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Dennis W. Lid

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First to Last - The Tale of a Biker
by Dennis W. Lid   

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Publisher:  CCB Publishing Type: 

Copyright:  7 July, 2007 ISBN-13:  9780978116293

Barnes &
Lid's Lair or

The quest... a military man... his motorcycle adventures - all are weaved into a life's odyssey of war and peace that culminates in the answer to his lifelong search, and perhaps yours as well. The question is:

"Where does your treasure Lie?"

Non Fiction - Biography/Memoir: First to Last - The Tale of a Biker by Dennis W. Lid, ISBN: 978-0-9781162-9-3 (print version) may be purchased from Barnes&,, or It may also be purchased in e-book format from the following online retail bookstores: and Amazon's Kindle Store. Year Published: 2007. Your Price: Print book - $14.95; e-book $8.95. First to Last is the true story of a soldier's life through the motorcycles he has owned and the most prominent action events that have occurred on those bikes and during his lifetime. The manuscript has an international tone with a heavy accent on Asia, is action oriented during peace and war, and spans the generations in its common appeal to motorcyclists, hobbyists, adventurers and romanticists of all ages. It is a factual, first-hand account of the tale of a biker, a warrior and an incurable romantic. The book includes maps and photographs with captions that follow portions of the story line. Its theme combines historical nostalgia with adventure romance to yield an avant-garde, neo-classic novella of the two-wheeled conveyance -- the motorcycle. The weave of motorcycle, man and events is nothing less than a lifelong search for the Holy Grail that culminates in answering the question of where one's treasure lies.    

Outline: First to Last - The Tale of a Biker by Dennis W. Lid


The End

Sale of last bike

End of riding days

It happens to all of us


The Beginning

First bike -- A Rube Goldberg learning device

Tommy Llewellyn's Influence

An introduction to a biker's way of life



Years of drought without a bike

Finishing school and beginning work

Acclimatization to army life


Resurrection and Resumption

Back to motorcycling

The Ducati years

Bike shop and drag strip


The Missouri Connection

Initiation to off-road riding

Trail riding on earth and ice

Enduro racing



Leave and restlessness

New Honda scrambler
The trip from San Jose, CA to Fort Bragg, NC


Okinawa Bound

Preparation -- Special Forces training

Okinawa assignment, promotion, temporary duty and staff work

Scrambles racing and stress release at Kadina and Naha


Taiwan Sojourn

The military exercise - Forward Thrust

Night maneuvers - downtown

My Hakka gal and the Kawasaki scrambler


Years of Drought

Last tour to Vietnam

Peacetime in Hawaii with my worst bike

Active duty finale in Panama with no bike


Fresh Start

Japan civilian venture

The Honda touring and cruising years

The European aberration and the dream bike acquisition


Return to Japan

The Kawasaki Ninja experience

The Camp Zama Motorcycle Club (ZMC)

Comradery and sport touring in the land of Nippon


Last Hurrah

The gradual demise of the ZMC

The incident, age degradation, and an attack of spirituality

The closing of a chapter in life

# # #

Table of Contents follows the Outline.

First chapter follows:


"For where thy treasure is, there also will thy heart be." (MATT. VI. 21.)

We spend our lives searching for answers. There are many questions to be addressed in life, but the most important one that must be answered by each of us is, "Where does my treasure lie?" The answer to this question is of the utmost importance, since it results in the culmination of our search for the Holy Grail. Do you know where your treasure is?
This is the tale of a biker . . . a soldier . . . a man whose life's adventures are intertwined with the motorcycles he has owned and the experiences he has had. This saga will take you on a journey through the highlights, episodes and travails of that near-lifetime sojourn and the interesting events that occurred along the way. Perhaps when we have finished with this trek, you will be able to answer the key question in your own life -- "Where is your treasure?" I think I know, at long last, where mine is.
And so the journey begins -- at the end. It happens to all of us sooner or later. Your time will come as well. It's the dreadful event or occasion that ends your riding days. For some, it's an accident or injury; for others an illness, and for still others it's old age or just plain loss of capability or interest that brings on the occasion. Whatever the reason, it happens, and your riding days are over. It's time to "hang up the spurs." For a true rider, a real biker, an aficionado of the two-wheeled conveyance called the motorcycle, that happening would seem to be an absolute tragedy . . . like the end of the world -- except for the memories, that is. We have spent so much time collecting those memories throughout our lives, and carefully storing them in our brain-cell databanks, that we are not about to forget them. The memories sustain us after the actions and adventures have past. We recall them at will to lift our spirits and help us carry on with life, or existence, as the case may be. Consider a fellow like Evil Knievel, who has reached the point of no return. He has been a daredevil to the extreme all of his life, and successfully so. Yet, multiple injuries, age, loss of flexibility and estimations of consequences have caused him to finally lose the edge. Now he tutors his son in the art and technique of extreme daredevil riding and exhibitionism. His son has become his alter ego. The master dreams his dreams and relinquishes the reins of control to the younger generation out of necessity. His time has come. His memories, indeed, are sufficient to endure what lies ahead on the remainder of his life's journey. Yet, I wonder where his treasure is now.
My time came in Japan about 12 years ago at the age of fifty-six. It was a fateful day in the fall of 1993 for yours truly, and all five-feet-eight inches of my brown-haired, blue-eyed, athletic, wiry and, otherwise, nondescript self. I remember standing on the sidewalk in front of the house watching a friend by the name of Jack Owen drive off on my last bike . . . as its new owner. Jack and I had been riding companions for many years in the Camp Zama Motorcycle Club of Sagamihara, Japan. It was a U.S. Army, Japan (USARJ) sponsored club located South of Tokyo -- but more about that later. I was surprised that Jack bought my 1987 Kawasaki Ninja 750 R, since he already owned a Yamaha 1150cc Virago. Perhaps he wanted to try a sport bike with the front-leaning driving position for a change, or maybe he just liked the looks and performance of it. One year later, however, he sold the Ninja and kept his Virago. I guess he didn't like the front-leaning-rest position after all. It takes some getting used to as compared to the upright sitting position of the Yamaha. The difference in posture equates to the difference between a sport bike and a cruiser. I never asked him why he sold it, and he never divulged his rationale. We parted company that day and had infrequent contact with one another for the next few years. The bike was the common denominator, you see, and when that link was severed, there was little basis for continuing our relationship. Work and other interests caused our paths to diverge and diluted our friendship. I eventually transferred to a new job and location back in the States and totally lost contact with my friend for several years.
As Jack drove the sleek, black, Kawasaki Ninja away from me and into the sunset that fateful day, he took a piece of my heart as well. He drove up the sidewalk and onto the road. I watched until he was out of sight, shading my eyes with my hand as bike and rider were silhouetted against the setting sun. Even after I could no longer hear the turbo-like drone, the heartbeat of the vertical four, I stood in place for a long time holding the check from the sale of my geisha, as I was fond of calling her. Now she was gone; there would be no replacement. The impact of that fact began to sink into my consciousness, as I stood there motionless. My eyes looked without seeing anything, like the "thousand-yard stare" of a warrior after the battle subsides. It dawned on me that the time had come to "hang up my spurs" and end my riding days. It would take awhile for me to really grasp the significance of that realization. After sharing the better part of my lifetime with the iron horse, what would I do without one? The weekends would seem to be a bit listless and empty; the camaraderie of riding companions non-existent. Good-by to new motorcycle adventures, the adrenaline rush and the accumulation of fresh memories of the good times. Why, then, must I stop riding now? The reasons that contributed to that conclusion will eventually surface during this journey of a biker's tale. Part of it has to do with the challenge, the search, the quest that I mentioned earlier, but there's more to it than that. All that's left now, and since that fateful day, is the memory of the motorcycles I once owned and the great times I had on all of them . . . from First to Last. Yet, the quest for the Holy Grail continues. Perhaps it's a relentless search until the very end -- until one draws one's last breath.

Professional Reviews

First to Last - The Tale of a Biker
First to Last: The Tale of a Biker by Dennis W Lid encompasses the author's lifetime love of motorcycles and a military career that spans the globe. Dennis W. Lid's search for his “Holy Grail” and to find “where his treasure lies” unveils one man's romantic quest for answers that all of us must seek within our lifetime. While the author's love of motorcycles is a strong recurrent factor, this is a personal and revealing true story. His narrative delves deeper into the physiology of being uniquely human. Lid's ability to share his tragedies, victories and inner self are moving and open, showing how we all are different, while being the same. First to Last: The Tale of a Biker is more about the man than motorcycles and leaves his readers looking into themselves to ask and answer the questions the author found so compelling and important to him, and each of us.

A powerful story full of life's risks, joys, loves and an understanding that each of us seek. Job Well Done, Compelling and insightful!

Ray Ward

First to Last -The Tale of a Biker by Dennis W. Lid with Book Review by Angry Bob of
A while ago I met Dennis Lid in the virtual world through his interest in contributing to this blog. Dennis is an old-timer who no longer rides, but has a keen ability to share his love of the two-wheeled world. This is demonstrated through his new book called First to Last (The Tale of a Biker).

The book is the chronicling of his life story from the perspective of how his life experiences and motorcycles influenced the outcome. Dennis served as a Special Forces soldier in the Vietnam War. After the war, he spent time at various military locations in the US, owning different motorcycles. While abroad, Dennis met the woman of his life and they eventually settled down in Japan.

Dennis did a lot of riding in Japan with a riding club called Camp Zama Motorcycle Club. The book tells of the rise and fall of the club, as well as the final scene of Dennis’s riding career - with a friend riding off on his (now) sold Ninja. He has not ridden since.

The book is well written and a short, easy read. Having read some other articles from Dennis, he is a deep thinker, sometimes with a focus on the soft side. Throughout the book, he challenges each reader that life is about finding one’s own Holy Grail. As every reader will find out, Dennis has found his.

Book Review by Angry Bob of

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