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My Last Bike A 2010 Triumph Thunderbird

Updated on January 9, 2013

What the heck was I thinking?" I asked myself that question for the last time as Danny backed my 2010 black Triumph Thunderbird onto the ramp and started lowering it to the ground on a cold December night about 11:30. Let's start at the beginning...

I was born on a balmy Carolina evening in May... NOT THAT BEGINNING, FOOL!


Okay, for a couple of months now I have been keeping an eye out for a deal on a Triumph Thunderbird. Then a few weeks before Christmas I became a little more serious, the weather turned unseasonably warm and I got the fever. I found a blue and white one in Texas on eBay that looked promising and made an offer. It was turned down but magically a demo 2010 with less than 1500 miles on the clock and about three thousand dollars worth of extra chrome appeared on eBay in Chicago.

That's a long way from where I live, but still it was black and beautiful. I ran the price up to what I though was reasonable, then bailed. It didn't sell and I began to hunt one closer to home. I found a brand new black and silver one a couple of hours away and emailed the folks there. They got down to a great price on the bike and I was almost sold...

Then the black one in Chicago creeped back into my consciousness. Reminding myself that nothing good ever came out of Chicago, I looked up the dealership on the net. The bike was still listed. Well, I'd just jot the phone number down, but I wasn't calling them. No sir, no way.

When I got Ken Rudoy on the phone at Chicago's Motorworks, we hit it off right away and I bought the bike about three hours later. Yikes!

Ken recommended a shipper named Danny Klemm of D & K Transportation Services who he had worked with before. I waited patiently (more or less) until a couple of days before Christmas before talking to Danny on the phone. He is from up north, I'm from way down south and don't hear all that well. The main thing I got from our conversation was that the bike would not get to me before Christmas.

Deck the halls, Charlie Brown Christmas and a Polar Express later I called Danny again on the 27th. On top of the regional dialect differences and my hearing problems, this time we also had a terrible cell phone connection. I heard something about snow, New Jersey and I swear Billy Joel. I tell you folks with hearing problems can amuse themselves during any conversation...

Danny would be in Lancaster with his 18 wheeler and my bike on the 28th around 8 or 9 pm. Or he'd be in Westchester with his wheezy sister on the 68th at eighty-nine. Whatever. I spent the next twenty-four hours cleaning out my shop in the back yard where the Thunderbird would live - whenever it arrived.

I called Danny again about ten pm on the 28th to tell him I'd have to meet him a couple of blocks from my house due to some construction problems on my street. We agreed to on a location and I wondered again what I had been thinking...

Danny lowered the ramp, rolled my bike off and flipped the bike to on. The lights came on and he hit the starter. Nothing happened.

"That's not good," I said zipping up my Triumph jacket against the 38 degree night. Danny, wearing a short sleeved Tshirt just smiled. He pulled in the clutch and hit the starter again. It turned over about three times and sprang to life. It sounded awesome!

"Where you headed next?" I asked as my bike warmed and Danny started closing up the big rig.

"Florida, I've got ten bikes on here that belong to Billy Joel."

I knew he had said something about Billy Joel! Still, I decided not to press my luck and ask about the wheezy sister.

One of Billy Joel's bikes.

If you see this sitting in front of a piano bar in Florida, go in!
If you see this sitting in front of a piano bar in Florida, go in!

"You want me to ride it to your house?" Danny asked.

Even though I appreciated the offer to drop the bike off at my house ( I assume in his Tshirt), I declined and wished him a safe trip.

I put on my helmet and gloves, straddled the bike and lifted it off the stand. Dropping the bike into first, easing out the clutch and rolling around by the front of Danny's truck just felt... right.

The night was much too cold and dark for riding a new bike so I parked it in my shop and lit the gas logs. What, everyone doesn't have gas logs in their man shop?

A light mist fell later as I walked back to my house to sleep, or try to.

The next day I waited until late morning to go down to the shop and pull the bike up to ride. The light mist apparently changed overnight to the great flood:

Ever got a new bike stuck in the mud? I have now...

So I spent the first day washing mud from under the seat, the fenders, and my jeans while my wife laughed at me. Such is life. I managed to ride a few miles around our neighborhood before the weather got bad again...

Today, the 9th of January it got up to about 65 degrees and I took the bike out for a bit. It handles great, sounds wonderful and people stop and stare at it when I pass. Okay, I made that last part up.

I dropped the reigns, let her run where she wanted and just look where we ended up:

Yes, that's a Krispy Kreme store. I only had one...

Ken from Motorworks of Chicago

Ken made so much money off me he flew to London!
Ken made so much money off me he flew to London!

Danny of D & K Transportation Services

If you need something hauled, Dan is the man!
If you need something hauled, Dan is the man!


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    • resspenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronnie Sowell 

      6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks for reading, Will.

      Triumph has a legacy and name recognition. Almost every time I wear my Triumph jacket or shirt some stranger will start a conversation about the old ones. They are often surprised to find them still being made! I saw a video on youtube from Triumph that claimed the Thunderbird name came from a Triumph guy staying at the Triumph motel in Florence, S. C. when the first Tbirds came out back in the 50's.

    • WillStarr profile image


      6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      My first two (and only) bikes were Triumphs, and they were the bikes to have in the early 1960's!

      Then came the Hondas, and they didn't leak oil, plus they always started. Then Harley's came back in favor. Then...!

      Great Hub!

    • resspenser profile imageAUTHOR

      Ronnie Sowell 

      6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks, Old Poolman. I was very careful today and plan to ride like I got some sense-guess I'll have to pretend!

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 

      6 years ago

      Well, lucky you, and a great story. Waiting for the new bike must have reminded you what a 4 year old feels like waiting for Santa to come on Christmas eve. Ride safe and enjoy yourself.


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