Dan, back riding after 20 years.
Dan is a fan of Motorcycle Rambler and has made contact with me to tell me that reading my blog has inspired him to put pen to paper about his life and his adventures in biking. And his adventures are many. Dan is a retired US Marine that met the love of his life, his wife Vangie, when he was on a tour of duty in the Philippines in 1975. His first bike was a Kawasaki KZ650 which he bought in the U.S. when he was a young guy. He rode it around mainland U.S. and then shipped it to Hawaii when his career took him there. He has since ridden all over the world, Bermuda, Thailand and Japan, to name but a few places. Injured during his last tour of duty, he had to retire at the age of 38 years. He and Vangie moved to the Philippines in 1996 to be near her family. He shipped his trusty Yamaha Virago 750cc to the Philippines too. A great shaft driven bike that had given him miles and miles of trouble free adventures. The Customs Authorities initially said the bike hadn’t been received in order, with the correct paperwork. When he could show the paperwork was correct, and all was in order, they slapped massive tax and duties on it. The charges were set so high that the bike would cost more than a brand new bike, and he had to relinquish it. Every biker can imagine the pain of his loss.
In 1996 there were almost no big bikes available to buy and Dan just couldn’t see himself, a big man, scooting around the Philippines on a 125cc bike or a little moped. Besides, his disability from his injury was not helping where it came to riding, and the roads were atrocious. Recently the roads have improved by Philippine standards and bigger bikes are now a lot more common and available. Dan eventually managed to convince Vangie that he should buy a bike and has already clocked up over 1700 km since July. Even taking a chance to go for a blast now that the rainy season is in. He says that riding in the Philippines has to be experienced to be believed. Water buffalo, goats, cows and chickens are normal obstacles in an everyday ride and the outside lane of a four lane highway is seen as a great place to park or dry your crop of rice. Oh, and traffic laws are non existent, so nobody is going to bother you, when your drying your rice, or parking in the middle of the street or travelling in the wrong direction, in your lane of choice. Headlights, brake lights and turn signals, either the possession of, or the use of, is totally optional. How to fix a big pothole? Fill it with dirt, light a fire over it and throw a few tyres on top. Then hope the rubber melts over the hole, and seals it for a while.
Dan chose a beautiful Kawasaki Vulcan 650S having looked at Harley, Honda and a few more marques. Initially on a trip back to the States, he tried and loved the Vulcan 900, but decided it was too big for the tight traffic in the Philippines and settled on the 650. He doesn’t regret his choice because it’s working out beautifully for him, and from the photos I have seen it is truly sweet. So after an enforced absence of twenty years, Dan is back and he is loving the joy of being out on his bike and feeling the wind on his face. He is looking forward to longer adventures in the beautiful landscape and scenery that is available to him in the Philippines. I am looking forward to hearing about them and seeing the photos. Ride safe, my friend. So if you haven’t been out on a motorbike for a long time and are thinking about the possibility of getting back into riding, I hope Dan’s story will inspire you to experience the joy of motorcycling once again. Thanks Dan. Have you got a motorcycling story you would like to share with us?