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On Monday, July 8, 1968 author Robert Pirsig began a motorcycle trip with his 11-year-old son, Chris. Leaving from Minneapolis, MN on a Honda and arriving 17 days later in San Francisco, CA, this trip became the setting for his best-selling book "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance". Pirsig was 39 years old at the time.

On Monday, July 6, 2020, I recreated the same motorcycle trip with my daughter. We followed Pirsig's path as closely as possible based on information within the book. My trip occured 52 years after Pirsig's trip, and I had just turned 43 years old. The reason for my choosing this date, most importantly, is that my daughter was about the same age as Chris was on the original trip.

In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Pirsig uses the concepts of motorcycle maintenance to explain his philosophical theories on Quality. Details of the inner workings of motorcycle engines and the associated maintenance are discussed, often while the author himself performs the maintenance on his own motorcycle during the trip. Another running theme is how different people react to, and are affected by the technology surrounding them - specifically his friends John and Sylvia, who accompany the author and his son for the first half of the trip.

Now over 5 decades later, my trip was done on a Zero Motorcycles electric motorcycle. This represents some of the most advanced motorcycle technology currently available in the consumer market. The electric drivetrain on the Zero is much simpler than conventional combustion-engine motorcycles, and requires almost no maintenance at all. However there were other challenges with the Zero, namely the ability to charge in remote rural areas (where most of the trip takes place). This is my modern spin on Pirsig's trip.

Please explore this site to find out more about my detailed research into the original trip, and about planning a modern equivalent. If you have any questions or thoughts you'd like to share, contact me at

Book covers