Guam Harley-Davidson will ship 40 Harley-Davidson motorcycles to Palau to participate in the opening of the new Compact Road on Oct. 1 .
William Neilsen general manager of Guam Harley-Davidson told the Journal "We’re going to ship 40 bikes down there and we’re participating in the Independence Day celebration and the commissioning of the new Capitol office building."
Neilsen said that he sold Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau Jr. a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle in November 2005. "He came up here and purchased it. He invited my wife and I to deliver it for him. So we went down to Palau and spent a few days down there and really enjoyed it."
He said that while in Palau he mentioned to the president how once a year Harley-Davidson would ship motorcycles to Saipan and participate in the Fourth of July celebration. "He told me how we had just missed the Independence Day celebration and how it would be nice to have a bunch of motorcycles for that. I told him that I would talk to some of the motorcycle clubs about it. I came back and everybody thought it was a great idea. We’ve been organizing the trip now for nine months – since November."
Neilsen said that Remengesau appreciated his Harley-Davidson. "He’s a big fan of Harley. He has one Harley and a couple of dirt bikes. He’s been a rider since he went to school in the states. He had a Harley."
"There are seven Harleys on Palau. I think after this trip there will be a few more "
He said that this could be an opportunity to sell more Harley-Davidsons in Palau but that is not why the company was are doing it. "The opportunity may be there but that’s not why we’re doing it. This is an event. Of the 40 bikes going down there only five of them will be mine. The rest are personal bikes. These aren’t new motorcycles. In the states this would be equivalent to a scheduled ride somewhere. Here we can’t ride too many places."
Neilsen also sees this as a good relations builder. "People look at us to be a central point for activities. They’ve come to expect us to have activities such as when we open the new store (See "Harley-Davidson cruising to Asan" in the June 26 edition of the Journal.) if you have seen any of our parties; there are about 500 to 700 people there."
Remengesau is not sponsoring the ride. "He’s helping us out by providing a forklift to help off load the bikes and a place to store the bikes and he’s scheduling a bunch of events. The president has arranged some village fiestas and has also arranged for some boats to be available for fishing and diving. He isn’t funding it. All the expenses are being covered by us " he said. Most of the people attending the ride will be paying for their own expenses. Harley-Davidson will be picking up any additional expenses.
Remengesau would be participating in the ride and probably the vice president as well. "We also sold them 10 Harley-Davidson police motorcycles. I’m sure those will also be in the parade."
The ride will take place along the new 50-mile Compact Road. "We rode on part of it when we were there in November. It was about 60% complete then. It’s a beautiful road. It goes through valleys and hills and along the seashore. It’s really just a beautiful ride and it would be exceptional on a motorcycle."
There will be about 60 people attending the ride. Participants will leave for Palau on Sept. 27 and return Oct. 4. It takes about four days to ship the bikes to Palau. About 50% of riders will be members of the business community he said. Neilsen said the ride could become an annual event. "I think it’s going to be a blast. I really do "" but next year someone else will have to coordinate." MBJ