The other day I mentioned the new AMA XR1200 race series beginning this season. The reaction was mixed, some of you were in favor of it, some had reservations, but what I found interesting was some of the complaints were focused on how boring it would be. When you think about it, you might be right, if you were focused on watching the race instead of racing yourself. Chances are the names of the racers would be unknown to most of us, unless it was a friend or acquaintance, because many of these racers would be trying to learn how to race, sharpening their skills on the track under race conditions. They would be doing something, learning, improving, growing and getting experience. Maybe it would be a phase they would tire of, maybe they would go on to become one of the best racers ever, but until they try, how would they know? But, what is the spectator doing?
The recent demise of American Chopper brought a similar mix of comments, but there, too, the Teutals were doing something, building bikes and making a TV show. It may not have been high art but it was something and it was a lot better than watching the show and doing nothing else.
Think about what you could do with your time if, the next time you were bored, you did something productive instead. Just to focus on motorcycles, you could head down to the garage and do a maintenance check. Tire pressure, fluid levels, check for leaks, check for loose screws, loose nuts and bolts, clean filters, … you get the idea. Shop a little messy? Clean it up, arrange your tools, read the manual to find out out how to do some more advanced work you haven’t done before. All of this is free, and if you do some work yourself you save money on repairs.
If you want to watch someone, watch with a purpose. Find someone that knows how to do something you’re trying to learn and see how it’s done. Search out an expert that can weld or rebuild engines and see what he does. If he’s open to the idea, ask questions along the way, and if you get the opportunity, see if you can put your hands to work.
If you don’t have a motorcycle and few dollars to spare, find a project bike to work on and rebuild it. Project bikes are often hiding in plain sight, leaning on a shed with some old lawn chairs, the owners usually use another name for them, … junk. Offer to take it off of his hands, cart your prize home and learn.
Boring racing and boring TV shows are a problem confined to spectators, if you participate, you’ll never be bored again. So, what are you doing tonight?