Thursday, March 5, 2009


I am somewhat of a do it yourself guy, I've remodeled the bathroom and kitchen of our house. I've replaced windows and doors, built decks and pergolas, pretty much a home DIYer. It gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that I did it myself and I save a lot of money in labour costs.

With the economy the way it is, we are becoming more of a do it yourself society rather than paying someone else to do it. Landscapers are being let go, anyone can "mow d' lawne" (French for 'cut the grass'). We don't need Starbucks, we'll make our own mocha-latte-frappa-whooies and as motorcyclists we get to pump our own gas. Oregon and New Jersey are non self service states, except for motorcycles and I believe diesel.

I have realized that I have been somewhat lacking in the DIY of vehicle maintenance. I used to do a lot of my own vehicle work like hanging upside down under the dash installing stereos. I've busted knuckles dropping a transmission to replace a clutch in my first truck and I've replaced the spider gears in the rear end of my mom's car after learning how not to do a burnout. I used to replace starters, alternators and radiators myself, but I was young and broke, now I pay someone to do it, I've done my time.

I still change my own oil and filters, clean and lube the chain and I have installed all the accessories on my bike from heated grips, lighting and horn to saddlebags and removing baffles. But for some reason I procrastinate when it comes to downtime with my bike, not that I don't know or am not willing to learn how to tackle a carburetor rebuild or valve adjustment. I just can't be without my bike for more than a day. I'm afraid that I'll get it apart and something will come up and I won't find the time to get it back together for a week or two.

I dragged my feet through the cold months because of the possibility of one sunny day midweek that I could ride. I think there was a two week stretch in December that I couldn't ride but the garage was too cold and a kitchen remodel was a priority on my honey-do list. If I get the honey-do list cleared through the winter that means more time to ride in the summer.

Now Spring is around the corner, I've been riding all winter and I need to address a few things on my bike. I could pay someone to do it, but I somewhat miss doing it myself. One item on the list is to replace my front tire, I have a new tire in my garage and I could pay the local shop $20 bucks to swap it out and speed balance it, but I want to do it myself. It'll cost me more for the spoons, rim protectors and to build a jig and bead breaker but then I'll have everything when I replace the rear tire, except for the big compressor to set the bead. One of the guys at bike night last night discussed setting the bead using gasoline, now this sounds like a recipe for disaster. "Oh it's easy" he says, "it inflates to about 50 psi and then immediately deflates".

I think I'll use the ratchet strap method, and if that fails I'll take it to the local tire shop and use their compressor. But wait, the bike shop is closer and since I'm there anyway, maybe I'll have them balance it too. So much for do it yourself.

Meh, what's 20 bucks?


1 comment:

  1. I like to do the work myself when I have the leisure to do it. Too many memories of nights spent having to get something fixed so I could go to work the next day. I totally agree with not wanting to take my bike out of service, though.

    Maybe I can work it out to keep both bikes. Best of both worlds, eh?


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