BRO: How did you get into riding?
MPG: I got into riding literally by accident. One that involved a crane, our car, and our motorcycle. But before that story, I’d like to tell you about my introduction to motorcycles that eventually led to a love affair with Triumph.
I was 16 years old the first time I was on a motorcycle. A friend let me hop on the back for a quick ride down the street. I remember being super giddy and excited to dart off. Being on a motorcycle was a completely new experience to me. We didn’t have one in our family, or so I thought until my Dad told me tales of owning a Norton back in the 60’s. In fact, he was part of the “ton-up” 100 mph club riding around Miami and the Florida Keys. Maybe I got it from him! But I probably wouldn’t have become interested in motorcycles, if weren’t for my husband. He has truly influenced me the most. He’s owned and ridden all kinds of bikes since he was a young lad, but ironically, did not have one when I met him.
About 7 years ago, I opened an architecture design studio in a space that was formerly occupied by a motorcycle shop. You could feel the moto vibe. The motorcycle shop moved right next door so we saw plenty of bikes coming in and out. And plenty of customers came into our studio expecting to find motorcycles. My husband became friendly with the owner who had his pristine, fully restored 1982 Kawasaki KZ1000 in the window. My husband wanted one too. He didn’t tell me, but came home one day and said, “honey what would you think about getting a motorcycle?” I said, “ Oh Ya!” which caught him by surprise (not the usual wifey-poo response). And he responded, “good, because I already bought one!” So a cherry red KZ1000 he found in Maine became our date night bike. It was fast and fun. I loved riding on the back, but it was not my destiny to stay there.
About a year later we were building a barn on our property. A crane on the construction site lost its brakes, and came barreling down the driveway, crashing into our car which then rolled over and crushed the KZ and busted out the back of our garage. The bike was totaled! Bike gone, my husband embarked on building his Triumph “dream bike”, a 1969 Triumph Tiger converted to a “bobber”. The only problem with a bobber is that you can’t ride two-up. That’s when I realized it was time for me to learn to ride.
BRO: Why do you ride?
MPG: Motorcycles are moving works of art and technological masterpieces. It’s only natural to want to ride one. A renowned architect and vintage moto collector said it best:
“The Connection to place, to the land. The wind, the stars, the moon… it sounds romantic, but it’s true - the visceral experience of motion, of moving through time on some amazing machine - a few cars touch on it, but not too many compared to motorcycles. I always felt that any motorcycle journey was special.” - Master Architect Antoine Predock
When I ride, I feel like I am dancing in the wind. Especially in rural areas where the scent of mother nature enters the bubble shield like the bouquet of a wine glass – fresh cut grass, flowers, a horse farm, all smell great. If you’re like me, you feel most alive skimming across the same pavement that could result in a very unhappy ending. It’s that juxtaposition that’s so thrilling! It’s also incredibly empowering to take on the role of a two-wheeled femme fatale on some epic adventure. Calm, but cautious. Feeling every moment. Total awareness.
BRO: Run us through the list of bikes you have had in the past.
MPG: 1969 Triumph Tiger Bobber, 1970 Honda CB175 cafe racer (my first bike),1970 Honda CB500 café racer, 1985 Honda CB 750, 1976 Triumph Bonneville, 2006 Triumph Bonneville, 1985 BMW R100 RS brat/café racer, 2008 Suzuki DRZ125, 2010 Harley Sportster Tracker Custom 1250, 2015 Triumph Scrambler and my new favorite, a 2017 Triumph Bonneville T120black.
BRO: What attracts you to Triumphs?
MPG: Besides the classic British styling, clean lines and high tech engineering, I’m also drawn to the history and prestige that is Triumph. I’m proud to be a part of the Triumph family. The brand aligns with everything I love about motorcycles. I feel the camaraderie when I see another Triumph rider on the streets. You get that instant connection when you see a rider on the same bike. I have a love of all things two-wheeled, but Triumphs are my favorite.
Our first Triumph was built by the legendary Triumph guru Don Hutchinson in Wakefield, MA. It started with an engine, a matching frame and bobber dreams. During the design/build process, I really started to fall in love with this motorcycle. To this day, the bobber remains our most prized bike and has won awards at local shows. Our two young boys know that it will always remain a family treasure. Triumph is for life.
BRO: How was your experience at Babes Ride Out East Coast?
MPG: Phenomenal! And so was getting there and back with an incredible group of New England Ladies I ride with. Really one of the most fun, yet tiring, action packed, moto trips I’ve ever been on. There were tough 12 hour riding days, and a few sleepless nights. But so much fun, mostly because of the friends, new and old, that all gathered at Babe Town. Nights were spent rocking. And days were spent rolling around the beautiful hills, valleys and twisty roads from Western MA to the Catskills of NY. And a Triumph moto photo sessions with some of the nicest, most talented people in the industry. Just talking about it gets me all charged up. I can’t wait to do it all over again this June.
BRO: Tell us about your T120? include the customization details.
MPG: You’re the first person to ask me about it and I’m so excited to dish on it. Ok, so first it’s a 2017 T120 Black with the new high performance 1200cc, liquid-cooled engine, 6 gears, dual front disc brakes, heated hand grips, and so on. We’ve had other Bonneville’s and we just love them. But this Bonneville represents the perfect platform to customize your dream bike and execute a specific vision – in this case, sleek, sexy, and black with a few elements of brass to add glam.
In Japanese culture, black (“Kuroi”) is a symbol of nobility, age, and experience. It reflects style, sophistication, and class. This bike just seems to represent that. I’ve been customizing it with very personal touches having to do with my Japanese Samurai heritage (from my Mother’s side of the family). As it all came together, the bike took on the persona of a “warrior machine” with a Samurai spirit that gives me strength and confidence while moving quickly down the road.
My favorite touches include predator-style pipes (loud and proud), a brass gas gap, black and gold painted classic eyebrow tank badge, brass tail light, black and brass turn signals, trimmed fenders, gold chain and much more. Perhaps the centerpiece of the bike is a custom black and brown leather seat. The design is one-of-a-kind – I used the concept of a Japanese martial arts belt as a contour detail on the seat aligned with the frame and cradle where I sit. This bike has earned its black belt!
Also worth mentioning for those with design aspirations: In architecture and mathematics, there’s the notion of the “golden triangle” or ratio that relates to specific angles and proportions of measurement found in nature (think of a Nautilus shell). We’ve found that many of the same concepts apply in bike designs when attention is paid to symmetry and points of alignment with the all aspects of the bike.
BRO: Why did you want to upgrade to the T120?
MPG: I have been riding a 2006 Bonneville as my daily rider and had modified it as much as I could. When the new line of Triumphs came out in 2016 we got to check them out during the Bonneville Reborn tour and were impressed, but I wasn’t quite ready to upgrade. A year later, the 2017 models started to come out and it seemed like the right time to invest in a new bike. Once we gave it a test ride, we were hooked. The bike rides like a high tech space ship – modern, reliable with all the bells and whistles, but the soul of a vintage machine from decades past. I will always love Triumphs.
Thanks so much for letting me share. It was a fun project! Now it’s time to Ride!
Miles of Smiles~MPG
Mindi Poston Gay