Priest in the Church of England. Trustee SPCK. Father, husband, son. "Small acts of Good change the world."

Category: College Courses


Darn itI’m not sure when it happened, but all of a sudden I seem to be a potcher. Anytime I find myself twiddling my thumbs I gravitate to the garage where I start taking things appart and attempting to make them better.

It may seem harmless, but my poor motorbike is getting a little sick of having everything taken off and messed with. I keep finding myself looking at sites that advocate building your own pannier systems.

I think it all stems back to that mech engineering apprenticeship I did when I left school, it still feels like only yesterday but as my father reminded me this weekend it was 12 years ago. The motorbike mechanics course at Merton also has a part to play, and Stace has just started a welding course at Hammersmith that I think I may sign up for next term.

The garage is pretty much complete now, the work bench is finally in, all that remains is to wire in the electrics (to the bech), pipe in the compressor and complete the shelving for the fridge and microwave….. oh my dear Lord… I am turning into my father.

One should never start a job…

…that you can’t finish.

Blast. I have had the most frustrating afternoon. I started what I thought was a pretty straight-forward job. Replace my chain and sprockets. Nice and simple, just get the back wheel off, break the old chain, take off the sprockets and then put it all back together.

What I didn’t learn on the nice pristine bikes in college is that nuts with loads of road crud on them, that have been on there since new don’t like to come off. That a ‘cheap’ £50 chain breaker hasn’t got a hope of knocking out those studs (I hope it’ll rivet the new chain back together or that was a waste of money), and that what I really need is a compressor, an impact wrench and an angle-grinder.

Tomorrow morning will see me blowing a wad at Machine Mart. Still, even with buying the kit it’s cheaper than taking it to Honda, and it’s teaching me some important lessons before the September off.

Darn it

College… there was blood everywhere

TobyBrake blood as far as the eye could see… we were dripping in brake fluid as we finally got our hands dirty and stripped callipers, replaced brake pads, and used compressors to blow pistons out – and when that failed we hit them with hammers.

It was so much fun to just mess around and get our hands dirty, get hold of some real bikes and put the last three weeks theory into practice. This weekend I do the same to my bike for real… oh well it was nice whilst my bike actually stopped… 🙂

All stop, brakes on.

Turns out I was right, Brakes are quite exciting. The disks that glow are made from Carbon Fibre and are REALLY expensive, the braided hoses are cheep but make a huge difference and it turns out my brakes are really bad and need replacing before I start scoring the disk 🙁

The course at Merton is very cool – the only thing that concerns us is the fact we’re 3 weeks in and still haven’t got our hands dirty… last night it was because the other class (who’ve got elbow deep in grease every week so far) had nicked all our equipment to learn how to bleed the brakes. There was some talk of revolt last night, but actually the tutor is so good natured that no one saud a word… but I think if we don’t do something next week… words will be uttered out loud.

Excited about brakes

Yes it’s true… I’ve got all excited about brakes. Tonight at my Motorbike Mechanics couse at Merton College we’re learning how to deal with brakes and it’s got me all turned on… there’s all kind of geeky things I didn’t know… like special kinds of lines that improve the performance, you can buy disks that will glow… it’s all cool stuff.

More news tomorrow after I’ve actually done the lesson!