Called to the Hall There may be someone left in the British Columbia riding community who’s not familiar with the name Steve Drane, but it’s unlikely. The Victoria native has been synonymous with motorcycles for decades in this province, where his Steve Drane Harley-Davidson was established in 1987. The man is an institution here, and now he has taken his rightful place in the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame, to which he was inducted during a ceremony, Sept. 27, in Edmonton.
Though his 30,000-sq. ft. store location in Langford, BC just west of Victoria is Drane’s primary place of business (some might say residence) his influence extends far beyond the world of motorcycles. A prolific give-back-to-the-community attitude sees Drane’s name as the chief sponsor of seemingly every event, team, or charity that comes to him asking for public support. Ball diamonds, soccer pitches, youth programs, of course the local HOG chapter, and even demo derbies at the local speedway, are among the hundreds who annually ask for Drane’s support and are never turned away. Among those asking was Canadian Biker magazine. Our annual Toy Run in the fall has traditionally been led by Steve Drane, behind whom many thousands of supporting riders have rallied for the ride over the decades.
It was in 2011 that his name and dealership were brought to the attention of an international viewing audience in dramatic fashion. That was the year Ikuo Yokoyama’s 2004 Softail Nightrain washed ashore on an isolated beach in the Haida Gwaii islands of BC. The bike had drifted over 6,500 km across the Pacific Ocean after being washed away in a storage container during the tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. Yokoyama lost three family members in that disaster, and most of the normalcy in his life. When the sea-damaged motorcycle was brought to Victoria and the owner’s identity became known, Drane made an on-the-spot offer to rebuild the bike and ship it back to Japan at his own cost.
Yokoyama declined the offer for personal reasons, and the bike is now on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee. By the owner’s request it was left in the same ravaged condition it was found, as a sad legacy of that day when the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami claimed an estimated 15,000 lives. But Drane’s actions in the matter were documented by international media and became a vital part of the story.
Underlying his long-standing role as an excellent corporate citizen, Drane is at heart, a pure motorcycle enthusiast who began riding before he ever wore long pants. As a lifetime member of the Victoria Motorcycle Club and the old Westwood Motorcycle Racing Club Drane’s relationship with motorcycles began at the age of six. In 1969 he began an apprenticeship and quickly became a full-fledged mechanic after attending factory service schools run by Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki and Suzuki. His strong mechanical background, coupled with his love of riding, contributed to a long career in motocross, sidecar, hill climbing, drag and road racing on Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki and Harleys.
In 1971, Steve Drane became one of the first licensed class six motorcycle instructors in British Columbia. His knowledgeable experience with motorcycles has led to his expertise being sought out by many organizations. For example, both the crown and the coroner’s office have asked him to testify as an authority in traffic accident analysis. Today, his clients range from police departments to recreational riders throughout British Columbia, where it seems that practically everyone is on a first-name basis with the man, and he’s entrenched as institution.
Joining Drane as inductees during the ninth annual Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame Induction Banquet and Reunion were the Manitoba Motorcycle Club, Murray Dochstader,
Steen and Marion Hansen, Glenn and Rex (d) Turple, Bob Work, Zoli Berenyi, (d), Steve Baker, Pete Kellond, and Greg Williams.
Founded by Bar and Hedy Hodgson in 1999, the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame preserves and promotes Canadian motorcycle history for the benefit of the motorcycling community and public. An independent board of volunteer directors representing every region of the country governs the Hall of Fame. Since the first induction banquet in Toronto in 2006, almost 100 distinguished motorcyclists and organizations have been inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
Text as it appeared in the December 2014 issue of Canadian Biker magazine with additional photos.