I know a whole lot of you guys are into restoring bikes. I’m with you. Some of the very best times I have ever had have been in a shed. Says something about the dubious quality of my friends, but let’s not get bogged down in who shot who.

Yep, mucking about with a bike. They don’t have to be especially old, they don’t even need to be especially especial. See what I did there?

Anyway, there’s just a cool feel about fettling a bike. And, it can teach you things. Like new swear words, new ways to lie to your significant other and how any 10mm socket or spanner you once owned no longer exists. What the hell is it about 10mm?!

Shed tinkering is pretty analogous of life I reckon. Home mechanics will recognise the frustration of actually leaving a bike in far worse nick than it was in that very morning, when you first started working on it, all bushytailed and idealistic.

Even George Brough had niggling engine troubles.

Yes, you have done nine hours of decreasing the worth of the bike. You know that feeling. Just one more quarter turn and that head stud will be nicely torqued. Ping! Nooooooo. Kids know that sound. They hide under their beds when it seeps under the shed door. Good idea too. So, you learn patience.

Seconds after you throw the only 10mm socket you have left, 55 yards over two neighbours’ back fences. You have been taught something by that experience. Mostly what a crap mechanic you are, but like I said, let’s not get bogged down.

You learn about geography when you are working on a bike. Like, how you saved 18 bucks by getting that part from China, rather than opting for the original equipment factory part. You are simply too clever for those bloody rip-off merchants. ‘I’ll get the knock off bit and have enough for half a slab of domestic beer.’

Yes, you know how it goes when the holes don’t only not line up when you go to place the el cheapo part on the bike, they are not even actually there. Ahuh, you learn where other parts of the world are and how you really reckon they should dashed-well get their acts together.

Gender doesn’t come into it. Get into the shed and you’ll improve.

And economics. Yeah, you learn about value. You learn that 18 bucks isn’t a lot of money in the greater scheme of things as you greet your local dealer and order the correct bit. You don’t tell him the Chinese part story, because, if he’s as grumpy as my bloke, you’ll get a clip under the ear. Indeed, you learn resilience as well.

You learn to use the right tool. You learn what a rat bastard the bloke who invented the shifter is. You learn that soft jaws in a vice really aren’t such a silly idea. You learn that the slower speed and its clutch on a cordless drill really does make sense when you are nipping up fasteners. You learn that 10 beers is too many when you are dealing with little carby bits. You learn that the thing you banged your head on half an hour ago is still there and will be again in another half an hour…

It goes on. Working in the shed. It’s like a university of Things A Person Could Do Well Learning.

Oh, and my top tip? Buy half a dozen 10mm sockets. You’ll be needing them.

The most sought-after item in every shed across the globe.
Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

Wise words indeed, but you neglected to mention when the neighbours cat wanders in and shits in the toolbox.