Scott Thompson of York Township rides his 1971 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle recently at Fairmont Park in Red Lion. He bought the bike as a young man, sold
Scott Thompson of York Township rides his 1971 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle recently at Fairmont Park in Red Lion. He bought the bike as a young man, sold it and recovered it by chance almost four decades later. He'll ride it in the York City Bike Night parade Friday. (Bill Kalina photo)

There has only ever been one motorcycle for Scott Thompson.

First, it was a just a picture Thompson looked at every day until he'd finally saved enough money.

He was 20 years old when he bought his dream bike, a 1971 Triumph Bonneville, from a shop in Wrightsville.

"I never rode one, and I bought it and I rode it out of the shop," he said with a laugh. "And I didn't fall over."

A few years later, Thompson said, he needed the money he'd invested in the bike for other things. He'd gained a healthy respect for the dangerous side of motorcycling and was willing to put the cruising life behind him.

Forty years ago, Thompson sold that bike and never looked back.

The twist: The Bonneville, however, had other plans.

One of the bikes on display in Continental Square for York City Bike Night on Friday will be this 811 damage-prevention themed bike built by Paul Teutul
One of the bikes on display in Continental Square for York City Bike Night on Friday will be this 811 damage-prevention themed bike built by Paul Teutul Jr. in an Episode of "American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior." The bike for One Call Concepts reminds people of the importance of calling 811 to located power and water lines before they dig. To learn more about the bike, visit www.occinc.com/about/bike or pauljrdesigns.com. (Submitted photo)

One winter night about three years ago, a neighbor knocked on the door of Thompson's York Township home.

"You like British bikes and sports cars, right?" the neighbor asked, motioning to the bed of his pickup truck.

There, with the same handlebars Thompson had customized for his own riding pleasure, was the 1971 Triumph Bonneville he'd sold nearly four decades earlier.

"I couldn't believe it. I literally couldn't believe it. I almost fell over," Thompson said.

That night, Thompson offered to buy the bike for $500 more than the neighbor had paid for it. The neighbor agreed.

Thompson has since had the bike restored to like-new condition.

"It's the thrill of a lifetime. It's like recapturing youth," Thompson said. "This is the one and only, and now it's back."

On Bike Night: Now 62, Thompson will ride the bike that came back to him Friday in York City's annual Bike Night parade.

Fittingly, this year's theme is vintage bikes.

The parade will leave the York Expo Center at 6 p.m. Friday. A party with food vendors, entertainment and bike-themed fun will follow and continue through 10 p.m. in Continental Square.

Scott Thompson’s 1971 Triumph Bonneville has been restored to showroom condition inside and out.
Scott Thompson's 1971 Triumph Bonneville has been restored to showroom condition inside and out. (Bill Kalina photo)

As for Thompson, you might catch him joy-riding on Sundays around the York County countryside.

Though a bit more cautious as an older man, Thompson said he's rediscovered his love of motorcycles.

"I never got it out of my system," he said.

-- Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.