Steve Drane

Japanese tsunami Harley arrives in Langford

Plans for Harley-Davidson still undecided, but motorcycle dealer promises a happy ending

It looks like a museum piece, maybe one of the original Harley-Davidson motorcycles from the Second World War.

But in fact, this bike is from 2004 — it’s just suffered a little water damage.

The motorcycle washed ashore on Haida Gwaii two weeks ago, after being swept out to sea in the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

The Harley has quickly become world-famous, even before it arrived in Langford Sunday night.

And while we’re learning a little about the history of the bike, it’s future is still unknown. For now it sits outside Steve Drane Harley-Davidson in Langford, where it’s become an object of much attention for people stopping by to see the bike and take photos.

Steve Drane, owner of the Lanford store where the bike is on display, had a plan to restore the 2004 Night Train and ship it back to Japan so it could be reunited with its owner. However, with all the international attention and uncertainty about what the bike’s Japanese owner wants, Drane’s plan could change.

He couldn’t say exactly what is in the works, though a decision is expected by next week.

“It’s on another leg of a journey,” Drane said. “Something will be coming up … I just can’t make a comment on it.

Drane did say that Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Harley-Davidson Canada are involved in the planning, along with the owner, reported to be Ikuo Yokoyama of Yamamoto, Japan. Yokoyama is 29 years old and lost his home and his father, brother and uncle in the tsunami.

“After I found that out, it made me more intent on possibly reuniting him with it,” Drane said. “But I have got to think about the individual’s feelings and my simple plan of just getting and restoring it may not have been what he wanted.”

Drane got involved after he got a call from friend Ralph Tieleman, who lives in Tofino, to tell him about the beached motorcycle. The story touched Drane, who felt he was in a position to help out and maybe bring something positive to such a tragic story.

“I thought there’s probably somebody over there that’s very concerned and wondered where their bike went,” Drane said. “I have the wherewithal to be able to repair it and I thought I could do somebody a favour.”

The bike itself is in rough shape.

It had been in a container that floated 5,000 kilometres across the ocean. But when it reached the B.C. shore, the container must have opened and the bike fell on to the beach. It’s new colour is rust, and sand and pebbles fill every hole and crevice.

Restoration is possible but would cost about $40,000 to $50,000. That’s far more than the price of a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

“It’s pretty significant,” Drane said. “It would be a major, major, major job. Every last nut, bolt and washer would have to come apart. But we could do it.”

Whether restored or left as is as a reminder of this incredible story, Drane promises a positive outcome.

“It’ll have a good ending. It’s a feel good story.”










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