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August 24, 2009

Dan, Dan the Biker Man

Resto and FJ 025 
By Danny Brault

[In the tune of “Bicycle Race” by Queen.] “Dan Pecora wants to ride his motorcycle … he wants to ride his bike…. ” And he wants to ride it a lot! So who is Dan Pecora? He’s your average Joe kinda guy who really, really likes to ride motorcycles, and after reading an email of his where he marveled at some new Yamaha models, I decided to call him up for a few words on the blog….

The chatty 57-year-old, who has operated equipment and snow plow trucks in Golden, BC for more than 30 years, offered more than a few words, and has spent more than a few miles on the road. In fact, after only listening to his endless tales of road trips, my butt started to get sore. Born and raised in the beautiful mountain town of Golden, Pecora is one of those special kinds of motorcycle riders; the ones who aren’t riding for any other reason than the experience itself. Here’s what we found out about “Biker Dan … “
Dan’s vitals
Age: 57
Dealer: Alpine Motorsports, Salmon Arm, BC (Universal Cycle in Calgary for tires)
Residence: Golden, BC
Years riding: 41

His FJR1200 …
“That bike has been everywhere! The Arctic Circle, Gulf of Mexico, both coasts of Canada, the top of Pike’s Peak, hot weather, cold weather, rain, ice and sleet—we’ve done it all. I have towed a trailer with it as well. You have to colour coordinate it, so I painted it as well [laughs]. I’m nuts, what can I say!”


Dan’s dream …
“I remember when I graduated back in 19 … okay, when I graduated [laughs], I put in my yearbook, that my dream was to open a Yamaha dealership. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’d love to get some type of PR job out west.”

Why Yamaha …
“I like the product; I like how they’re built and the looks. None of the others match them. There are lots of good bikes, but the fit and finish of the Yamaha—the whole lineup—is unmatched, other than the colours; they keep going back to black [with the FJR]. The motors too, that one [FJR1200] of mine is bulletproof. I’ve put on over 152,000 kms and I haven’t done a thing to it. Just regular maintenance. I had the valves checked a month ago, and one was out a little bit, but we did a leakdown test and nothing was leaking. My mechanic said it was borderline for rings, but that’s it.

“It’s just a tough bike. I don’t abuse it because I’m still on the original sprockets. I didn’t change the front brake pads until 70,000 some kilometres. I’m going to keep it, even if I get a new one, I won’t sell my FJR.”

Thoughts on some other Yamaha models …
“I tested the R1, FZ6R, Raider and FJR1300 [at Vernon Motorsports] and that thing felt like I was sitting on mine. You can’t get the best feel out of a bike in a 20 minute demo ride, but you get an idea. The Raider … I’m not a cruiser type of person; I’m more of a sport guy. I was surprised how comfortable it felt. I wouldn’t have a problem getting a Raider. The FZ6R was a nice bike. It had the cable clutch, so it was a little tricky getting used to and the seat was stiff. The R1, oh God, I’d get into too much trouble on that bike [laughs]. I was very impressed with all of the bikes.”


Dan’s riding background …
“I started riding when I was school with the 360-DT1, and then moved to an RD 250. I just did mostly street stuff, local stuff. In ’89, I bought an FZR1000. I did my first tour with it and went down through Washington and Oregon and Crater Lake. I came out of a gas station in Chemult, Oregon, going like 10, 15 mph, a lady pulled out in front of me and I t-boned her front end. That was it for that bike. I traded it in on an FJ and had it ever since.

“All of the miles on my FJ came from my tours across North America. In ’98, at 45 years old, I got my race license at Calgary Race City. I raced for four years. In my second year, I won the class championship in Vet class. I found an old Kawasaki KZ650, and switched to a GPZ750s motor for my second year; I couldn’t find a Yamaha that fit that class at that time. The next year, I got second place and then a fourth in my last year. I haven’t raced since but would love to race again!”

A sledneck too …
“I’ve had seven Yamaha snowmobiles over the years. From the SL351, GP433, 440 SRX, 750 VMAX, 700 VMAX, ET340, and my EW643B that I’m working on restoring. I raced sleds back in the ‘70s and did some drag racing with sleds in the ’90’s. So, yeah, a bit of a motor head [laughs].”

On his own …  
“I do all of my tours on my own. Every once and a while I’ll do some local day rides. I’ll get a bunch of my buddies and their wives together and we’ll go for a ride. Two years ago, a buddy and I did an “ironbutt ride.” We rode 1,074 miles in 20 hours! That was two weeks after I drove home from Brandon, MB.

“I came from Brandon to Golden, BC, which is 1,700 km and did it in one shot. I left Brandon at 6 AM and pulled into my garage at midnight. If I’m riding by myself, I ride, but if I’m with someone else, I’ll stop and shoot the breeze, grab a bite to eat or take some pictures.”

Advice for the long haul …
“You gotta be ready for it. It’s not something where it’s your first ride of the year and you just jump on and go. You got to plan it out and acclimatize your body to the longer rides. Take it easy and make sure your bike is in good shape; tires, chain is lubed and not worn out, have good riding gear—I’ve never skimped on riding gear. Don’t ride tired, I’ve done it, and it’s not safe.”

Best places to ride …
“Oh, boy … after 8 years of long distance riding and touring, there are lots. Lolo Pass in Montana is a good one. It’s 120 miles of long sweepers. There are some southern roads in BC that are awesome. Hold on, I got my map right here…. [Looking at map] Highway 6 East of Vernon is a superb motorcycle ride; Highway 23 South of Revelstoke down to Creston; Highway 3 that runs along southern BC is great; in Washington State, Highway 20 that runs from north of Seattle through the Cascade national park; I could go on and on….”

Memorable moment …
“The year that I rode the Alaska Highway, that was an 11,000 km trip. I met a couple from Texas and we camped out on the Yukon border. We rode together for a couple of weeks. They were on an older BMW. He had turned 50 and it was the 50th anniversary of the highway, so they thought that would be an excellent birthday present. That’s the year I went to the Arctic Circle and road the Top of The World Highway from Dawson city to Tok, Alaska. That was 150 miles of gravel, but the old FJ handled it well; I never had any problems with all of those trips.”

Dan’s dream road and dream bike …
“I would love to go down to North Carolina and ride the Tail of the Dragon (Deals Gap). It’s 300 and some curves in 11 miles of road. It’s supposed to be a smooth, wicked road. I’d love to go back down East to the Maritimes as well. I got friends all over the place. My dream someday would be to have the money and go tour Eastern Europe and maybe into Russia for a few months.

“The bike, to be honest, I keep my bike in good shape and I would love to be able to afford to take it. A new FJR would be nice though. I wish I could have a few more minutes on it and try to get a better feel. I was impressed with the Raider. I don’t know how good of bike it would be for touring, but it would be great for day rides.”


Why Dan rides …
“It’s cliché, but it’s the freedom; you don’t need a lot of road to pull off to look at something, you’re on your own, it’s the smells, sights, the people you meet … it’s all of it. Everybody who rides is after the same thing—the experience.”

Do you have a road trip story to share? Maybe a secret route and some pics? Then by all means, send them in to danny_brault@yamaha-motor.ca and we’ll get them up here on the Bike Blog! Thanks for reading.

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4 Responses to “Dan, Dan the Biker Man”

  1. FastJoyRide says:

    Dan if you’re coming through Vernon some time shoot me an e-mail (ddykesATwesternsuretyDOTca). I have a 2006 FJR (the first of the current generation) and I’d be glad to swap bikes so that you could get a better sense of the new bike – maybe out to Cherryville for a coffee! I had a 1992 FJ 1200 (the first year for ABS). Dave

  2. Dan says:

    thanks, will do that, I will email you as well

    ride safe

  3. Tammy says:

    I live in Golden and started riding about 10 years ago. I met Dan as a novice rider through a mutual friend, he was and continues to be full of helpful advice and encouragement to someone new to the sport. Having first owned a Yahama Virago 550CC and now a Yamaha 650, I am also a huge fan of the Yamaha line.

    I enjoyed reading this story on a local guy who truly is a “biker man” 🙂

    Thanks for writing in, Tammy. Do you have any interesting road trip stories to share? If so, feel free to email me at danny_brault@yamaha-motor.ca. Be sure to include some pics as well.

  4. Frank Simon says:

    Dan’s a Man??! 🙂

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