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.


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.


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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Kenny Brown, the mad motorcycyle trick-rider is seen here tearing it up on a Triumph.

Kenny Brown, the “Wild Man” of motorcycle trick-riding is seen here tearing it up on a Triumph.

Or rebellious riders, I should say.  Thanks to the The Jockey Journal for these amazing pics of the “Wild Man” in action. Seen above and below, “Wild Man” Kenny Brown toured the country in the ’60s putting on one man shows at Drag Strips with his incredible stunts– always on his trusty Triumph.

The British built bikes, like Triumphs, were coveted by American riders for their lighter weight– and for what some considered better handling than the American built bikes at the time. By the 1950s, more Triumphs were sold here in the U.S. than any other country hands down. Triumph had their own version of the badass big bike, and it’s the stuff of legends– the Triumph Thunderbird.

Kenny Brown favored performing his unique brand of motorcycle trickery on a trusty triumph.

Kenny Brown favored performing his unique brand of motorcycle trickery on a trusty Triumph.

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From “A Day at the Races” by S. Clayton Moore–

During the pinnacle of Ed Kretz Jr.’s career in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he raced alongside some of the world’s most famous racers, pushing Indians and Triumphs to the very edge of their capabilities. His racing buddies included screen legends like Steve McQueen and Lee Marvin, television stars like Jay Leno, and world-famous racers like the “Indian Wrecking Crew” of Bobby Hill and Bill Tuman.

Perhaps no one in Kretz’ orbit was more famous than his father, Ed Kretz Sr., who won the very first Daytona road race in 1937. Known as the “Iron Man” for his amazing endurance on a bike, the elder Kretz was the greatest motorcycle racer of his time and one of the sport’s first major stars.


Ed Kretz Jr. (on the left) and Ed Kretz Sr. (on the right)

Ed Kretz Jr. (on the left) and Ed Kretz Sr. (on the right) on their trusty Triumphs.


Ed Kretz was born in 1911 in San Diego, and started riding motorcycles out of sheer necessity during the Depression. Another legendary racer, Floyd Clymer, saw his talent and managed to get the young rider to race a new Indian motorcycle. As he progressed through the racing circuit, Kretz quickly became one of the best-known racers in the country. He stood at only 5’8″, but weighed a muscular 185 pounds, and used his sheer physical strength in a style no one had ever seen before.

“My dad was strong like a bull,” his son remembered. “He drove a hay truck and would load and unload the bales by himself. He was shorter than I was, but he was stocky.” That strength served the elder Kretz well during his most famous race, the inaugural Daytona 200 in 1937. The race was already well-known in its first year and went on to become the single most important motorcycle race in America.


Ed Kretz AKA “Ironman” racing #88 for Triumph 

Motorcycle racing great "Iron Man" Ed Kretz Sr. on his trusty Triumph.

Motorcycle racing great Ed Kretz on the legendary Indian.


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