Sunday, October 25, 2009

Things I've learned

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.


Sojourner rides said...

As I read this post, I was immediately reminded of Matthew Crawford's book, _Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work_. He is a motorcyclist who left a very lucrative job and now own a motorcycle repair shop. If you've read _Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance_, you'll find some similarities but Crawford is deeper and bound to become the new _Zen_. Not sure why your post brought this to mind...but there's a relationship there.

Jonathan said...


Thanks for swinging by. Oddly enough, I was reading Crawford's book when the bike was down. He got me thinking not only about the value of work, but the value of my chosen profession.