Three cool guys, bikers, like musketeers of varied talents and abilities, had met for the first time in the countryside north of Tokyo in Japan. It was the first face-to-face of two business partners and their Instagram friend Nero, the self-appointed nickname of a Harley pinstriper and video creator. Nero was looking forward to it, but like most Japanese, his English writing is much better than his English speaking. So he invited a local friend, me, an expat from Los Angeles, California, living in Japan for over 15 years, to help with the conversations. The chance was intriguing, the meet turned out to be full of good vibes and positive energy, and after a nice brunch at a café and custom Harley store, our day was almost through, as Mike and Marco (Last Breyt) had to return to Tokyo. I wished them well, hoping to stay in good contact, inspired by the spirit of everyone involved.
The morning meet.
The next day a big bikers cruise was planned, but I passed, as I was exhausted from menial tasks and schedules back home. But Nero, being the great beacon of positivity, not only invited me to join with my recently built Harley Evo, but didn’t even seem to perceive my doubts about making it. He just told me the morning meeting place locally and ended with, “See you there.” Don’t you just love it when a friend knows how to drag you out for some fun?
We met at the highway rest-stop / meeting place on a crisp, clear, but freezing Sunday morning, just two bikes, and headed to the heart of Tokyo. It’s quite a wild feeling, riding with these new biker friends of mine. Their passion for motorcycles is glaringly apparent, with almost every part of their bikes customized in such personal and varied ways. And their knowledge is equally impressive. I’ve ridden bikes my whole adult life, but only recently dove into the custom Harley world after putting in a year of sweat and tears at a famous local Harley builder.
Magic the gathering.
Parking of the gods.
Fox jumps over river, relaxes, tail wet.
After arriving in the Yokohama Bay downtown area and enjoying a well deserved meal, the group had a chance to really bond and take in all that we saw. It was such a perfect afternoon, and the clear sky was dominated by a few amazing architectural buildings. We took many more photos of our bikes. Marco again was in his natural element, as Last Breyt everyone wanted a cool photo with him on a motorcycle. It was also a chance to really appreciate the works of art that these Harleys were. Custom painted frames, chromed engines, hand-fabricated fairings and such. Unique one-of-kind bikes ridden by riders that were equally proud of their own uniqueness. I’m sure custom-bike culture is like this the world over, but it’s especially enjoyable in the land of Japan, where most citizens are not as flashy or open about their passions.
Written by Rob Palazuelos