Thursday, May 20, 2010
Well, another member, Ernest, asked if I'd like to attend a class with him on a Saturday morning. Having been labeled a "playboy" in high school (by my father for preferring hobbies over homework), now not missing college at all, and a seeker of all excuses to miss mandatory classes at work, I was hesitant to voluntarily relive any such organized gathering.
The Motorcycle Repair and Maintenance class at JCCC is taught by Bill Brown. I'm sure many of our members know him. I met him at Ralph Wayne's 2009 when he parked behind me on a scooter with sidecar AND trailer.
The class was mellow, basically with everyone quietly working on their own projects. Bill, injured in a car collision years ago, rolled from station to station in a chair giving pointers, suggesting tools, and generally lending a hand to the various students.
From what I understand, this is more of a club than a curriculum - don't quote me on that! I'm not enrolled, nor did I ask, but I doubt there is a test during the whole semester. Ernest could weigh in here.
The MC garage is fairly well appointed with multiple lifts but is a bit cramped with 5 or 6 projects going. I was put to work out front replacing a few side cover bolts on Ernest's CB350/4 - now apparently in Bill's stable through a deal they worked out. Ernest was inside polishing side covers, some were trying to get a 2-stroke scooter to run, and yet others worked on replacing a chain on a GS.
I explored the facility and *WOW* I found lots of great stuff. Apparently the automotive side of the JCCC facility fairs well. There were no fewer than six lifts in a garage larger than any local NTB or Tires plus garage - large enough for a commercial operation for sure. One corner had about six various tire balancing machines, as many cut away engines, and a computer station. There was a "clean room" for engine building, and a dirty room with a parts washer, blast cabinet, and spray booth for making a mess. There was about every kind of valve grinding machine I've ever seen in that room as well. Overhead block & tackle hoists were all over. The "dirty room", in particular, is shared with the MC class. Apparently, Bill, who I'm told also teaches the automotive classes, is trying to persuade the administration to allow more space(read: funding) for the growing MC class.
For the guy without a lot of knowledge of bikes, a guy without all the tools in his garage, or anyone wanting to get out of the house on a Sat morning, this could be a great place to learn. I don't know if bikes are brought there each week, left there, already there, or what. Apparently many of the bikes there are Bill's and I know a few students have purchased their projects from him. I don't know how that all works. I do know Bill has a picnic at his place once or twice a year and that he has "unofficial" wrench nights at his place on Wednesdays. In fact we all rode to his place after class for one of his picnics.
These are nice folks all around and this is a good way to get plugged in to the local bike scene. If you are interested, contact JCCC or Ernest on the group for more info.