Ever since the first steam-engine motorcycle appeared in 1867, motorcycles have held a certain mystique. Basically, a bike is a piece of metal and a few other materials on two wheels. Yet many people shrink away from even the simplest maintenance, thinking it’s beyond them.
Who knew that the basics in an owner’s manual could teach us as much about ourselves as they teach about the bike? I don’t understand all the mechanical, technical and electrical complexities of my bike. I do know, however, that even a little bit of knowledge demystifies it.
Getting started is simple. Over and above your increased safety and reduced costs, here’s what you’ll find:
- You’ve got the tools. Other than a tire pressure gauge, the tools that come with your bike are all you need to get started.
- The basics are easy. Get out your owner’s manual and try it. Start with the routine things; checking tires for wear, air pressure, oil level, chain tension and lubrication (if you have a chain drive). Not only will your bike perform better and last longer, it’s much safer.
- You can do more than you realized. Even small successes breed confidence. Accomplishing something you thought was out of your league prepares you for the next challenge. We learn we’re capable of far more than we gave ourselves credit for and are encouraged to try new things.
- You’re a much more confident rider. Without the understanding, you don’t know what you don’t know. Hence, you get out on the road and you have no idea what could go wrong, nor would you be prepared if it did. If you routinely check your bike, you know it’s in good repair and it’s not likely to let you down. You can detect potential problems before they get out of hand.
- Self-Discovery. You don’t know you can do something like that until you do. Too many people give up before they start or even get close to being a success, because they tell themselves it can’t be done. Or they’ve been told they can’t do it. Think of the message that’s playing to your subconscious.
- Greater awareness. You know it’s done and it’s done right. Just doing it helps you understand how it works. Then you don’t feel like you’re at the mercy of a well-intentioned but ill-informed or unscrupulous mechanic.
Learning Maintenance 101 builds confidence, awareness and independence. It increases enjoyment, safety, motorcycle performance and longevity. It reduces costs.
Before you go for your next ride, take a few moments and learn something new about your bike. You’ll be amazed at how empowering it is!