Fired by dreams

Since I posted a link to it in January 2010, Story of a Sign has been my favorite video ad on YouTube. Now Dream Rangers, which is based on a true story, is competing for that spot.

As the short film begins, we see a group of old Taiwanese men gathered around a table. Clearly they are long-time friends, saddened by years of living, loving, and losing. Then one slaps down a photograph of the group as young, vibrant men and challenges, “Let’s ride motorcycles!”

The average age of the men is 81. They all have degenerative arthritis. One has heart disease. One has just been diagnosed with cancer.

The challenge lights the fire of never-forgotten dreams. For the next six months, they prepare. They dust off bikes and hit the gym. Then, with a large photograph of a friend they recently lost strapped to the back of a bike and the photograph of a beloved, but now gone, wife tucked into another pack, they take to the road for a 13-day ride around Taiwan.

The story behind the video happened in 2005. On November 13, seventeen men and women in, all in their eighties, set out from Taichung City Hall. After 13 days and more than a thousand kilometers, they returned triumphantly to Taichung, where a crowd of cheering supporters toasted their ride. The day after their return, the oldest in the group celebrated his ninetieth birthday.

That’s the secret of a good life. Being fired by dreams. They don’t keep the body young, and that’s normal. We age. We die. But they keep our spirits burning brightly.

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die 
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow

~Langston Hughes

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20 comments for “Fired by dreams

  1. Virginia Sauve
    February 23, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Catherine, wow!!! I am moved to tears by that video. I work with a group right now that are mostly over 80 and suffering various ailments. I see their determination to do what they can do one day at a time but this is truly inspiring. I’ll be sharing it with many. THANK YOU!


  2. Casey Hamilton
    February 23, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I am sitting at my desk at work and just watched this. I am now bawling my eyes out! What an inspiring story. It really made my day 🙂

  3. February 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    How lucky I feel that our easy access to Internet lets us know about people like these Taiwanese motorcyclists. Hooray for dreams!

  4. February 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    And you’ve just made my day, Casey!

  5. Anne Burrill
    February 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Incredibly moving… tears here too… thanks Cathryn.

  6. February 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I have a hunch the four of you will be leading lives this active when you’re in your 80s!

  7. February 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    This video inspires to never give up your dreams, no matter how old you are.

    I hope I can still remember this message when I’ve reached that age.

  8. February 23, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I have a hunch you will, Michel, judging from your Web site – and a lot of other people will because of your work.

  9. Michelle
    February 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm

    Tonight when I go to bed, I will give my partner an extra squeeze and be extra thankful for my health today. Thanks Cathryn, for the reminder to notice the good days 🙂

  10. February 23, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Ah…I sense you’re one of those special people who do notice, on a regular basis.

  11. February 25, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful and moving story with us and for adding your own insightful comments.

    I’m reaching for the tissues – for dreams achieved, believed, altered and simply imagined!

  12. February 25, 2011 at 10:34 am

    That means a lot to me, Marianna. Thank you!

  13. March 1, 2011 at 11:29 am

    A deeply moving story, Cathryn, and a marvelous video. It’s always special waching people come alive after going through difficult times. And it’s nice to be reminded how resilient the human spirit is.

  14. March 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I’m inspired by your Web site so doubly appreciate your stopping by here.

  15. March 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Very inspirational. Thank you, Cathryn.

    “Spirits burning brightly,” Perfect.

    Wonderful Langston Hughes poem.

    Favorite lines of Hughes:
    I’ve known rivers:
    I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow
    of human blood in human veins.

    You’ve lifted me up.
    Charles Hale

    Charles Hale

  16. March 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    As one of your new fans (encouraging everyone to surf on over to the delicious stories at, I’m doubly grateful you’ve stopped by my blog and left lines from Langston Hughes that stir my blood.

  17. March 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    That’s kind of you, Cathryn. Thank you.

  18. Fred W Dus
    March 14, 2011 at 11:39 am

    It’s nice to know that I’m not the only crazy old bastard. There are many of us and we will not stop.

  19. March 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    When I was younger, I figured the best goal for aging was to become increasing outrageous. That’s why I’m drawn to stories of people like Tressa Prisbey, Dee Dee Rainbow, and these motorcyclists.

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