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Shed with motorcycles

The Little Things

(September 2020, from the Travels with Guido series #343)

by Guy ‘Guido’ Allen

Ever get the feeling those allegedly 'little jobs' in the shed are ganging up on you?

Not that I'm paranoid (okay, maybe a little...), but there are days when you wonder if the contents of your shed are forming some sort of weird conspiracy.

The reason for this observation is, thanks to a holiday break over the new year (and wow, doesn’t that seem like a distant and unreal memory!), I finally had a chance to properly survey the ongoing bunfight that is the modest fleet at Chateau Despair. To get some picture of what this is like, imagine getting one of those giant mobile buckets they use in open cut mines, scooping up the contents of a few random motorcycle dealerships and then unceremoniously dumping them into a tin shed in the suburbs. Welcome to my life.

While this may sound delightful, it comes with consequences. One of them is the little jobs that seem to get away from you. With one or even a couple of motorcycles, that can be a little time consuming. For my herd of mechanical monsters, it’s more like a full-time job. There are attempts at organisation, such as keeping service records and putting rego renewals in the diary, but that all assumes you have the time to go back and check on this stuff.

And, like the rest of us, Muggins is full of good intentions. It’s just the follow-through that seems to be an issue. For example, if there’s a battery on the way out, or a seal that needs replacing, I’ll immediately leap into action and buy the required part. And then promptly forget all about it.

Since a lot of this purchasing happens online, you also get to send yourself little surprises. I’ll order the bit and forget the whole thing, knowing it will eventually turn up. It does, but by then the odd-shaped parcel is a complete mystery to me, as I’ve been busy in the intervening week or so. Trivia like ordering a left-threaded thermongrommet for the Ducati is long forgotten. So I open it, suddenly remember what it’s all about and immediately place it on the parts bed.

Now some of us have a parts shelf. I have a spare bed in the back of the house, which tends to fill up by the end of year, bristling with good intentions and little projects I hope to get round to one day. Like the three new batteries which had been bought over the months, and which I now have to work out where in hell (as in which bike) they’re meant to go. Or the random set of fork seals…interesting, which bike are they for, again?

The tricky part is none of these bikes have stopped functioning – which removes the urgency. For example a quick tickle-up with a charger will wake up a tired and emotional battery enough for a quick spin.

So, having worked out which part is going into which victim, it’s then a matter of removing it from the shed. That can take a while. First a couple of old cars have to be moved, then – more than likely – at least one and sometimes two rows of motorcycles. If it’s the old Suzuki outfit I’m after, it’s wise to take a map and a good supply of water as it’s buried way back somewhere.

Now, let’s go looking for the workshop manual – there’s an exercise that’s likely to feel uncannily like a treasure hunt gone wrong.

Anyway, there is some feeling of achievement when, finally, the patient is hauled out, blinking into the light and work begins. Typically the job is easier than expected. Why is it that the longer you put off a task, the bigger it seems to become? Feeling suitably smug, we take the monster for a quick ride, and then settle down for a cup of tea, or maybe something stronger.

That warm glow of achievement can last the rest of the day, until you make the mistake of wandering past the parts bed, again, and realise you’ve hardly made a dent in the pile of mystery bits still wrapped up and waiting for attention. (Is it possible that parts breed when you’re not looking?)

Somewhat deflated, you can at least console yourself with the thought that tomorrow is a new day, and maybe ticking another little job off the list will make a difference. Hope springs eternal...

See more Travels with Guido here

See a smattering of 'our bikes' stories here


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