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Unstoppable

Artist Quetzal Saunders spent months in search of the perfect motorbike. Then he found the BMW R 75/6.

Write-up
Eva Munz
Photo
Bill Gentle Jed Root

I live in Stone Ridge, about two hours away from wild, crazy New York City. I wanted my family to enjoy a quiet, simple existence, so I followed nature’s call – to a place where experiencing pure freedom is simply a matter of walking out the front door. When I first visited the area years ago, something immediately whispered “home” in my ear. And that’s just what it’s become. I’ve fashioned a cozy, inviting living space here. I make wooden furniture, sculptures and objets d’art in my studio. It’s an inspiring place.

“My BMW gets me as close as possible to the feeling of flying.”

Quetzal Saunders, artist

My BMW R75/6 has settled in here as well. The odometer stopped at 56,756 miles a while back. I’ve put a lot more miles on it since then. Before that I’d been searching for the perfect motorbike for months. When the BMW was finally sitting in front of me, I immediately gave it a nickname: Bing. Occasionally I also call it my “German sex machine.” It’s the color of lightly burned toast and was born in 1976 – just like me. Sometimes I find myself wondering – which one of us is in better condition? In any case, it never leaves me in the lurch. Even on icy winter days, it always starts purring away the second I turn on the ignition. It covers long treks on winding mountain roads with the same ease as short hops to the river.

Quetzal Saunders was born in Montreal. He lived in New York City until moving to a house at the foot of West Kill Mountain with his family and his 1976 BMW R75/6.

Quetzal Saunders was born in Montreal. He lived in New York City until moving to a house at the foot of West Kill Mountain with his family and his 1976 BMW R75/6.

This photo was taken in my garden. My daughter Luna is sitting up front, my son Marley is in back of me, and behind him is my wife Amanda. I’m wearing a plaster cast on my foot because I recently tore my Achilles tendon. I wish the story were more exciting: on my son’s fifth birthday, I put on a superhero costume and starting horsing around. One misstep is all it took and – pop! – it was all over. I still managed to get the BMW out for a road trip right after it happened, though. By the way, my name comes from Quetzalcoatl, the Latin American bird and Mayan god. But it’s my BMW that gets me as close as humanly possible to the feeling of flying like a bird. It’s pure freedom!

06/19/15