"I am learning, as I make my way through my first continent, that it is remarkably easy to do things, and much more frightening to contemplate them."
"The bike was essentially the same Triumph that had been on the roads for decades: a simple, solid piece of engineering, difficult to break and easy to repair. It was a vertical twin, with pistons that moved up and down in unison and had a reputation for drilling the marrow out of the rider's bones, but I had low-compression pistons that allowed me to run on low-grade fuel and also flattened out the vibration.
In fact it was a comfortable bike to ride. It was the 500-cc Tiger Hundred that had been used by the police. Its single carburetor was easier to tune and more economical than the twin carburetors of the Daytona.
Good gas gave me fifty-five miles to a gallon, so that even the standard tank offered a range of nearly two hundred miles. It had high, wide handlebars so that I could sit up and take notice as I went, and good ground clearance to take me over rough going. And it was light as well as sturdy. Of all the bigger machines it was the lightest by thirty pounds or more, the equivalent of about three gallons of petrol.
We had planned all sorts of interesting modifications at the factory, a list as long as a sheet of legal paper, but when the time came to fetch it, I was lucky to get a machine at all. The workers had just decided to lock the management out, it was the end of the road for the old-style Triumph company and I think my bike was the last one to leave the factory for a very long time.
It was totally unmodified, and so hastily prepared that a pint of oil fell out of the chain case on my way down the Motorway from Coventry.
I know Triumphs are supposed to leak oil, but this is ridiculous.
But it was nothing, a paper seal slipped in assembly, easily put right. You could stop the oil if you took the trouble. That was what British bikes liked, a bit of trouble. They thrived on attention, like certain people, and repaid you for it. Not a bad relationship to have."
”...the interruptions were the journey.”
— Ted Simon