Fast forward to earlier this month, February 2019, when Ed and his nephew, Ryan, rode up and parked their Honda Winners in front of my house, both grinning from ear to ear.
After chatting for a bit, Ed rode off to find lodging for the next few days while I pulled out my tools so Ryan and could I start disassembling the Winner, looking for where they hid the battery. He had an electrical issue that he thought might be as simple as a loose wire. It took a while, but he found and fixed the loose negative battery wire.
Ed came back to report he had a room for the night, so he and Ryan headed off to clean up and rest a bit. Later that night, we had a beer together.
Over the next few days, in-between them seeing the sights of Da Lat, we met a couple times to share a meal. I even set them up with my local mechanic to fix a coolant leak on Ryan's bike.
Every time I saw Ryan, he was smiling; even when he had bike issues or a bit of a headache.
Last Tuesday, the three of us had breakfast, took a few photos at an Instagram hot spot just up the alley,
|Ryan's favorite of the photos I took that morning|
On Friday, in or near Hoi An, they were involved in an accident. Ryan did not survive his injuries.
Ed has spent the last couple days grieving and healing from his injuries. Ryan's father arrived in Hoi An yesterday and they are working with the government to arrange Ryan's final trip home.
You may know that I've railed against such fundraising efforts in the past when the beneficiary died doing something stupid. This time is different, and not just because I knew Ryan. Because I knew him and rode with him, I can tell you he was a responsible rider who wore a good helmet and proper clothing while riding. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and not the only rider injured in the accident.
Rest in Peace, Ryan Piper. You are now, and will always be, a bright spot in my memory.