Apologies to anyone who’s read this already (on my thread asking for advice on a reputable garage).
What I’ve written is very much the same here as on the thread, but folks, it’s a busy ol’ life out there, so you just have to copy and paste a little bit sometimes
In short, the bike maintenance course at Oval Motorcycle Centre is absolutely brilliant, and I urge fellow bike Dumbos like me to get over there pronto and get clued-up. It’s only £35 and it will save you a hell of a lot more £££ once you know the basics, as I’ve discovered to my cost.
Simon organised my course, and because I couldn’t get to one of their evening courses (as I work nights), they made a special provision for me so that I could go in during the day. So don’t be put off if you can’t get to one of their designated evenings - just let them know and they will be able to accommodate you at a time to suit.
Matt looked after me and he was really thorough and explained everything to me in a way that I could understand…Veeerreeee sloooowleeee…
He took me through all the basic service checks and gave me a printed guide that he’s written himself which outlines everything covered during the course and is a very handy aid memoir.
I now know at least some basic things - I didn’t even how to do the tyre pressure - before I was afraid to touch them in case I did it wrong and ended up stranded with flat tyres, and then I’d have to get the breakdown folks out and everybody would be laughing at me, and then I’d end up as a news in brief item in the Sun headlined Dozy Biker Feeling Deflated … or something much wittier.
Matt also sorted out a problem that had been giving me major grief - I couldn’t get into second gear without a battle royale between me and my clutch lever… and he sorted it out in seconds. And showed me how my brake lever wasn’t operating to its full effectiveness and sorted that out too - while showing me how to do it next time, of course.
When I rode out of there it almost felt as if I was on a new bike, and nothing short of a miracle. Really. I almost wept tears of joy.
Unfortunately I also learnt that one of my forks (or the frame) is bent and I have a buckled wheel, which will have to be addressed. My bike was supposed to have been fixed after an accident I had in February, but the garage I took it to obviously failed to notice … or couldn’t be bothered to fix it.
Matt, however, has really restored my faith in garages and mechanics - he is a total professional who is passionate about bikes and about doing the best possible job as thoroughly as possible.
There was also a girl repairing her bike at the Centre after it had been in an accident and Simon was overseeing her work and helping her - she told me it was much cheaper to go there, where you have access to bike jacks, equipment, and the boys’ expertise, than leaving the bike with a garage.
The whole set up is really impressive and professional. I will definitely be going back - and the guys are really friendly and make you cups of tea and bring you biscuits - it’s great! And you meet loads of fit men in leathers coming to the Centre all day