When you’re a kid, few things are more special than learning and doing hands-on things with someone in your family. This short film is all about what happens when your family tradition is classic Triumph motorcycles, and it’s full of both heart and electrical gremlins.
The 1969 TR6 Tiger marked Triumph’s transition away from the ‘Trophy’ designation back to ‘Tiger,’ even though the color for that year was officially called Trophy Red according to Ian Falloon’s The Complete Book of Classic and Modern Triumph Motorcycles, 1937-Today. One of these bright red ‘69 TR6s is the beating heart and soul of this documentary.
Randall Berkeley grew up with motorcycles in California. From dirt bikes to superbikes, he’s been riding his entire life, and his dad and uncles are a huge reason why. Every year, they take a family trip on classic Triumphs across Northern California. For the trip in this doc, they ended up at Laguna Seca for World Superbike, so it was obviously shot a couple of years back.
The TR6 in question had been in the family for its entire life, and both Berkeley’s dad and uncles swore by how rebuildable and reliable Triumphs have been for them. ‘Reliable’ is the exact word they used, but it seems to refer more to the fact that the group consistently knew how to fix any electrical system gremlins that popped up, rather than the idea that nothing ever went wrong. With a reliable brain trust of vintage Triumph rider knowledge, roadside repairs on one bike or another became an annual feature, not a bug.
Whipping out old-school paper Thomas maps to navigate back roads, fire roads, and anything else that looked fun and went in vaguely the correct direction, the group would take three or four days just riding upstate. They'd camp out at national parks, then ride wherever looked promising. All the while, they took in the breathtaking natural beauty of the great state of California.
Berkeley’s dad is still riding as part of the group, but he wanted the joy of seeing his son ride that ‘69 TR6 on their trips. Rolling a crew of vintage Triumphs together seems to have brought the already close-knit group even closer together. Stories and people like this are some of the best things about motorcycling, and why so many of us love it.