BOB DYLAN & HIS TRIUMPH | ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE CRASHING

A great archival piece, Highway 61 Revisited…On a Triumph from one of the best sites out there — The Vintagent — on Dylan and his Triumph days, and how the crash ultimately changed his outlook on life, and impacted his music.

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Bob Dylan on his red-and-silver ’64 Triumph Tiger 100 motorcycle.

These photos of Bob Dylan date from 1964/5, when he rode a Triumph on the leafy roads surrounding his home in Woodstock, New York. This charming young folk singer, a man of unpredictable habits, was a charismatic figure on his red-and-silver ’64 Tiger 100. He was often accompanied by a lovely young lady named Joan Baez, who was his early defender, lover, and co-performer, notably at the August 28, 1963 March on Washington, in which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his ‘I have a Dream’ speech. Dylan’s music, implicitly political during this period, became anthemic to a generation seeking change.

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Bob Dylan on his Triumph motorcycle, Bearsville, New York, summer 1964.  Facing the camera, Victor Maymudes, Bob’s road manager. Back to camera, painter-musician Bob Neuwirth.  Photo Copyright © John Byrne Cooke

On July 29, 1966, it was announced that he had suffered injuries after ‘locking up the brakes’ on his Tiger 100, not far from his manager Alan Grossman’s house in Woodstock. Though no hospital data records an entry from Bob Dylan, he claimed to have suffered facial lacerations and ‘several broken vertebrae in his neck’. Quite an injury, yet no ambulance was summoned.

Dylan had this to say about his crash: “When I had that motorcycle accident… I woke up and caught my senses, I realized that I was just workin’ for all these leeches. And I didn’t want to do that. Plus, I had a family and I just wanted to see my kids.”

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