I RODE dirt bikes all my life but decided I wanted to stay alive, that’s why I waited till I was 40 until I got a road bike. I thought I might have a little more sense about me by then. I was a ratbag. I like dirt bikes; they’re a lot of fun. I love speed so I just knew if I got on the road younger than 40 I might not be here.
Does the magic 40 make a difference? Probably not, but that’s what I told my wife.
I nearly didn’t make it to 40. I was still 39 when I did a high speed wheelie on my dirt bike at about 100 km/h. I clicked it up to fifth gear and it just got a bit loose in the tail and threw me over the handlebars. I don’t remember too much. I fractured the C4 and C5 in my neck and I was apparently one millimetre off quadriplegic and two millimetres off death. So I am pretty fortunate to still be here.
My brother Andrew had organised his own custom Harley about a year ago, a Fat Boy, and I loved it. I thought it was a fantastic bike. He let me have a ride of it and I fell in love.
So my wife Caroline teamed up with my Andrew. She basically gave him some money and he went and bought a stock standard Fat Boy. He knew Adam Layton at APL Performance because Adam had done the work for his bike and he arranged to get Adam onto the case. Andrew had a fair idea of what I liked because he had seen my reaction to his bike.
Andrew selected the wheels, pipes, bars, colours, seat; he basically selected everything. Caroline had given her input to some degree but she basically trusted Andrew to make the right decision.
I noticed a gob full of money had gone from my account so I had to ask the question, “Where has the money gone?”
Caroline eventually told me. I was excited and I asked to go see Adam, to see if I was happy with the selection and everything. Funny enough, I was; my brother had made the right choices. I made a couple of little changes but the main one was to the colour. I have a mate who has a red Ferrari and I always loved the colour. That’s all I did.
I finally saw the bike when Adam delivered it to our place on my 40th birthday, and there was a nice little surprise — he had organised the LED lights to be put in. It really set it off. My wife and daughters presented me with the bike and I was as happy as Larry.
It’s a stock Fat Boy that’s basically been stripped down, re-painted, new pipes, new wheels, seat, handlebars, grips, foot rests, all new controls, and chrome-plated just about everything you can chrome.
The tanks have some initials in it. It says CJD which is my wife’s initials, and on either side are my two daughters, DJD and EKD, so when I’m riding my girls are always with me.
Pics by Wall-to-Wall; words by Dave Denton