Lowell Anderson wrenchingOver the years I have worked on all kinds of bikes, street bikes, dirt bikes, mini bikes and everything else under the sun. I am happy to say that I have never had to pay a mechanic to work on my bike. I have always managed to take the challenge of working on my bike head-on whether I knew what I was doing or not. I use the resources around me to get the problems fixed. Sometimes this is really a frustrating endeavor, but in the end, it is worth it!

Last year I was working on an old street bike and pulled a real bonehead move! While I was working on the carbs, I didn’t tape the end of the cables after I pulled them out. Inevitably, one of the choke plungers fell off and dropped into one of the ports. This is where the dumb move came into play. As soon as I heard the “ting..ting..knock” of the piece falling…I panicked! I got all p**sed off, started throwing pieces around and getting all upset at the stupid thing I had just done. I continued down the path of stupidity by taking apart the top end of the motor. After I pulled the head off and started searching around, I still couldn’t find the piece I lost. I started to freak out completely thinking it dropped all the way down into the cases and I was going to have a hell of a time fishing it out. Then it happened! While leaning over the top of the engine I saw it. The choke plunger was lying in a crevice ON TOP of the motor!!! First I was really p**sed at myself, realizing I had done something so stupid, and then it hit me! In that moment, a real lesson was learned. When you are working on something mechanical, you can’t panic. You have to control your emotions, and take your time. That is something I will never do again.

I started working on cars when I was a kid simply because I couldn’t afford to pay someone to do the work. Growing up, my family was broke, so we fixed everything we had. Many of the mechanical issues I ran into were things I had no clue how to fix, but learning is a process, and taking the time to find the problem part, learn how it works and then fixing it or replacing it has served me well.  It has literally saved me and my family thousands of dollars over the years. Working on things is not something I have always wanted to do. Instead it was something I did out of necessity. Looking back, I would not have done it any other way. There is a true sense of accomplishment when I complete a job. There is also the comfort of knowing what I just worked on was put together right, which is something you cannot get when you have to rely on someone else. I have never been the trusting type, so when it came to fixing a dirt bike I was going to jump 90 feet through the air on, I was not willing to trust that to someone else. What has always amazed me are the people who love mechanical things, but  simply have no clue how to handle a wrench. Some of the best riders I have met over the years simply could not do basic maintenance on their machines. It wasn’t because they couldn’t physically accomplish the work, it was because they lacked the interest, or confidence to do the work. Things like changing your oil or cleaning your air filters is something everyone should learn. Working on dirt bikes is relatively easy compared to cars. You can start with basic stuff, and just work your way up the mechanical ladder from there.

The point here is that you can do anything you put your mind to. With all the resources close at hand today there is no excuse for not doing the majority of your own mechanical work. YouTube is loaded with videos that show you how to fix things. Not only can you save a few bucks , but you can learn something in the process. If you run into a job you just can’t do then get some help with it, but don’t just give in. Learn something you can hand down to your kids some day. These are skills that keep paying for the time you have invested in them over and over again.

And remember…if you hear a “ting..ting..knock”…don’t panic! Happy wrenching!!