knee from a hard spill in the park.

College, work in juvenile justice field, wife, three marvellous kids. Work was hard. It was therapy or something else so when I heard the saying “there are no motorcycles in front of therapist offices” it was always going to be Triumph.

I fell back in love with a Triumph America until I got bitten by the “faster and farther” bug. I sat and rode all of Triumph’s competitors (I’m still in Texas, just where there are trees and water) and my two-tone Rocket (named Dustyroad) became my therapist. I ride alone unless a charity ride piques my interest.

That’s kind of the short and long of it!

Bill “Dustyroad ” Bristow, USA

Trip to the Alps

Flattening the mountains with a cruiser

Dear FTR,

For more than 10 years my friend Maurik-Jan and I have been planning a trip to the Alps and after a life living like 4 Weddings and a Funeral it became obvious we should make it happen NOW before it ended up on our post pension bucket list.

His bike is a nearly 20 years old VFR not in the very best shape and mine’s a brand spanking new Thunderbird Nightstorm, with just 1.000km on the clock. Hmm, an interesting mix.

With the temp gauge hitting nearly 30degrees we left Almere in Holland to do a round trip via Germany through Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Germany back to home.

One week for 3.000kms of which 2.000 was twisty mountain roads and passes. I was apprehensive to go on the Thunderbird, being my first cruiser, and also because I was used to nimble, agile sports bikes.

And everyone who thought they knew said ‘it’s stupid with a cruiser, too heavy, too cumbersome, too exhaustive. Nearly 400kms every day are you crazy?’

They could not have been more wrong. The bike was a blast and nearly flattened every mountain. In Switzerland Sustenpass, Grimsel and Furka then the famous Klausenpass before entering Austria.

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The slow serpentines you go in first gear, but blasting up or downhill in second and third then back to first…  the Triumph got every beat right. With reassuring double front disc brakes, it handled like a dream and even put some sporty bikes on their spot.

With temperatures soaring we went up Silvretta and later Stevio and the torque and power of the bike amazed me as we hurtled uphill like it wasn’t there. The only downside was that we needed more fluids than the bikes to keep us fit.

On Grimsel between many expensive bikes, people came over to see what it was. Impressed by the blacked out theme and the size of the motor. Yeah guys, this is Triumph TODAY.

Even at these altitudes and steep climbs, having a fuel consumption of 16kms per litre was amazing. On the way home the VFR broke down with a fused voltage regulator.

The Thunderbird didn’t flinch and brought me home safely. Overall the drive was exhilarating and a real blast – I can honestly say I’ve never had such a comfortable and easy bike to ride, that also looked the part.

Where to next?

Ruud Van Dijk, Netherlands