A thirst for knowledge is always a good thing. The older I get the more I realize there probably isn’t an area or field of expertise that I might end up needing to know something about, so I always pay attention to the goings on around me. And I ask a lot of questions, to the point that I’m sure some people think I’m stupid, but I don’t care. All those questions and observations have served me many times over the years.
My youngest son recently was given his first dirt bike for his thirteenth birthday. It’s a used bike, but it runs well. It’s a little easier not to get mad when he dings the thing up while learning when it already came with a few dings. However, it had a few issues that needed fixing. The slow leak in the back tire being one of them. My husband did it but I watched, again asking all those silly questions I’m prone to do.
The next day, my son took it out for another joy ride on the many dirt trails around the place we live. I got a phone call not long after. Like a good boy, he’d taken his cell phone like I’d asked him to always do.
“The bike died and won’t start.”
I squelched my sigh and asked where he was. It took quiet of bit of maneuvering in the mud to get my truck up to where he waited. I got on his bike, but it wouldn’t roll.
“You’re not in neutral.” I told him and stomped the lever at my foot several times then up once, but it still wouldn’t move and it still wouldn’t start. Great! We were far from home and we couldn’t even get the bike to roll so we could push it.
I get off and bend down to look at the engine, though I really don’t have any idea what to look for, when I realize the chain isn’t sitting over the sprocket teeth that are attached the rear wheel. I tried to move the chain around but it’s stuck tight.
While my husband had changed the back tire the day before I asked him why he messed with a particular threaded post and nut. To me it didn’t look like it attached to anything that would help him get the tire off.
“This loosens and tightens the chain,” he said.
That random question and answer gave me a good idea of where to start to fix the problem. I rode home through the mud to get some tools. I ended up taking my husband’s entire tool kit, because I didn’t know exactly what I would need.
Back at the bike, I figured out the size of wrench I needed and started turning. It only took a couple of turns for me to realize I needed to tighten the nut on the thread to loosen the chain. It was opposite of what I initially thought, but by watching the chain I quickly learned. It took only a few minutes to get the chain back on the teeth, and because I asked my husband what he was doing when he marked the calibration of the tire I was able align the sprocket back in it’s correct position. Once fixed, the bike started right back up.
“I can’t believe you knew what to do,” my son said in amazement.
“It’s because I pay attention to the things happening around me and ask why. Hopefully, you’ll remember this and do the same.”