I’ve used this line before, but it’s a good one so I’ll use it again.
People ask me, “Are you a good mechanic, do you work on your own vehicles?”
The answers are, “No,” and “Yes.” I’m not such a good mechanic, but I do work on my on vehicles. Years ago it was pure financial necessity. Now, while the finances part helps, a lot of my motivation is pride and the confidence I gain from understanding my bike mechanically. In June of 2008 I was riding the Talimena scenic drive with a group when my regulator/rectifier blew the top off my battery. I’d been smelling rotten eggs for the last hour, but didn’t understand the warning sign. I coasted to the side of the road with the group and took stock.
I wound up getting a ride back to camp as a passenger on another bike, then went back with a trailer to get my motorcycle. Back home I faced a decision. Parts and labor were going to cost about $500 at a dealership. A riding friend assured me that this was an easy repair and he had a good lead on used parts.
With his encouragement and assurance that he’d bail me out if I couldn’t handle it myself, I grabbed some wrenches and started to work. $25 and a few skint knuckles later, I was back on the road enjoying the wind in my face, a feeling of accomplishment, and the knowledge that if something similar happened again I could handle it.
Now I don’t worry as much about breakdowns when I ride long distances. I carry enough tools, parts, and knowledge to get the bike going again under most circumstances. If the bike feels funny or makes a strange noise, I can usually identify it and make an informed decision about whether to stop immediately or keep rolling and fix it later.
— Guy Wheatley