Finding My Zen: Motorcycle Maintenance at a Community Workshop
In 2016, I pledged that I would start doing all my own maintenance on my bike. With my 60 mile/day commute, I was running into my service intervals every six months, and it just didn't make sense to spend $700 for someone to change my oil and blow out my air filter.
After realizing how quickly I was going to be doing service maintenance on my bike, I also began to think about the future, and our future big ride around the world. If we were going to fulfill that dream, we would need an intimate knowledge of motorcycle maintenance.
This was made even clearer to me after I suffered a minor accident in November. Luckily no serious damage occurred thanks to wearing full gear, but I did have to replace every part that stuck out on the left side of my Harley. Not to mention I was already due for new tires and my 20,000 mile service was rearing its ugly head.
I started to feel a little overwhelmed. How in the world was I going to be able to accomplish all of this work? I had a minimal tool kit, and no lift. I'd only been able to get my previous service maintenance done thanks to YouTube. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.
After some great research done by Mr. McQueen, we found a community motorcycle shop called Moto Republic which rents out lifts in their shop for $15/hour. This was the answer I was looking for! For $60 a day you have all the tools you could ever need within your reach and mechanics willing to answer your stupid questions. They also offered classes to learn how to use the tire machine along with other useful skills. If you live in Los Angeles, I highly recommend you check these guys out. The owner, Jeff is a terrific guy who will stick around, and joke with you while complimenting your hard work. Plus an added bonus is that you get to meet other riders in your area, and watch them while they work on their bikes. Check out their Instagram to see what I mean.
If any of you have read the famous Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (if not, give it a look), you'll know that working on your bike isn't only about saving money. Working on your bike is deciding to put the control of your life into your hands, rather than the hands of others. You know that your bike is in top running condition, not because a dude at the shop said so, but because you tightened those bolts and changed those fluids.
I saved thousands of dollars by doing my own repairs, but more than that, I gained confidence in myself and deep affection for what used to be just be a piece of machinery. It's sounds silly to say I really bonded with my bike after spending 2 days taking her apart and putting her back together, but that's exactly what happened.
And I didn't even chip a nail.