I’ve been lucky on all my trips that I’ve not had any major breakdowns. However, it’s been on my mind that I really need to learn basic maintenance on my bike. Even just knowing your bike and how basic things work can give you more confidence out on the road.
So far, my best riding buddy, Dick West has taught me a lot about the basics on how things work on my bike. YouTube also has been great for basic things like oil changes or the occasional “how to plug your tire” clip.
But recently I found an amazing place in San Francisco (technically on Treasure Island) that caters to those of us who want to learn more and do more for ourselves. It’s called Moto Guild and their motto is Learn. Fix. Ride.
They have all kinds of classes, I took the very basic Intro to Moto Maintenance and just recently, the Minor Service workshop. It was so beneficial because not only did we get learn, but we got to actually do it ourselves on our own bikes. They limit the Minor Service workshop to three so we get a lot of 1:1 attention.
Just a quick visual tour of the shop. They have used gear, and surprisingly enough, a good selection of women’s gear.
They also have snacks and coffee if you get hungry while you’re wrenching. Everything is $1.00.
Once you arrive, you ride your bike up a ramp and into the warehouse. There’s a big screen TV that typically has Moto GP racing on, a big couch and a place to park your bike.
Ok, now down to business. Rob was our instructor for the day, and he also teaches a few other classes there. He is a super cool guy and he also owns a great shop called Meteor Motorbikes in Oakland that I’ve been to so I already knew I was in for a good class.
First thing we did was get our bikes up on the lift. I brought the Bonnie in this time. Let me add, this place is not only for classes, but you can just rent a spot for $15 an hour and fix your own bike here while using all of their tools.
We started out with a tour of the shop. Moto Guild provides everything you would ever need to work on your bike. They have tire changing machines, every tool you can ever imagine, parts cleaning station, a place to dump your used oil, a welding area, shop manuals for every bike, specialty tools…I’m sure I’m forgetting things but you get the idea.
They also sell parts here for the most common bikes. You can get your oil filters, air filters, various types of oil, plugs etc. Don’t be stingy and buy your parts online. Always buy from directly from the shop. The prices are reasonable and you’re helping to keep the doors open. Karma, man.
After our tour, we started off with an oil change. Basic instruction for each of our bikes, and then we got to do it ourselves. My 2 classmates were Ben who had an SV 650 and Brennon who had a VFR 1000. Yep, I was the only woman in class but don’t let that intimidate you, ladies. Everyone is very warm and welcoming, and I also saw a few women in the more advanced classes.
After the oil change was done, I got to work on checking my air filter and changing out my spark plugs. My air filter just needed some cleaning with the air compressor, but I decided I’d spring for some new plugs.
After the oil change, plugs, and air filter, we started on the chain. We cleaned it, lubed and then adjusted it. We also checked the power in our batteries with a power meter. Mine was in tip top shape.
Last but not least, we checked our tire pressure just before we went out for our test ride. As Rob so wisely advised us; go ride around the block a few times just to be sure everything is good. Better to know now than having drama on the Bay Bridge.
I left with a smile on my face knowing a little bit more about my bike and confidence knowing I can do the basic things on my bike. I plan to take the valve adjustment class and chain/sprocket class later on. If you have a place like this where you live, I highly recommend it!