Tsunami motorcycle heading to Milwaukee

The bike washed ashore on a beach in Haida Gwaii at the end of April after being swept out to sea in the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011.

All parties have been contacted and a decision has been made to leave the tsunami Harley-Davidson in its current condition.

The corroded, sand-filled motorcycle will be displayed in the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as a testament to its incredible journey and the tragic story behind it.

The bike washed ashore on a beach in Haida Gwaii at the end of April after being swept out to sea in the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. It travelled across the ocean in a container box. Upon hearing of the story of the bike, Langford businessman Steve Drane had the idea to restore the motorcycle and return it to its owner in Japan. Plans changed, however, as the story attracted worldwide media attention.

The bike is now in Vancouver under the care of Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada. It will make its journey to Milwaukee, the home of Harley-Davidson headquarters.

The decision was made with input from the Canadian, U.S. and Japanese divisions of Harley-Davidson, who worked with the Japanese owner of the motorcycle, Ikuo Yokoyama, to come up with a solution.

Yokoyama, while touched that Drane and others were willing to fix his bike and return it to him, decided that he would rather see it “preserved in its current condition and exhibited to the many visitors .. as a memorial to a tragedy that claimed thousands of lives,” he said in a press release.

In the tsunami, Yokohama lost three family members and his home. The 29-year-old is still living in temporary housing in Miyagi Prefecture.

“I am very grateful to the Harley-Davidson Museum for offering me an opportunity to visit the museum, and I would like to do that when things have calmed down,” Yokohama said.

While on display at Drane’s Langford store, the motorcycle drew hundreds of people. Some were quite taken by the sight of the bike, Drane said, and would spend a few moments in silence taking in the story it tells.

“You couldn’t tell a story this good if the bike was restored,” Drane said. “It just mystified people.”


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