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Tales of The Crypt of Thebes

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It was a dark and stormy day actually, just a few days ago. Rained out of work, I cast about for something to do and my eyes lit upon a corner of my stereo playroom. Ensconced behind two turntables, an amplifier, a failed all-acrylic amp, all of them drawing dust in their resting place upon an mid-century Telefunken console was a door to a closet tucked away underneath a stairwell.

 

There was a secret there, a long hidden part of my past, no not an enigma wrapped in a mystery, but a phase of my life put away for awhile, but now in need of resurrection. "Time, more than time I thought". Flexing both mental and physical muscles I moved in and shifted the electronics, one by one and then gently, taking care for the spindly feet of the console moved it aside, revealing a plain white door. Not just any door, though, the entrance to the Crypt of Thebes, a journey to another time, another world.  And there preserved for 19 years rested a molding, rusty deflated tired example of the glory of British motorcycles, my 1962 Triumph 3TA.

3ta1.jpg

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What do the twins have to say about this?  I mean seriously, how are both of them going to ride at the same time?

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1 minute ago, The Dude said:

What do the twins have to say about this?  I mean seriously, how are both of them going to ride at the same time?

Double what?

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1 minute ago, oldtimer said:

Double what?

Oh, did they move on?  I mean the man has been talking tube amp this and tube amp that, I can't keep up with his flavor of the month.

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1 hour ago, thebes said:

It was a dark and stormy day actually, just a few days ago. Rained out of work, I cast about for something to do and my eyes lit upon a corner of my stereo playroom. Ensconced behind two turntables, an amplifier, a failed all-acrylic amp, all of them drawing dust in their resting place upon an mid-century Telefunken console was a door to a closet tucked away underneath a stairwell.

 

There was a secret there, a long hidden part of my past, no not an enigma wrapped in a mystery, but a phase of my life put away for awhile, but now in need of resurrection. "Time, more than time I thought". Flexing both mental and physical muscles I moved in and shifted the electronics, one by one and then gently, taking care for the spindly feet of the console moved it aside, revealing a plain white door. Not just any door, though, the entrance to the Crypt of Thebes, a journey to another time, another world.  And there preserved for 19 years rested a molding, rusty deflated tired example of the glory of British motorcycles, my 1962 Triumph 3TA.

3ta1.jpg

 

Was it also 'the best of times and the worst of times' or just raining?

 

Wb

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12 hours ago, The Dude said:

What do the twins have to say about this?  I mean seriously, how are both of them going to ride at the same time?

They each get one cylinder.

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15 hours ago, oldtimer said:

Thebes on a motorcycle?  I'm scared.

 

Ever been on one of those at high speed? With or without Thebes driving and considering you are probably old enough now to realize that you're mortal; you should be scared. Especially of other nearby motorists in larger vehicles.

 

Helmuts are known as 'brain baskets' in ICU's for good reason. :ph34r:

 

Wb

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3 minutes ago, Wolfbane said:

With or without Thebes driving and considering you are probably old enough now to realize that you're mortal; you should be scared. Especially of other nearby motorists in larger vehicles.

 

I stopped riding about ten years ago for exactly this reason. The maniacs in their 6000 lb Suburbans, driving at 85 mph while talking on the phone, swerving in and out of traffic with no regard for anyone else's safety, convinced me that it had just gotten too dangerous.

 

I still bicycle. It's going the same way -- too many maniacs, even on the back roads.

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3 minutes ago, Edgar said:

 

I stopped riding about ten years ago for exactly this reason. The maniacs in their 6000 lb Suburbans, driving at 85 mph while talking on the phone, swerving in and out of traffic with no regard for anyone else's safety, convinced me that it had just gotten too dangerous.

 

I still bicycle. It's going the same way -- too many maniacs, even on the back roads.

 

Here we have bike paths off road that go downtown through the river valley. I don't have to worry about someone texting, drinking coffee or looking in their mirror while applying Hag Putty because they're late for work.

 

Wb

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15 minutes ago, Wolfbane said:

Helmuts are known as 'brain baskets' in ICU's for good reason

And motor scooters are called donorcycles.  I quit riding for the same reasons listed above.

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8 minutes ago, CECAA850 said:

And motor scooters are called donorcycles.  I quit riding for the same reasons listed above.

 

For me it was the arrival of my first child. Too many 'nutz' on the road even 30 years ago. It's only getting worse!

 

Wb

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17 hours ago, The Dude said:

What do the twins have to say about this?  I mean seriously, how are both of them going to ride at the same time?

One in front and one in back. Me int he middle. I thought everybody drove their bikes that way.

 

Being a stereo nut I do love twins.  Take this bike for example.  If I recall correctly 1962 was the first year Triumph built a bike using unit construction, (gearing, trans engine all in one block). The unit construction twins dominated the market just about forever.  Indeed if you look at the old "biker" movies from back in the day you will see that most of the riders are on Triumph choppers, not "hogs".

 

I purchased this bike through a friend who was living in Paris in 1977.  He had an ex-pat Brit buddy out in Champagne country who sold me the bike. At the time it was a mish-mash of 350cc and 500cc parts.  Over a couple of months this guy showed me how to put it together, and off I went on various adventures around Europe (Spain,German, France, Belgium etc.) Morroco, and Canary Islands. In the Canaries I drove it around the top of a dormant volcano, in Morocco I literally raced the Marrakesh Express into Marrakesh. Met a guy there who was touring on his Harley! I drove it through Check Point Charlie, took it (and a girl) to a monastery in the German mountains that raised alpine dogs and beer! And various and sundry other adventures.

 

This bike broke down almost everywhere. Outside Paris it crapped out. Got helped by some passing bikers and spent the night in a rural 16th century farmhouse. In Casablanca it crapped out again and a passing biker led me into the Medina to a great guy who repaired mostly "pregnant bees" (the term real bikers used to describe the sound of those buzzing little Japanese bikes). In Spain one of the valves burnt out. I spent the night in an inn the town where it broke down. The proprietor's daughter and two friends were home from college for the weekend. They took me on a tour of old Roman ruins.  One of them I met again in Madrid and she showed me around. I found some Vespa valves in a small bike shop he said could be made to fit. Took a train back to the village where I had stashed the bike, and a local mechanic got them lapped in. 

 

Yes bikes can be dangerous. I fell off it several times. Dusted myself off and got back on. On the aforementioned volcano I found myself running down the road wondering where my bike was only to realize it was several yards behind me. On the Coastal Del Sol I cut to the head a of a construction bottleneck only to flip it over in the construction dirt.  Several people got out of the cars and helped me get going again. In another town I peeled out to show off for bored guards at a prison across the street from where I had just changed my front fork oil .Forgot to wipe off the tires and went sliding down the street.  The worst was actually back in the States where the front wheel got trapped between two rails at a railroad switch.  Speaking of which. I spent about 8 months in Europe on the bike and shipped it home from Belgium.  Picked it up at a giant warehouse in New Jersey.  It started right up and I was having fun racing the fork lift drivers around the building until a foreman caught us.

 

This would be around 1978. I drove it less and less frequently until 1996, when the rings wore out.  Sadly big cities and their suburbs are not great places for a 350cc bike. It's top speed with a tailwind ain't much over 60. It could go higher  but and it's geared lower for more power on the bottom end for the back places I was traveling in Europe. The 17 inch wheels also don't help in that regard.

 

I took it around DC's Beltway a couple of times to British Bike Days over in Maryland and it was as bad as the time I inadvertently found my self on the Autobahn in Germany.  Crazy scary.

 

My intention is to restore it, kinda since it's far from stock, and use it for short rides on the the less traveled streets around me.

 

The main thing about these old Brit bikes is that, like their cars, they broke all the time, but are always fixable.  I know every nut and bolt on this machine and it will be a fun project, once I spend a month getting all the dirt and crud off of it.  The main issue will be coming up with the right rings and pistons for the top end and re-lubricating everything that needs it.

 

 

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6 hours ago, Tom Mobley said:

whatta cool bike.  want it rebuilt?

Why is that something you do?  Except for the machine shop stuff I'll be doing this myself, but if you have expertise in this area, I may have a question or two.

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you can ama about engines.  I'm an advanced expert on engines.I haven't a Triumph apart in 30+ years though.  just curious.

 

in this day and age you can rebuild anything.  custom piston and ring manufacturers make anything.  babbit type bearings cam still be tough, but I'm not sure your engine even has any of those.

 

it's a 350, not a 500? 

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On 10/22/2019 at 8:17 PM, thebes said:

my 1962 Triumph 3TA

Thebes ride from Woodstock ..

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