ZEN and the Art of motorcycle maintenance - GL1800Riders
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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ZEN and the Art of motorcycle maintenance

Somebody recommended this book. A fellow rider, friend of mine.

I am going to admit frankly, I was never that type of a person who has the ability to think about very-very-really deep meanings of life, or things around us; I mean - not to the extent of fully understand every metaphors, or poems, or abstract art and such.
Can't say I'm shallow as well; I'm equally interested in cooking or in quantum physics, or RedBull Air races and the butterfly effect, as I am in understanding how parts of my motorcycle function.
I could easily say that I am a kind of pragmatic person.

However - after reading this book, .....I had some interesting flash-back memories of those times when I was riding my bike....and besides admiring the scenic route, and keeping an eye on riding safe, ....I remember (NOW) that my mind was somehow - without me controlling it - working somehow like the narration in the book..... organizing and sorting and creating connections in my mind about things that are part of everyday life.
And all these - while feeling that I am part of the scenery....no boundaries between me, my thoughts and the running yellow line under my left boot.

Not trying to be very philosophic here, just wanted to know if any of you had the chance to read this book, and if you recall chewing the side of your lip involuntarily and thinking about stuff like it is described in the book?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 10:38 PM
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Read the book recently... lost interest quickly... never finished... haven't gone back to it.
For what it's worth.

Jim
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-20-2017, 11:09 PM
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A fan of the book as Mr. Pirsig's ( about page 2) of what it is like to ride a motorcycle ( ...riding in a car is like watching TV, you watch a frame as the scenery goes by, but on a motorcycle you are in the frame with the pavement whizzing by you only inches below your feet) ...back in the 80's I understand many college English professors used the book to create a way to have students write papers about their own definition of "Quality". The book has been described to me (by one professor and the author ) as a "Chautauqua" on the subject of defining quality. The Chautauqua movement was popular in the late 19th and early 20th century as an adult education assembly/ culture movement.
I like to go back to when Kenny Roberts and other American racers were dominating in Europe...when asked how did they ride so fast, they sometimes spoke of being in the "zone"...they could trust their bodies on auto pilot and go faster by using their mind to visualize the next corner.
The book has a sad ending, I do not recommend the book to new riders, only those that have had an euphoric moment while on the road or at the track and can understand the risks we take by riding.
Quality is not an easy "thing" to define for some people. This book can make it even harder for some.
Enjoying a pastime like motorcycling requires work, once you get past the labor of it, riding opens your mind and senses to an unique experience known only to few, the quality of that experience is up to you.

"Experience" is a tough teacher, as you get the test first and the lesson later...
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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..... riding opens your mind and senses to an unique experience known only to few, the quality of that experience is up to you.
This statement of yours, sums it up very well.
Thanks Hondaron

Cheers
Rudy
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 10:04 AM
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SO GLAD YOU PUBLISHED THIS NOW !!! I am just finishing the book ... loved it. I have to admit I did get a little bored when the author was talking about QUALITY for many many pages but all in all it's a great book. There is a lot of philosophy in motorcycle maintenance ... and in motorcycle riding.

I often find myself daydreaming when riding along a gentle road (with little or no traffic) ... like the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Too bad all of us interested in the book could not get together for a drink and discussion.

... on the other hand a good friend of mine is from Canada and has been down here to visit ... COME ON DOWN !!!

( I don't have a passport ... )

Tom Batt ... the "FROGG TOGGS GUY"
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 10:42 AM
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Your welcome Rudy, if you make it out west, please consider joining the SCMA's 3 Flags tour over Labor Day weekend ( it's not cheap and it's a lot of work, but it's a quality ride and if you love riding as much as I do...the roads (and benefits) are worth it)...I have a cousin who spent her career in teaching, she says I am a "Renaissance Man"...since early in my youth about the same time I got my M/C license, I have lived by the teachings found in the poem "If" by Kipling...it has served me well. Again, thank you for the kind words...Ron

"Experience" is a tough teacher, as you get the test first and the lesson later...

Last edited by Hondaron; 04-21-2017 at 10:46 AM. Reason: correcting spell chk
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 11:48 AM
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I read a lot of books of all types and will be honest of the hundreds I have read this is probably the worst. I struggled through it once then tried again and ended up tossing it in the fire pit. I enjoyed the greenish blue flames a lot more than the book. Perhaps the issue was I expected something enlightening regarding motorcycles but instead felt the book drifted off into all sorts of weirdness. It had nothing to do with maintenance more the lack of.

Just my opinion so I am not denying anyone else's view.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 12:18 PM
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Zen, the Satanic Verses, and Moby Dick were all books that seemed to me like a lot of hard work to nug through, for slightly different reasons but in the same vein. I did not feel they lived up to their critical acclaim, at least without some serious caveats that were rarely caveated when the believers spoke about them.

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 12:39 PM
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If like me you grew up in the 60s and maybe raced slot cars..."Go Like H3ll" by A.J Baime is a great read concerning the battle between Ford and Ferrari; both corporate wise and at the race track , with John Surtees ( who recently passed) caught in the middle. The book is well written ( Baime is a exec. editor at Playboy ) ....rumor has it Tom Cruise/Brad Pitt want to make it into a movie...good stuff
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"Experience" is a tough teacher, as you get the test first and the lesson later...

Last edited by Hondaron; 04-21-2017 at 12:40 PM. Reason: swear word correction
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-21-2017, 01:21 PM
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Loved the book, have read it 3 or 4 times during my riding life. Always see something new about it or maybe its because I am at a different place in my life each time I read it.

Just finished reading Jack Kerouac's DHARMA BUMS too. I like lots of books that might veer off to the unusual side. PILLARS OF THE EARTH, now that is an interesting book.

It's cold and windy here in Loveland, Colorado today, temperature in the mid 40's....think I'll read a little Shakespeare from my library today!
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Last edited by Canyon Dancer in Colorado; 04-21-2017 at 01:24 PM.
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