motorcycles Make For Great Translators

January 12, 2022 | By Mike Seate


Recovering this month from some fairly extensive surgery on my banged-up kick start foot has left me lots of time for catching up. And not just on much-needed sleep and a few good books, but on my list of places to go once I’m all recovered and healthy in a couple of months. In times past, my Wife and I have frequently debated over whether our annual vacations should be spent at motorcycle-related destinations. Unless an accommodation magically becomes available on the Isle of Man during TT week (which ain’t happening this year thanks to record interest) we tend to vacation in places full of the sort of history, culture and genuine strangeness that keeps both our minds buzzing for long afterwards.


Being a French speaker, she has convinced me several times to visit Paris, a place I learned that really is a crazy, wonderfu International destination. Besides the amazing museums, galleries, fashions, folks and pants-bursting cuisine, Paris is a burgeoning motorcycle mecca. It’s broad avenues and tight back streets are constantly abuzz with the pop and roar of motorbikes both big and small, and it was here we met the chap pictured above, who recognized both Kim and I from our column images in Cafe Racer magazine. He spoke even less English than I do french, but he dragged us both into the tiny curbside shop to show us the copies of our magazine then reversed course- in a cloud of very cool Gitanes smoke, naturally – to show us his original, 1940s Triumph Speed Twin.

A co-worker joined us and explained that our new ami rode and maintained the Triumph and rode the rigid twin every day despite the crazed taxis, suicidal pedestrians and other hazards of the City of lights. We even sat down for a bottle of wine before parting ways, each of the trio expressing the joys of biking in whatever ways we could. Travel Ride. See the world. It’s a winning formula.