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Classic Velocity Blog

Preserving the Air

Classic Velocity

I have often written of people who keep groups of us gathering and make all of us more knowledgeable. One such person is Dave Cushing. Dave is an Air Marshal in the Airheads BMW chartered motorcycle club. This means that he has pledged to help organize and run events his region. This also means that he has pledged to help any other airhead in need. Dave is also a retired BMW mechanic. It says something that he has focused some of his retirement time on machines of this era. The rest of us benefit. Besides being drawn into working on machines in his home garage, Dave is host to one of the region’s annual Tech Days. For those unfamiliar, a Tech day is where a member gets to work on his own bike under the tutelage of one or more gurus. It also takes place under the watchful gaze of many lookers-on, who eat, drink, and heckle everyone. For another dose of an Airhead tech day, see When Comaraderie and Consumption Collide. It is almost always equal parts entertainment and education.

The tech day always has several jobs lined up in advance. A fork seal, a tire change, valve timing, etc. If you are going to work on your bike, you bring your own supplies. The host provides the space and the tools. And food. Across the country, these have become something of a culinary competition, with some tech days known for their signature dish. An added treat at these events, is the mini (or sometimes maxi) motorcycle show that inevitably breaks out. A /2 shows up, along with a large assortment of /5s and /6s. A couple of sidecars are present as well. To my delight, there are two other GS Dakars present. for a total of three ! One of them was an original R80 version. I had a long talk with the other owners about the double headlight conversion, what year had what tank, and a host of other minutae.

The tech sessions had a lot of variety. A change of rear shocks on an R65, an oil and tire change on the R80GS Dakar, a brake caliper adjustment on a /7, etc. All completed successfully, all accompanied by stories of when someone had to do a similar repair on the side of the road or trail equipped only with rocks, twigs, and some dental floss. McGyver rode an airhead. The ex-mechanics and engineers present could have tackled just about any job. You could have brought your airhead to the event in milk crates and emerged a few hours later on a solid reliable machine ready to cross the country. There were several machines in attendance where the odometer had already turned over, and several beautiful low mileage examples like the R100RS. True to form, it was a beautiful day, so the group began to disperse in the early afternoon to log more miles and more smiles on machines that had already generated an impressive amount of both.