Since it was pulled from a remote beach on Haida Gwaii, volunteers have looked after the bike every step of the way — ferrying it across Hecate Strait and then driving it about 1,600 kilometres from the northwestern, B.C. city of Prince Rupert to Victoria, where it will be shipped back to Japan. “I thought, you know, if I lost one of my bikes it would be pretty important to get it back,” said Ralph Tieleman, a Tofino, B.C., man and motorcycle enthusiast, who trucked the bike to Victoria.
The 2004 Harley-Davidson Night Train bike — caked in salt and damaged by pounding surf — may be one of the most unique and improbable artifacts to hit the west coast of Canada since the disaster.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Coast Guard sank an unmanned fishing boat because it was a hazard to shipping and to the coastline. Last month, a soccer ball lost by a Japanese teenager also washed ashore on an Alaskan island. The bike was found in April on Graham Island, the largest Haida Gwaii island, by Masset, B.C. resident Peter Mark. The motorcycle had made it across the Pacific stored in a large container and packed in Styrofoam. Traced through the bike’s licence plates, the motorcycle’s owner was identified as Ikuo Yokoyama, a 29-year-old Japanese man who lost three family members in last year’s disaster.
According to a statement, Steve Drane Harley-Davidson will prepare the bike for shipment to Japan, where it will be restored by Harley-Davidson Japan and returned to its owner.
-By Keven Drews in Vancouver