Just another year…please!

Just another year…please!

As the winter draws to an end and we welcome spring, so do many riders take off the dust sheets covering their bikes and remember it’s time for the annual road worthiness check. 

Some approach this with confidence, knowing that it will pass…no problem. Others…myself included always seem to dread this time…never 100% sure whether my bike will get through without a fuss or will require lots of encouragement & expense.

It’s the start of a busy time of year for dealerships, service centres & MOT test stations as they know there’ll be reaching peak requests from eager bikers.

Maybe it’s the pessimist in me, that I always think the worst. Even though I’ll go over the bike and check all I can, I’ll find myself double, treble checking everything until I’m confident it’ll pass. 

All the lights work!……………………………………….Check!

Brakes work & pad thickness good!………………Check!

Tyres condition and tread wear!………………..…Check!

Horn!………Beeping?………………………….……………..Yep!

Front/Rear suspension!………………….….errrrrm…OK!

Structural!………All Big bits still on!……..…………yeah!

Drivetrain Chain…………………………………Yep…got one!

……………………………………………………   Nope…got shaft!

Exhaust noise?…….is it too loud?………………..No idea!

All the other test bits & pieces?………..Haven’t a clue! 

Most road users, be them drivers or riders are vehicle operators…users…manipulators of controls to  make the thing go in a particular direction. Some have a basic understanding of how things work and only the few…really know what they’re doing.

For the modern rider or driver, this is probably getting more to be the case as vehicles are becoming more reliable and also cannot be played with unless there is a good level of knowledge and have specific tooling and diagnostics that the everyday chappy will not have.

So when I say I’ll give my bike a pre MOT check, really what I’m saying is that I’ll be checking the lights and beyond that it all gets a bit fuzzy.

So where does that leave me? Well it means that every time I take my bike for an MOT…I tend to be all coy, bow my head, avoid eye contact and hope, with double crossed everything, that the thing passes.

Is this any way to carry on? Well, in short, No…it isn’t! The idea for the annual roadworthiness is to make sure that at least once a year the vehicle is safe to be driven or ridden on the road. So what about the rest of the year? How do you know that the bike or other vehicle is still ok.

Well unless something stops working or something falls off, then if you don’t, at least, speak the same or similar language as the the MOT inspector, then you’ll continue to ride/drive blind…as most of us do!

With older bikes & vehicles it was easier to get involved. They were generally a lot simpler to work on and to understand. They were also a lot less reliable which encouraged more DIY roadside repairs.

We have lost or are losing this relationship now but this doesn’t mean we have to be disconnected or disengaged with what we are riding/driving and what makes the thing tick…over!

We don’t necessarily need to know how to fix our vehicles, but it might help if we had a basic understating of it and can understand the person fixing or testing it.

The idea is to get involved, get interested. Ask questions and get the fixers & testers to explain what’s being fixed and tested.

OK…some of you will think, well I already know that stuff…but are we encouraging others to do the same?

A good place to start: Online search “MOT testing standards” or check “Getting an MOT” on www.gov.uk 

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