The author of the acclaimed Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance died at age 88 in 2017, and now the Honda CB77 Super Hawk that served as the catalyst for the book is headed to the Smithsonian. After being stored for decades in the family’s New England garage, the bike’s been recently restored and is a gift from Pirsig’s widow, along with his leather jacket, maps, shop manual, toolboxes, and other gear from the 1968 ride.
Author Robert M. Pirsig died at his home today in South Berwick, Maine, he was 88 years old. Pirsig, best known for his philosophical work of non-fiction, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, An Inquiry Into Values, first published in 1974, spoke to a post-Vietnam/Watergate generation searching for truth and meaning during a tumultuous decade.
In the ’70s, while I was still bumbling my way through high school and establishing a glide path to academic doom, I had a teacher stop me on the way out the door, she wanted to talk to me. This was not unusual. What was unusual was that I was actually doing fairly well in her class, and I couldn’t imagine what she wanted to talk to me about. So, I stayed, she asked me the normal teacher questions, how are things going (Fine), how are the other classes going (Wretchedly), that sort of thing. Then she turned in her chair and grabbed a book off her personal bookshelf, she held it out to me saying she couldn’t wade through it but that I might get something out of it.