There many constants in the world. With an old bike, it's the mystery sound. The odd rattle. The annoying tick. I suspect some of them never go away. But, I have found that most can be solved with a wrench, a bottle of lager, and a little help from FedEx.
After dealing with the electrical issues that plagued me this summer, I pulled the head covers to go after a pinging sound in the forward left valve. I learned that the difference between .007 and .009 inside in engine significant—cavernous in the context of valve gaps—and that things shift and gaps widen when torque is applied.
I learned a lot about tolerance and patience, and why you use a closed faced wrench when breaking a nut covered in 50 weight. Wrenches slip, fingers get caught.
And by not riding much this summer, I learned how much I missed it.