WESTERN MANITOULIN—Several stunning photographs taken by a couple of Evansville residents are featured on the cover and inside of a British motorcycle magazine, accompanying an article written by a fellow Evansville writer.
“I was stunned to get the November issue of Nacelle magazine in the mail a few days ago. An autumn picture of Manitoulin, and of my now famous bike, was right on the cover,” said Brad Middleton. “Moreover, the article that I wrote for the magazine was given the main spread in the magazine, a British bike publication from the United Kingdom.”
He pointed out, “my wife, Bonnie Bailey, and Tara Bailey are both accomplished amateur photographers and took several photographs that go with the article. The photo of my motorcycle they put on the cover was taken by Bonnie at Silver Lake, near Silver Water, while the big photo for the article that made the centrefold of the magazine was taken by Tara Bailey on the forested road to the Meldrum Bay Lighthouse.”
“All of this is good for the Island,” said Bonnie Bailey. “It was kind of surprising to see that the article and photos were featured in a British magazine. I’m quite pleased Brad got published.”
She noted she is more into nature photography. “Brad wanted pictures of his motorcycle with fall leaves around it. I told him Silver Lake would be a good place for this but it would take the right time of day to get this photograph (which was taken a couple of years ago).”
“I do take a lot of photos and it was great to see Bonnie’s photo on the cover and my photo in the centre spread,” said Tara Bailey. She pointed out her photographs featured in Nacelle included one “while we were waiting in line for the ferry at South Baymouth and a photo of friends of ours (Barb Rayner and Steve Gumb) as we were riding behind them on bikes to the Mississagi Lighthouse.”
The photos were taken this summer,” said Tara. “It’s pretty exciting.”
Mr. Middleton said he had contacted the editor of the magazine, Steve Jackson, over in the UK and just asked if he would be interested in an article written by someone from Canada submitted for the magazine. Mr. Jackson emailed me back two or three days later and thought this would be a great idea, subject to him actually seeing the article.”
The first of two articles were printed in the November issue. Nacelle is a magazine published by the Triumph Owners Motorcycle Club (TOMC).
“The magazine is admittedly a small circulation magazine (judged against the larger motorcycle magazines in both the UK and the US),” said Mr. Middleton. “It probably has a circulation of less than 10,000 copies per monthly edition. While it is primarily a magazine that is written, published and circulated in the UK itself, it is also sent out to subscribers in Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well. That is why everybody I’ve talked to thinks it’s really cool that Manitoulin Island made it into a magazine that’s published in the UK and gets distributed in other countries around the world.”
Mr. Middleton explained, “the magazine is devoted primarily to motorcycles of the Triumph brand, which is understandable given that it is published by TOMC. Triumph is a bike that is manufactured in the UK. It is what is known as a heritage brand, like Harley Davidson in the US, Ducati and Moto Guzzi from Italy or BMW in Germany. Heritage brands are those brands of motorcycles where the manufacturers have been around for over 100 years or almost 100 years.”
“Triumph motorcycles in the UK are like Harleys in the US. There is a fierce loyalty to a brand manufactured right in your own country. When you ride a Triumph in the UK it’s like riding a Harley in the US.”
Triumph was a famous marque back in the days when the British motorcycle industry ruled the world in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, said Mr. Middleton.
“The glory days for the Triumph brand in North America were really in the 1950s and 1960s,” said Mr. Middleton. “Famous people in the entertainment industry would drive nothing else. A young Marlon Brando made his big screen debut riding a Triumph motorcycle in the mid-50s movie, The Wild Bunch. James Dean, a Hollywood heartthrob during his short life in the mid-fifties, rode a Triumph (before he got killed driving a Porsche sports car). The young rock and roll star Buddy Holly rode a Triumph before his untimely death in a plane crash in the late 1950s.”
“Then in the 1960s Hollywood sex symbol Ann Margaret rode a Triumph, in keeping with her tomboy personal life off screen,” continued Mr. Middleton. However, “probably the most famous Hollywood star associated with Triumph motorcycles was the great Steve McQueen, known as ‘the king of cool’ in the 1960s. Mr. McQueen was known for playing the macho role in a lot of movies in the 1960s. His most famous one is probably the movie “The Great Escape” where McQueen rides an actual Triumph motorcycle (disguised as a German BMW army bike) in a high speed jump (Dukes of Hazzard style) over the high perimeter wire to escape from a German prisoner of war camp in WWII.”
Mr. Middleton pointed out, “the most famous Triumph model of all time was the Bonneville. In the days of the rockers versus the mods in England in the 1960s, these bikes were affectionately known as a “Bonnie.” The nickname carried across the ocean and was used extensively in the US as well. Or just as often in the US and Canada this Triumph bike’s name became mispronounced, so that it was commonly called a “Bonnie-Ville.”
The “Bonnie-ville became the ultimate sports bike in the 1960s in both the UK and here in the US and Canada. Only the Harley Davidson Sportster rivalled it, in terms of being the epitome of cool,” continued Mr. Middleton.
“The motorcycle that appears on the cover of the November issue of Nacelle magazine is my very own Triumph Bonneville,” said Mr. Middleton. He explained, “while it looks just like the Bonnevilles from ‘back in the day,’ it is in fact a 21st century version of the Triumph Bonneville, which was revived by the Triumph company in England in 2001 to cash in on the retro craze that has swept through the motorcycle industry since the turn of the century.”
Mr. Middleton’s article ‘Born Again in Canada,’ while focussing on the concept of people who once owned a bike when they were young and then got back into the sport again years later, also provides the reader with a detailed description of where Manitoulin Island is, its demographics, population, a little about its history and how it got its name. “It is a biker’s paradise,” he writes.