Jan & Dean’s Dean Torrence to ‘Surf’ Taiwan … by Motorcycle

Guest blog: Now 72, he'll be accompanied by 19 other foreign motorcyclists over the age of 62, and the group will be joined by local Taiwanese senior citizens


In an earlier Hollyblog post, I reported that motorcycle film maven Peter Starr, now in his early 70s, has been busy promoting motor-scooter and motorcycle road trips for healthy seniors in Taiwan, and now his first foray into all this last year will be leading to more trips being planned, both in Taiwan and in California next fall.

And one his friends who has signed up is Dean Torrence of the old 1950s/1960s rock duo ''Jan and Dean.''' Jan Berry, as readers might recall, passed away in 2004.

Dean will come to Taiwan in September to join Starr's motorcycle brigade on a round trip across the highways and byways of colorful and scenic Taiwan. Now 72, he'll be accompanied by 19 other foreign motorcyclists over the age of 62, and the group will be joined by local Taiwanese senior citizens, as well.

Along the way during the week-long trip, there will be concerts in several towns — all featuring the surf music that Jan and Dean made famous.

The trip will be paying tribute to Taiwan's "Grandriders," a group of elderly  motorbike enthusiasts who inspired international motorcyclists to ride in pursuit of their dreams. In fact, that's how Starr — an editor at Motorcyclist Magazine in California — got involved.

He told me he saw a video of on YouTube about the Taiwanese riders, and he was inspired to become a part of the concept. To that end, he has flown over to Taiwan six times in the past two years and will he coming over again in September to lead the new tour.

It all began like this: In 2007, a group of 17 Taiwanese seniors, average age 81, went on a journey around Taiwan by motorcycle to fulfill their dreams of seeing every part of the nation. Two of them were cancer survivors, eight had heart  disease, and four wore hearing aids.

Starr, a 70-year-old cancer survivor who led a similar group around Taiwan in 2012, said that the 2013 road trip year will feature more riders from the U.S., Australia and Britain. The international aspect of the Grandriders idea is growing, he said. The message he hopes to send to the world is that it's important to remain healthy and active in one's sunset years.

Jan and Dean, of course, were famous for such hit songs as "Dead Man's Curve" — which was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008, having charted at No. 8 on the Billboard list in 1964 — and "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena," among other hits.

The Red Hot Chili Peppers "referenced" the duo in their song titled "Did I Let You Know" ("I want to lean on you/Get all Jan and Dean on you").

BIO Dan Bloom

Dan Bloom is a freelance writer based in Asia since 1991. During a five-year stint in Tokyo, he covered the triumphs (and occasional failures) of Hollywood movies in Japan and interviewed American actors passing through Tokyo on film promotion tours, including Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and Kevin Costner.