Going Out

SUMMER PURSUITS: Zen and the art of motorcycle rebuilding

Zen and the art of motorcycle rebuilding. Talking shop — and philosophy — with Harley-Davidson devotee Rob Watt  By Ron Corbett; Photography by Rémi Thériault

This story appears in the Summer edition of Ottawa Magazine. To see all of the images, buy the magazine on newsstands or order your online edition.

At the beginning: Watt poses with his 1953 Harley-Davidson near the start of the rebuild process. Photograph by Rémi Thériault.

Rob Watt is on the phone, suggesting reading material for my story.

He starts with the websites. Vintage motorcycle repairer (and philosopher) Adam Cramer. Japanese custom motorcycle builder (and  artist) Shinya Kimura. Photographer (and bike enthusiast) Josh Kurpius. Don’t forget ChopCult. Or Church of Choppers.

Next come the blogs. The Haints Co-op, Zen of Neato, 50’s Haze, and 4Q Conditioning by Oakland artist and former pro skateboarder Max Schaaf.

Then the books. Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History and the Last Man. Anything by Hunter S. Thompson. “Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Craw-ford is almost a bible,” he says, and I add that book to the list.

“Have a look at those if you can,” says Watt before ringing off. “You’ll see what I’m talking about. We can talk afterwards.”