Bill Zandbelt’s motorcycle story racking up millions of views from Winchester

Bill and Wilhelmina Zandbelt pose with Bill's DKW motorcycle on May 8, 1960.

Son turned over restored bike to shocked 90-year-old father six decades after leaving it behind in Holland

WINCHESTER — That Zandbelt family motorcycle story has wheels — and plenty of pleasant spin-offs.

Six weeks after Vince Zandbelt shocked his 90-year-old father, Bill, by presenting him with a restored vintage motorcycle from his youth in Holland — all captured by the lens of Bill’s videographer grandson Reid Zandbelt — the touching footage has gone full-throttle viral.

Shortened chapters of the video on TikTok alone have zoomed past a combined 16.1 million views — including a repost by Jack Ryan and The Office star John Krasinski’s ‘Some Good News’ channel on the social-media platform.

“That’s kind of where it really took off … This is my popular video for sure, by a long shot,” says Reid, a nephew to Vince. “It’s kind of blown all expectations out of the water. It’s been crazy how well it’s been received.”

Upon hitting the one-million view mark, the Embrun resident posted his delivery of a special cake to his grandfather commemorating the online milestone, creating more happy vibes for online viewers.

Below, one of the TicTok videos — this one on celebrity Krasinski’s ‘Some Good News’ channel that has amassed 3.4-million views alone.
@somegoodnewsofficialwas not expecting to cry today @reidzandbelt 🥺 ##SomeGoodNews ##SGN ##fathersday♬ original sound – somegoodnewsofficial

Nation Valley News was one of the first to chronicle the surprise handover of the 1950s DKW motorcycle to the elder Zandbelt at his son and daughter-in-law’s Winchester home. The occasion was all the more poignant by the recent loss of Bill’s wife, Wilhelmina, three weeks earlier at age 86, just shy of the couple’s 60th wedding anniversary. What was meant as a combined celebratory gift became a birthday present for Bill alone, reuniting him with the 175-cc road bike he had given up after marrying and moving to Canada with his bride in 1960.

The newlywed Zandbelts had posed for a photo with the trusty machine on May 8th of that year, shortly before leaving it behind in The Netherlands. Their black-and-white image loomed large as Vince wheeled out the same bike to his tearful and awestruck father, exactly 60 years and one day later in North Dundas.

Vince says the story’s uptake on social media has fostered all sorts of connections on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as interest from mainstream media outlets. “We’ve gotten coverage in Holland and into England. We’ve got about as much mileage as that motorcycle does,” he exclaims.

“It’s so nice for Dad…. Every week now we’re pretty much reconnecting with someone or another he hasn’t talked to for over 60 years. It’s been great.”

He’s made new friends as well: The viral video inspired the Old Bastards Vintage Motorcycle Club to present Bill with an honorary membership, with that footage also captured and posted by Reid.

A local newspaper in Holland carried the story as did one of the UK’s largest commuter papers, Metro, which published this article after interviewing the Zandbelts via Facetime.

CTV News’s Regional Contact with Joel Haslam picked up the story early, and more recently, a similar show broadcast by Holland’s RTV Oost network similarly retraced the tale of the German-made bike that Bill originally bought in 1956. “They talked to my uncle Vincent in The Netherlands; he’s our family historian,” says Vince of the 19-minute Dutch piece. “He went through memories he had of the bike growing up, and they visited the bike-restorer’s house.” They also discovered the interviewing journalist was a relative, he says, which loosened up his uncle to appear on camera.

Screening the Dutch show in Winchester became yet another reason for the Zandbelts to sit down with their family patriarch — to again reminiscence and marvel at the impact of a story about a motorcycle reunited with its original owner.

Below, RTV Oost’s mini-doc — “An emotional birthday gift in Canada”; CTV’s Regional Contact covers the story in the second video below.
Below, the presentation to Bill Zandbelt by the Old Bastards Vintage Motorcycle Club.

 

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