Learning to Live, While You're Living


Harley-Davidson employee, Dat Nguyen’s life is divided into two distinct eras: there’s the time before he began riding motorcycles and there’s everything after.

Given what was happening in his life before he started riding, he found himself asking some big questions and the answer was clear - “It was time to learn to ride,” Nguyen told himself.

When Nguyen’s father-in-law was nearing the end of his life, Nguyen began contemplating his own existence and mortality. He was searching to add some excitement to his life and prepared himself for the journey.

“I’ve always wanted to ride a motorcycle, and I told myself I would ‘one day soon,’” said Nguyen, Senior Business Analyst. “Time goes by fast, and ‘one day soon’ turned into years. I realized I’m not going to be around forever and thought about what I didn’t want to regret. ‘One day soon’ had to be now.”


So, Nguyen got his license, bought a 2012 Iron 883™ motorcycle and left his old life in the dust. Now, he has passion for riding flowing from his boots to his fingertips. He’s addicted to the adventure, the smell, taste and rush of riding.

Before Nguyen started working for Harley-Davidson, he would ride to his old job and immediately feel the exhilaration of the ride slip away. “I wanted to work for a company where passion for riding continues to flow from my bike and into the building where I work alongside passionate people,” Nguyen said. “I wanted to live my passion and be immersed in a brand I truly believe in.”

Riding has given Nguyen even more than he expected. An introvert by nature, he was often shy when meeting people. But, he says being a Harley-Davidson® motorcycle rider helps create an instant, common thread that breaks down walls and allows him to connect with a whole new world of people.

Although he enjoys meeting other riders, he usually rides alone and makes his own agenda. “I stop sometimes if I see an old barn or anything I want to take a picture of,” he said. “Sometimes I just don’t want to lead anybody, and I don’t want to follow anybody.”

Nguyen cut his teeth as a rider during one of his first big solo rides through South Dakota. With little more than his bike, camera and saddlebags loaded with water and beef jerky, he set off to explore the back roads. “That ride gave me time to soul search,” he said. “I made it as far as the Badlands before the trip was cut short due to bad storms, including a tornado that touched down not too far from where I was headed.”


Nguyen may not have grown up around motorcycles, but when he discovered riding later in life, he couldn’t escape it – not that he wanted to. He regrets not starting sooner, but believes everything happens for a reason and is thankful for his new perspective on life. 

“You can‘t let the years go by, you have to live while you’re living.”