When Peter Alberts acquired a BMW motorcycle, he was following in the footsteps of his big brother. Today, Peter runs his own workshop in Los Angeles and has an entire collection of classic BMWs, his passion turning into his profession. It’s hard to imagine a love for a brand more beautiful and intense than this.
Following his big brother’s lead.
Peter Alberts grew up in Wisconsin, a state with many lakes and forests located in the very north of the USA. During the 1960s, practically the only motorcycles to be seen there were Harley-Davidsons. Something like a BMW R 75/5 was a complete curiosity – and one Peter’s older brother acquired when the younger of the two was fourteen years old. There and then the foundations were laid for a lifelong fascination.
Getting started is the hardest part.
Peter was just 17 years old when he purchased his first ever motorcycle, an R 60/2. His brother was there to advise him every step of the way, which provided an early opportunity to learn much about the bike’s engineering and maintenance – basic knowledge that would prove most useful later on in life. Having finally got the BMW running sweetly, however, he had a serious accident. A drunk driver hit him and his first BMW was a write-off. Fortunately, Peter survived with only minor injuries.
It wasn’t long before he spotted a newspaper ad for a BMW R 69. Because it was over in Ohio, quite a way further east, he telephoned to find out more about the machine and the seller sent him some photographs, which ticked the right boxes. In the end, he got on a bus to go and buy what would be his second BMW. The year was 1986 and this time everything went well. He still owns that BMW today and it has accompanied him along innumerable journeys and through countless experiences.
A genuine classic.
For many people, the R 69 is the ultimate BMW motorcycle. Its air-cooled, 594cc boxer engine produces 35 hp. High-quality components and the unrivalled ride comfort of the full swing-arm suspension make it truly special. Although it wasn’t necessarily the fastest bike of its time, its handling, quality and reliability spoke for themselves and earned the R 69 an excellent reputation. Between 1955 and 1960, a total of 2,956 were built.
Peter was proud of his newly acquired BMW. Even Harley-Davidson riders would compliment him on it when he pulled up alongside them at traffic lights. German motorcycles were still considered fairly exotic, but Peter enjoyed being “different”. He crossed the entire country on it, on one occasion covering 5,000 miles from Wisconsin, high over the Rocky Mountains, down across the Continental Divide, and then back again. He was able to resolve any minor issues en route himself, but mostly the machine proved to be highly reliable.
California, here we come.
As a member of a theatre company, Peter loved the spotlight and travelled extensively across the country. Being on stage was his second great passion. With a couple of friends he also founded a publishing house specialising in cartoon books. One of these books became a bestseller and they even received an offer from Hollywood. Peter and his partners earned a lot of money by selling the film rights. After that, he and his team decided to move to Los Angeles – not the worst place to be if you like riding motorbikes!
He kept on buying BMW motorcycles on the side and soon owned a small collection. Over the years, his skills as a mechanic evolved to the extent that he became a real specialist. Soon others were approaching him in search of a BMW and/or a proficient BMW workshop. Peter felt that he could now turn his passion into his profession and opened his own workshop.
Follow your passion.
Peter now owns twelve classic BMW motorcycles. He keeps them all in his workshop – a perfect advertisement for the brand. Together with two mechanics, he provides the full gamut of services, ranging from general maintenance to complete restoration – even down to the paintwork. He has long enjoyed an excellent reputation in the L.A. scene. With a steady flow of work and a well-organised stock of parts, his aim for the future is unchanged: to ensure a BMW motorcycle is no longer viewed as a rarity stateside.