Bikes are to be ridden, and soon you will enough find yourself alone in an adventure, but how are you in terms of motorcycle adventure mechanics?
I would divide riders into 4 categories:
1 - The "know it all" mechanical coaches.
There is nothing more annoying for anyone trying to fix something that having someone else throwing ideas and opinions at you that bring nothing to the table. Alone, those that live in this group stand no change in actually fixing something.
2 - The ones that bluntly say they don't know anything about mechanics.
Although I'm from a line of thinking that believes all motorcycle riders should know at least basic mechanics, I respect a lot the candor of this particular group or bikers.
3 - Riders that know some mechanics.
They understand basic to intermediate principles, and some of them, even do the basic maintenance of their bikes themselves.
They are interested in understanding how their bikes work and are always open to learn something new.
4 - Professional motorcycle mechanics.
Let's pay attention, I said professional MOTORCYCLE mechanics, not just professional mechanics.
Let us create a parallel with medicine. All doctors, are, redundantly, doctors. However, I would not have any other kind of doctor than a neurosurgeon operating on my brain, so why would I want any other kind of mechanic working on my bike?
This group can divide itself further into the "adaptable" and the "textbook mechanics".
That subdivision is crucial as it clearly tells us one thing. Being a professional motorcycle mechanic does not mean that one can perform at all situations with limited tolling and resources.
But why is this important? Because it also tells us something else. It tells us that field mechanics is different than your run of the mill motorcycle mechanics.
The same way, field medicine and the medicine practiced at hospitals are the same in theory. However, in practical terms, one is focused on fixing you up, and the other on making sure you can actually arrive alive at the hospital.
We can even take this analogy further if you allow me. Medicine takes you years to master and apply, however, even us "commoners" can take a first aid course. It's not gonna makes us doctors in any way, but it will allow us to save ourselves or someone else, or at least, gives us the tools to try.
On a motorcycle, we learn how to drive, we get ourselves good gear and fantastic performing machines, but do we know "motorcycle first aid" or do we blindly trust our mechanics and manufacturers?
As road riders, we tend to blindly trust. And I have to accept that, after all, if anything goes wrong any AAA assistance on earth will be able to help you.
When we are off road however, the same does not apply.
I'm repeatedly amazed at the amount of off road adventure riders that don't know the basics of how their motorcycle works. That don't carry a toolkit, or even worst, that carry a toolkit, but never tried it, making them oblivious to what they can actually achieve with the tools they carry.
Knowing basic mechanics can save your life if you get stuck off the beaten tracks. Deeply knowing your toolkit and how to use it can make a difference between getting out of a bad situation or just carrying unnecessary extra weight.
We don't all need to be motorcycle mechanics, but as adventure riders, we should all know motorcycle first aid.
Do you have the knowledge to get yourself out of a bad spot? Your life may depend on it.
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