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Photo by Josephine Flohr, Elephant at Camp, Namibia

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Josephine Flohr,
Elephant at Camp, Namibia



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  • 2 Post By Ian T-J

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  #1  
Old 24 Jan 2014
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Homage to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was first published in 1974, exactly 40 years ago and subsequently sold in excess of 5 million copies worldwide.

The book recalls the story of Robert M. Pirsig and his 12 year old son Chris who rode a 1964 Honda SuperHawk (CB77) on a 17-day journey from Minnesota to Northern California during the summer of 1968.

During the summer of 2012 I rode my 1977 Kawasaki Z650 from England to Northern Spain with my 13 year old son accompanying me.

We shot a video of our adventure, which is presented by my son.

To celebrate the Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance publication anniversary I’ve re-edited the footage down to 8 minutes.



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Old 24 Jan 2014
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Great video - very amusing, and a worthy homage to ZAMM. I read the book back in the 70's and again a year or so ago wondering if I'd see different things in it with the passage of time. It is a difficult book though and, if anyone hasn't read it, it's much more a philosophical treatise than a travel narrative.

There are various photographs from the trip Robert Pirsig did with his son (and friends) back in '68 scattered around the web and looking at them I can only think it's a mastery of Zen that kept all that luggage intact on his CB77. About three years after their trip, in 1971, I did a month long trip two up from the UK to Greece on the same bike with much less luggage and it really was only the power of prayer that kept the rear end of the bike intact. About a week after I returned the whole of the rear end fell off in the middle of London when vibration finally snapped the last overstressed spot weld. Good as the Honda was luggage carrying was not its strong point. Mind you, Jacqui, my pillion, probably weighed a bit more than Chris

I'm sure you know what happened to Pirsig's son ten years later so I hope the parallels with your trip are not too close.
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Old 24 Jan 2014
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Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
Great video - very amusing, and a worthy homage to ZAMM.

I'm sure you know what happened to Pirsig's son ten years later so I hope the parallels with your trip are not too close.
Yes I read about what happened to Pirsig's son on Wikipedia, I've not shared this side of the story with my son however.

Thanks for watching the video
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Old 25 Jan 2014
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I love your kid - can I adopt him?
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Old 25 Jan 2014
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I love your kid - can I adopt him?
Two and a half years later and he's now 6 foot tall and too big to do bike trips on the back of the old Zed.

Still in 2 years time he can get his own 125cc and ride it on the road, I can see some more father son adventures to follow.
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Old 3 Feb 2014
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great book!

I just finished re-reading it. A great book! Even better that it inspired you to go on a ride with your son!
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Old 3 Feb 2014
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Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
There are various photographs from the trip Robert Pirsig did with his son (and friends) back in '68 scattered around the web and looking at them I can only think it's a mastery of Zen that kept all that luggage intact on his CB77. About three years after their trip, in 1971, I did a month long trip two up from the UK to Greece on the same bike with much less luggage and it really was only the power of prayer that kept the rear end of the bike intact. About a week after I returned the whole of the rear end fell off in the middle of London when vibration finally snapped the last overstressed spot weld. Good as the Honda was luggage carrying was not its strong point. Mind you, Jacqui, my pillion, probably weighed a bit more than Chris

I'm sure you know what happened to Pirsig's son ten years later so I hope the parallels with your trip are not too close.
Great comments!


Pirsig and son on tour.

Tragedy about his son. I lived about 4 blocks from the Zen center in San Francisco in '79.
Pirsig was always pretty "dark". A look into his troubled life can give some insight. Here is a quote from the Wiki info:

"Pirsig suffered a nervous breakdown and spent time in and out of psychiatric hospitals between 1961 and 1963. He was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and clinical depression as a result of an evaluation conducted by psychoanalysts, and was treated with electroconvulsive therapy on numerous occasions, which he discusses in his autobiographical book, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."

For a closer look into the man and the story check out Zen and Now. A friend reviewed this book for City Bike (San Francisco) about 3 years back.

Like many others, I had a hard time plowing through Zen and mostly skipped the Phaedrus parts and dogma and got back to the MC maintenance part!

Here is a link to the book on Pirsig:

Mark Richardson | Zen & Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
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Old 3 Feb 2014
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Nice vid.. Great trip
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Old 3 Feb 2014
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Dad and Son

You have a great kid there ,,
Congrats !
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