Steve Jobs… A visionary on a Motorcycle
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
—Steve Jobs, 1955-2011
Very few people have left their mark on the 21st century, as Steve Jobs has. So much so, that even today, four years after his demise, he continues to be a source of inspiration for countless around the globe. People have continued to recount his name with great respect and the legacy that he left behind in the form of Apple Inc. would make sure his name will never be buried under the annals of history.
Yet, there are a few aspects of his life which remain less publicized in the popular media and therefore less known to the masses.
One of those aspects was his love for motorcycles. He was a proud owner of the 1966 R60/2 BMW Motorcycle. As seen in the photograph.
If the National Geographic magazine had not decided to chronicle the burgeoning tech hub under their cover titled, “High Tech, High Risk, and High Life in Silicon Valley,” back in 1982, most of us would probably never even find out about jobs’ passion for bikes.
His predilection for Mercedes Benz was well known, as was the case with most of the silicon Valley High-lifers at the time. What’s not so well known is that Jobs was an avid rider as well, and could often be found zipping about the streets of Silicon Valley on his mean machine, dressed in a plaid shirt and jeans and leather boots.
In the words of his friend, “He still prefers to ride his motorcycle upto my place, sit around and drink wine and talk about what we’re gonna do when we grow up.”
As enigmatic as Jobs was, his bike was no different. One of the largest selling motorcycles to come out of the Bayerische Motoren Werke AG factory, the 1966 R60/2 Beemer was a fine machine by any standards and lived upto its coveted brand name. BMW manufactured some 20,133 of these machines between the year 1956 to 1969, primarily in 3 models named R60(1956-60) 28hp, R60/2(1960-69) 30hp and R60US(1968-69) 30hp.
These models, except for those with the “US” designation, were designed primarily as rugged motorcycles to pull sidecars (mounting points were built in) and had a duplex tubular steel frames. The models sold in America had high handlebars with a cross brace, whereas those sold elsewhere came with low, Euro handlebars.
Its 594cc, Four stroke, air cooled, twin cylinder engine provided the rider with a low centre of gravity which was great for both ride stability and manoeuvrability.
One of the most striking features of this motorcycle at the time were the Hella turn signals(As seen in the picture) which were mounted at the ends of the handlebars, showing light both forward and back.
Perhaps one of the most famous riders of this motorcycle during the 60s was Danny Liska. Who took the bike from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina and then from Europe’s North Cape to South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, over two solo rides, and was the only man to do so at the time. He wrote about his first journey in his book ‘Two Wheels to Adventure (Alaska to Argentina by Motorcycle)’ published in 1989. Danny famously said that he often had to rely on BMW’s reputation for not giving mechanical problems on the road and he wasn’t let down.
This Motorcycle is a true classic in every sense and still continues to be a dream machine for many across the world. A 30 horse power exquisite machine that allows time travel. The only way to experience that feeling is by riding it. And the more we look at Jobs’ life the more it makes sense as Jobs’ choice of a machine. Because when you’re a visionary, you gotta ride ahead of your own times.
As we remember Jobs on his 4th death anniversary, it is important to mention that a man’s choices say as much about him as his words, if not more, and in that sense he was a true maverick. A genius who could anticipate utility and beauty and imbibed simplicity as a way of life.