Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hey sup, my name is Dennis but everyone calls me D.Ho. Born and live in Sac and have family in the Bay, SoCal, Hawaii, and France. I work as a water resources engineer by day and also working on finishing up my Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering. Most of my free time during the week is spent at Pipeworks. It’s a badass rock climbing gym where I expend my energy, hang out with friends, and get a great workout at the same time. On the weekends I am either out in the mountains climbing boulders or carving up the windy roads.
I’ve been very fortunate in that I have been able to travel and experience other cities, states, and countries. Yet, I always found Sacramento to be the best fit for my life. Beautiful coastal scenery, vast landscapes, relaxed rural towns and bus-body cities are all within a few hours’ drive. If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I really like to stay active.
Describe your first experience on two wheels
My passion for two wheels began when I got my first BMX bike. I was all about riding street…thrashing rails and charging wall rides on the daily. I rode for 15 years before I felt like my body couldn’t take it anymore and picked up rock climbing to stay in shape.
I moved on from the BMX bike, but I needed something to fill the void that it left behind. Ever since I was young I was drawn to motorcycles. Nobody I knew actually rode at the time but I remember seeing people blasting around on the freeway and mountains and thinking “I could get into that”. One weekend, some plans to go kayaking fell through and I had some money burning a hole in my pocket. I said “fuck it” and brought my buddy to buy a bike with me. I needed him because I still had not learned how to ride and I wanted to be able to get it home lol. It was a complete impulse buy. My very first ride was that day. I was so happy to be able to ride a bike again and felt right at home on a motorcycle. I was hooked!
They say riding a motorcycle is dangerous, why do you ride? How did your family react?
I do very well in social settings and in the company of other people, but I am an introvert at the core and needed a way to be alone and be selfish with my time. I ride to be free from other people’s expectations of me and to experience life from a different perspective.
My mom works at the ER so naturally she highly disapproved of motorcycles. All my life I’ve been attracted to “high risk” sports/hobbies so I don’t think she was surprised at all when she saw my bike for the first time. What actually happened was that she saw I bought a cruiser and said “Oh, well that’s nice!”.
How many bikes have you gone through and what was your favorite?
I have only been riding for a little over two years and I’m still on my first bike. It has been changing so much over time and each mod makes me love it more. I feel like the best thing that I did for it was to keep the monoshock. This bike is built entirely around my style of riding and the variety of terrain I encounter.
Do you prefer to ride solo or in groups?
I used to prefer to ride solo since I get to be selfish with my time, pace, and destination. I have done some bigger group rides (Gentlemen’s Ride, local meet up rides) and have had a blast because during those moments when it feels like everyone around you is just feeling the same vibe. The sweet spot for weekend rides is a small group of 3.
Born Free 7 with the LNSPLT crew was my biggest and longest group ride. That feeling of instant comaraderie can’t be matched by any other culture and I feel so fortunate to have met such a great group of guys to travel with.
Out of all bikes, why Honda Shadow?
I was drawn to sport/standard bikes at first. I was SURE that I wanted an FZ09. I researched and stared at different bikes until I came across sites like Pipeburn, Bike Exif, and Chop Cult. I knew that I needed to have a bike that I could customize and stand apart from the crowd. Earlier I told you about my impulse buy. I have to admit that I had no idea what I was getting at the time and had no clue what people were doing with them. So really, I think I just got lucky lol.
Most Honda Shadow owners chop their bikes into bobbers, why did you build it the way it is?
I don’t know how to classify my bike and that’s kind of the fun of it. Seeing all the sick bobber builds gave me the itch to chop and I wanted to do it my way. I have pretty eclectic tastes so I was inspired by a lot of bobber, cafe, and tracker builds.
I wanted to blend the style of a cafe, rawness of the bobbers, and functionality of the trackers. Who knows if I’ve achieved any of that yet but as always, it’s a work in progress.
Have you gotten any close calls?
In regards to traffic, I can honestly say that I haven’t had any close calls. I developed some really good traffic reading skills from my many years of riding bmx with no brakes. I learned to see trouble coming a mile away and so far that has kept me out of trouble on the road.
I have made some rookie mistakes and almost ran off the road but NBD. The times that I have laid my bike down were on rough dirt and gravel roads. It was always because I was trying to do too much for my own good.
What’s next for your bike?
I’m waiting on some parts to get in so that I can clean up the wiring up in front. I’ve been playing around with different fork oil levels to dial in my damping with the stock springs. I feel like I’ll be swapping those out for Progressives relatively soon and throw on a fork brace. I don’t want to make any wild claims right now but I am really looking at my options for some more power. If I can get a hold of a Nt650 motor that would be a pretty straightforward swap! Huge IF.
Any tips for new riders?
Do a ton of research on the type of bike you want. Think about what you want to get out of riding or modding and be patient. Be honest with your abilities and ride with experienced friends to learn. Stay humble, address your bad habits, and strive for improvement.
Until next time LNSPLTRS!
1996 Honda Shadow VLX
First owner since ’96. Been kept in the garage since ’99.