GALLERY OF MOTORCYCLES
HERE'S KIJ ON her second full-size bike, a 1998 Triumph T509, otherwise known as the Speed Triple. This is the color that cinched it for her, electric green. The original owner had customized the heck out of it: bikini fairing, solo seat cowl, Corbin leather seat, carbon-fiber tank protector, bar-end mirrors, and Black Widow carbon-fiber and stainless-ceramic underseat exhaust to expose the lovely single-sided swingarm. Oh, and what an awesome racket it makes!
This was Kij's avowed dream bike, so I got it for her for her 40th birthday. Getting and giving this gift was so much fun: I found it in Portland, Oregon, through an online ad, and while we were down there at Powell's Books (you must go to this bookstore), I snuck off to test-ride the bike. It was awesome, of course, so I bought it and planned to pick it up the following weekend. I borrowed a pickup from our friend Shawn, drove down, loaded the bike, and drove back during the strongest windstorm I've even experienced. Exciting. Right now, I can't recall offhand my excuse for being away all day....
When I got back, I secretly unloaded the bike and hid it in the building next door. Kij and our friends Lisa and Shawn then went to Noodle Studio (our favorite Thai restaurant), and I lagged behind so I could set up the surprise, using some lame excuse. I parked the bike in front of our apartment and put Kij's helmet, gloves, and leather jacket into the back of the Saab, parked right across the street. As we were walking back to our apartment after dinner, I had Kij close her eyes on our block. When we reached the Saab, I had her stop while I opened the Saab's hatchback, then asked her to open her eyes. Shawn and Lisa were quiet while I pointed across the street; for a moment, Kij didn't look where I was pointing, instead looking at the gear in the car. Then she saw the radical green bike across the street, made a lovely chirp, donned her gear, and that was the last we saw of her for half an hour. Probably the most fun I ever had giving someone a present.
I loved this bike - Kij took this with her when she moved back to Seattle... I wish I'd bought it from her! Alas, all the vehicles I wish I hadn't sold....