FRoC spanner days

Hey FRoCers! I had a great time in Dubbo with the girls for the world record ride, and it got me thinking about other things I can do with helping out with your awesome group.

One thing I spoke to some of the ladies about was the idea about some various mechanical tips, tricks, basic servicing and demystifying mechanical stuff. I do a lot of work in my shed from simple little things through to entire motorcycle rebuilds and fabrication of new parts; I would like to share some of my knowledge where possible.

Note I’m not a qualified mechanic although I have done a variety of things. (Some of which are half-arsedly written up on this here website. Feel free to explore it).

My initial thoughts are a few workshops for 8-10 ladies at a time, maybe taking half a morning or longer if required/desired. I would aim to do hands-on experience at all of them. With some things and when the women are happy to do it, on their own bike… otherwise I have plenty of things to demonstrate. On certain things e.g. plugging tyres then it’d be on something I own so I’m not ruining someone else’s bike :D. They would also be ladies only, obviously with the exception of me since it’s my shed and all of that.

I’d prefer to foster an environment where it isn’t me doing everything and just showing the girls, and I’d also prefer girls helping each other out with some of the stuff with guidance where they need it rather than it being partner/male dominated telling people how it’s done.

Before the time we’d get together I’d put out some words and if possibile pictures on the sort of things we’d be doing. In some cases you can only ‘show’ things but where possible the idea would be to get the ladies hands on and into everything. Some of these topics, especially the advanced stuff, would be things that would be only able to be done once but I’d work around what people are interested in.

Here’s a list of the sort of things I would cover. Not all would be in each sort of workshop, it would depend on what people are interested in/what they want to do and how long people want to spend on things.

0. Buying a bike
– Simple stuff to check
– What’s really required for a roadworthy?
– Ways to get around issues e.g. bike has aftermarket pipe & is too noisy
– What sort of usual bullshit people spin you

1. Basic to slightly advanced maintenance things
– Cable adjustment and lubrication
– Chain adjustment and lubrication
– Putting bikes onto paddock/track stands (ATV lift for a cruiser)
– Wheel removal/refitting
– Checking charging system esp. with a flat battery

2. Servicing your bike yourself
– Oil changes
– Spark plug changes
– Brake pad changing
– Brake fluid change
– Air filters (swapping out, cleaning the reusable K&N ones)
– Checking a charging system

3. When you’re stranded
– Checking why the damned thing won’t run
– Plugging a tyre puncture
– Limping home with certain issues e.g. no clutch, bent gear lever, that sort of thing
– Jump starting a bike
– Push starting a bike
– Loading motorbikes into trailers/utes
– Tying motorbikes down so they don’t escape

4. More advanced mechanical things
– Replacing fork seals
– Wheel bearings
– Carburettor rebuilds
– The basics of valve clearances
(this is one job I pay someone to do, it’s that much of a bastard, but I thought showing off how it works might demystify why modern sportsbikes cost so much to get the clearances done!)
– (an out there possibility) Engine rebuild in a day.
This would involve watching me as I drop an engine out of a fairly simple old bike, pull it apart (showing people all the bits and how they work), making some modifications and putting it back together.
You all can laugh when I fuck it up and it won’t start at the end.

5. ‘bike setup’
– Lever adjustment/positioning
– Suspension setup basics
– Tyre pressures/when to vary from manufacturers recommendations
– Minor tweaks to make your life considerably better

6. Track related stuff
More of a generic discussion and best done at a trackday that I’m at :). Happy to chat bike preparation pre trackday, tyre warmers, how the day runs, basics of track riding all the way through to full race preparation like lockwiring, what you need to do to go out racing etc.

If people could let me know what they think, either via Facebook or through email (rchopping AT gmail DOT com) then that’d be awesome and we can see what we can do.

I would be looking at kicking them off in May, based on my availability and also interested parties. As I said above, I’m fine with running certain things a couple of times if there’s extra interest/too many girls for one workshop.

On a final note, I think one of the huge boy privileges is that we’re assumed to be interested in mechanical things so we’re exposed to it from a young age. If people would like to occasionally just absorb stuff so they take more of it in, I’m also absolutely ok with that. I only know what I know because people have shared their precious time with me and if I can do the same for others then that would be my pleasure. I learn a lot explaining things to people, too.

– Chops/Mr Lube