Monday, February 2, 2009

Appreciating the Mechanics of a Motorcycle

Brian invited the whole club to his house for the Super Bowl, but said for folks to get there early so that we all could work on our bikes.

A while back, he had pointed out to me that it would be great for our riding club to not only practice our riding skills together, but to also help each other work on our bikes. He saw it as an extension of being in a riding club, that the club itself ought to be more than just riding together as a group, but also working on our bikes together as well.

And I've said all along that I want to learn more about that stuff so that I can save some money doing my own work. Of course, I was all for it.

But I find that I get a different feeling riding my bike having gained knowledge of the mechanics at work. Knowing how the brake pads fit into the calipers, how the calipers are secured into place, the proper level of brake fluid, and the theory of operation, it removes all the mystery of what I'm riding. I can feel the subtle feelings in the brake lever, and actually envision part-by-part what's taking place, and then diagnose it while I'm still moving down the highway. It adds another level of appreciation in riding a motorcycle.

There's also a sense of intelligence gained through it all. Us guys will sit around the table being able to carry on a more lively conversation having acquired the knowledge one can only gain from getting your hands dirty. There's a sort of "geekiness" about it that adds to the greater good of riding motorcycles.

And there's even a personal aspect to it, where two or three of us will examine one's motorcycle more closely, gain an intimate understanding of its mechanics, and then appreciate the challenges and advantages that person has when riding.

Then we'll work together as a team where three or more hands make things easier, helping someone get something done on their bike where it would have cost them hundreds of dollars elsewhere. And through it all the club comes out a little more closely knit than before.

As it turned out, we hardly watched the Super Bowl, spending most of our time in the garage with our bikes, or sitting in the patio eating burgers, drinking beer, and talking bikes.

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About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)