Old School

summer ’73 to winter ’75

Although the Freeriders didn’t last long and I never joined the Third Rail, let alone the Hell’s Angels, I did finish chopping my Triumph. This is the story of that project.

1973 stock Triumph motorcle
Photo #1: My wife, daughter, Duke and ’73 Triumph

Photo #1 is of my ’73 Triumph purchased right after leaving active duty the same year. I bought it right off the show room floor at Dewey’s Cycles in Seattle on 15th Ave NE. About the only thing I had done to it at the time of this photo was add the skinny sissy bar. Hey, I thought it was cool. I rode it like that for a couple of years. That’s my wife Jill (girl friend at the time), daughter Gwyn, Duke (my dog), and Jill’s mutt.

Photo #2 was my first customization of the bike.

Slightly modified
Photo #2: Slightly modified

I painted the tank black with some silver highlites and added the more comfy seat and road pegs. I was riding back and forth between Seattle and Richland a lot and could put my sleeping bag on the passenger seat and lean back on it. I had also added some slip on mufflers.

Later I added 6″ over forks and began chroming the cases. I had the tank painted by a pro (Beaver’s) with smoked flames over black with red pen striping.

Photo #3
Photo #3

Photo #3 is me after a bike-car accident. I was lucky to have survived. I was on the back of a buddy’s Norton Commando when we hit a car headon. We were traveling near 35 and so was the car. We caught the car’s front-left headlight. I was lucky and sailed over the car cracking my Bell helmet on the the pavement and receiving some serious road rash on my back. My knee required a hundred plus stitches. My buddy stayed with the bike which caught on fire. He ended up with a broken femur, burns, cuts, etc. I had several experiences like this until I quit riding in the early ’80s.

This was about the time I met Dan Alexander (aka Goldie) who was riding with the Free Riders. Dan had a ’66 Trumpet he had chopped and this inspired me to do the same. Besides, I couldn’t join the Free Riders unless I had a chopper, right?!?


'67 Triumph
Goldie’s bike: a ’67 Triumph


Photo #4 is Dan’s bike in the process and in #5 it’s done. I now know the feeling portrayed in both photos.

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