YOU CAN GET IT IF YOU RE­ALLY WANT. BUT YOU MUST TRY

“AND DON’T TELL YOUR­SELF YOU DON’T ‘GET’ GEARBOXES. THAT’S A COP OUT”

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - On the Bench -

Want to be a bet­ter me­chanic? Me too. Most mechanics prob­a­bly want to be bet­ter mechanics. I re­mem­ber the first time I took the tools to a bike. My fa­ther, an air ar­ti­fi­cer in the Fleet Air Arm – a fighter aero­plane me­chanic in other words – then later a head of engi­neer­ing for Miche­lin, knew how to twirl a span­ner. If I thought I could lean on his tal­ents in my teenage days, I was wrong.

“You know where the tools are, you’ve got your man­ual, I’ll be in­doors read­ing the pa­per,” he said. “If you need me – and only if you need me – you know where to find me. Read the man­ual, think about what you’re do­ing then take your time do­ing it.” I got the mes­sage. He wasn’t be­ing mean, he didn’t even want to read the pa­per – he knew it would be bet­ter for me to find my own way. Af­ter all, this was a man who built his own car in the three years be­fore he was old enough to drive. All I had to do right then was change my bike’s spark plugs.

And as the main­te­nance tasks be­came ever more com­plex I man­aged them as my con­fi­dence grew. If I were ever truly stuck Dad would step in with helpful ad­vice but never took the job over from from me. I learned the value of pa­tience – a rushed job is usu­ally botched – I learned that five, 10 or more min­utes as­sess­ing a prob­lem and think­ing about its so­lu­tion could save many hours and pounds later on.

The truth is we can all be bet­ter mechanics. In the ab­sence of any­one telling us we can do it, we need to tell our­selves we are ca­pa­ble. And we are, even with un­fa­mil­iar tasks, pro­vided we take a step back, think the job through, lift the right tools and refuse to be put off. And don’t tell your­self you don’t ‘get’ gearboxes, electrics or what­ever. That’s a cop out. If I can get them, you can. I still want to be a bet­ter me­chanic though. Alan Seeley (Of Scot­land)

Read it and weep. Then read it again and be­gin to slowly un­der­stand. It works

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