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Can you swing a spanner ?

We all have to start somewhere at the beginning so this post is not about “picking” on anyone. Far from it, I hope this will inspire you a wee bit.

What am I rambling on about you ask. Bike maintenance/mechanical knowledge is the answer.

I am quite shocked from viewing incidents that happen to readers (admittedly only from FB groups am I referring to) where they are stuck/broken down somewhere and need to call in the cavalry in the sense they make a FB post first then try to figure something out therefater. So the one I’ve seen recently was a guy on the side of the road with a broken throttle cable. Now I have been caught myself like this but had a  spare at home and was able to ask my wife to come and rescue me. I got fixed in half an hour and we as a group of 3 carried on with our 5 day ride. This chap had no idea how to fix it, how to try to fix it and his only option was to call a break down service and have the bike shipped to a garage. He had to wait for the bank holiday to finish before the garage opened and then he had to wait 3 days for a spare to come. All in all he lost 5 days and paid a fortune as he had no recovery policy. He was not out for a wee jolly but on a month long ride. Now OK…You cannot be prepared for everything very true, I get that but he did say he had no idea how to fit a cable even if he could buy one locally. This is my point. I have known people who cannot adjust a chain on their bike, or change an oil filter (granted on a SWM it is tricky) but that’s the point for me. Learn to do it yourself and trust in yourself. I am absolutely shocked the amount of people who buy an enduro/dirtbike and ride it offroad in hard terrain and never do the simplest thing like change an air filter. You should be able to the basics, oil,filter,air filter,chain and water level. As a minimum if you’re off for a jolly offroad dirtbiking or adventure holidaying these simple and admittedly repetitive tasks will keep your bike running and allow you to know if anything is amiss with your bike. I have always been very happy to share any mechanical tips/advise with anyone, client or not. I am not a mechanic and certain jobs I choose not to do because of a lack of skill but basic maintenance has to be in the realm of the owner. Don’t be shy or embarrassed. Ask anyone for help and I’m sure 95% of riders will gladly offer help. If anyone takes the piss (as opposed to pulling your leg humour), well that tells you a lot about that person and you may choose not to ride with them again anyway.

Some of the biggest benefits from doing your own maintenance; saves money, you know if the job has been done properly (not always so with a garage), once you have bought a few basic tools the routine becomes very quick and so it doesn’t need a lot of your time. The biggest advantage, you get to give your bike a once over at the same time, therefore troubleshooting any future possible issues (dodgy cable, brake pads wearing) etc, etc. Nowadays with Youtube you are very likely to find someone who has already done that job has posted a vid and told you some tips as well.

So for those of you that have never done your own maintenance, grab the bull by the horns, go learn a new skill. You will benefit from it a hundred times over. Safe riding my hearties. Anton

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