First to Last
The Tale of a Biker
by Dennis W. Lid
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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?"
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. It is a
factual, first-hand account of the tale of a biker, a warrior and an incurable romantic. The story has an
international tone, is action oriented during peace and war, and spans the generations in its common appeal
to motorcyclists, military enthusiasts, world travelers, hobbyists, adventurers and romanticists of all ages.
The book includes maps and photographs with captions that follow portions of the storyline. 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, places 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.
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!
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.
A true story of a soldier´s life as remembered through the motorcycles he has owned. It is one man´s journey
through life, revealing his passions, hidden treasures, and sharing his testament. Quick read with glimpses into
what sacrifices a soldier makes for his country.
- Nancy Brotherton, BellaOnline.com
An American rider recalls his life with motorcycles. Jim Algar reviews a mixture of biography, travelogue,
military memoir and personal motorcycle journey...
Those who love motorcycles tend to find easy, convivial company with others who share that love. But what leads us
to motorcycles and motorcycling in the first place is always a personal journey, not always easy to explain or relate
to others, whether their own journeys are similar to ours or wildly different.
But there remains with most of us a desire to make that connection, to explain how it started, to share the story
of the 'first bike' and all the adventures that followed.
Dennis Lid has written a slim memoir regarding his own journey and its objective, which he offers in an opening
biblical quote: 'For where they treasure is, there also will thy heart be.' By no means a philosopher, he nonetheless
understands what most of us feel, even it we have trouble articulating it; that motorcycles are more than just a
conveyance or a mechanism, and our enjoyment of them and attachment to them goes deeper than we might think or admit.
A career military man, much of Lid's motorcycle journey has dovetailed with the tenure and travels of his military
career. He is of the American generation that had its life shaped, for better or worse, by America's tragic involvements
in Southeast Asia. (He hints at stories he could tell of those times and places, but wisely admits that they would be
best saved for another time and another book.)
This book, 'First to Last,' starts at the end for Lid, rather than the beginning, as age catches up with him and he
is forced to watch his last bike, a 1987 Kawasaki Ninja 750R, disappear down the street with its new owner, and he must
come to terms with the fact that motorcycling for him will now be a matter of nostalgia and memory, not tangible activity.
He is not bitter; rather, realistic.
'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 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…that happening would seem to be an absolute
tragedy-like the end of the world-except for the memories, that is.'
For Lid, the nostalgia and the memories begin with a classic American childhood of bicycles, BB guns and double-dare
boyhood adventures in the Bay Area of Northern California… and a paper route that provided the leverage to convince his
parents that he needed something with a motor. Not a motorcycle; hardly even a moped. In reality just a push bike with
a scooter wheel on the rigid rear with motor and chain. Humble beginnings, yes…as is so often the case. But it was a
'The bike didn't just provide transportation but a means of mobility, freedom, independence and control.'
There followed a dry period - dry of motorcycles, at any rate - involving college years, ROTC, commissioning and a
tour of Vietnam. Back stateside, drawing a Captain's pay, motorcycling resumed while stationed in Georgia with a 125cc
Ducati. Motorcycles and a military career remained entwined, as each advanced. A larger 250cc Ducati made way for a
161cc four-stoke Honda (converted for trail riding), then a Honda 305 Scrambler that figured in a 3,000-mile dash from
California to North Carolina, but remained behind for a posting to Okinawa.
There Lid discovered scrambling and a new 175cc Kawasaki scrambles bike, purchased at a local motorcycle shop that
offered to sponsor him at the local scrambles races.
That same bike was converted for street use in Taiwan, next stop on the military merry-go-round. More bikes followed
in various world-wide locales; a Yamaha 250 scrambler in Hawaii, a brief non-bike period in Panama, then retirement from
the military and a civilian position with the Department of Defense, working in Japan for … the US Army. A couple of
Hondas there; CS 500 and a Saber 750. A year of work in Europe saw him purchase his last bike, the aforementioned 1987
Kawasaki 750R Ninja, which returned to Japan with him, until the 'end' of his biking days.
This may sound like a dry CV and bike-purchasing history - 'and then I was sent to, and then I bought' - but Lid
manages to create a mixture of biography, travelogue, military memoir and personal motorcycle journey that will strike
a chord with more than a few members of the far-flung tribe that is the motorcycle community.
'My friends, remember this tale of a biker, and that your time will come as well…In the meantime, keep on riding
and hold on to those happy memories for a lifetime. Enjoy your bikes and every experience on each of them from First to
At 112 pages with photos and a few maps, First to Last: The Tale of a Biker is a quick read, but not without its
About the Author
- Jim Algar, RealClassic.co.uk
Dennis W. Lid served in the U.S. Army Infantry, Airborne and Special Forces worldwide during peace and
war for over 20 years. Major Lid retired from the army in 1980. He then worked abroad for the U.S.
Department of Defense as a Department of the Army Civilian for 19 years. Freelance writing, reading
and motorcycling have been the favorite passions of his life. Now retired, his interest in motorcycles
continues unabated, although he no longer rides. Fond memories of past motorcycling days feed his trend
of thought and keep his life as a biker alive and well. He bids Godspeed to all his fellow soldiers and motorcyclists.
Click here to view the Table of Contents
Click here to view Dennis W. Lid's web site
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First to Last
The Tale of a Biker
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