There have been countless successful Tech Daze (aka Tech Days) among the members of this board. And there have been a few that have not been so good, which often can be traced to a participant or two showing up with a set of expectations that are way out in left field. So, in order to help minimize misunderstandings and enhance the value of such events, we thought we'd put together a set of suggestions that Tech Daze participants can review when preparing to attend an event. These are just ideas and suggestions, not rules and guidelines. These were written by Fernando Belair and Les_is_more.
In addition, Having a little know how when you host a Tech Daze can make things much more enjoyable for all involved. Therefore, we've also included suggestions for the Tech Daze host.
SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR TECH DAZE PARTICIPANTS
A Tech Daze can be many things, but by definition they seem to be gatherings among our members for the purpose of LEARNING. Learning about their motorcycles. Learning how to WORK on their bikes. And learning about the camraderie and good fellowship of other board members. Anyone hosting a Tech Daze can do it as they please. But if you're going to ATTEND one of these events, here are some important things you might want to keep in mind so that you and your host come away from such an event equally satisfied with the results.
1. A Tech Daze is NOT, an event at which you can have someone else perform your bikeís service for you, for free or at a reduced cost.
2. A Tech Daze IS an event at which you can learn to do these things for yourself, working on your own motorcycle, with oversight and a little assistance from other(s) who have previously gone through the same process. Go in with the mindset that you might be the one leading the next Tech Daze. These have spread because a bunch of people (like you) have decided to spread them. You don't HAVE to host one, but sharing is a great deal of what this board is all about.
3. Bring your own tools whenever possible. Always double-check your possessions before departing to make sure something doesnít accidentally end up in there. Yeah, itís easy for that to happen because there are bikes and tools all over the place, but itís still embarrassing if you have to call and ship back a torque wrench.
4. Show up with all the oil, gear lube, spark plugs, air filters, fuel filters, oil filters, throttle cables, alternator belts, etc. that youíd LIKE to learn about. However. . .
5. Donít go with an "agenda" of things that HAVE to be done to your motorcycle. In other words, donít go when youíre 2K past due on a service, or if your bike is running like crapola. You will NOT be getting professional, factory-trained mechanical assistance. . .merely amateur help from people with "some" experience. Donít expect miracles. Go there to learn, whether itís on your bike or by helping someone else with his or hers. This spirit of cooperation is at the core of a successful Tech Days.
6. Chances are the event will be "hosted" by someone, either at their home or at a place theyíve arranged for. Said host will have invested substantial time/money in preparation for the event. Please be sure to GENEROUSLY cover your hostís expenses. You will likely be using a lot more of his stuff than you realize (chemicals, rags, paper towels, tools, soap, silverware, glasses, even toilet paper and bathroom spray, to name but a few). Anywhere from $20 to $100 per person is not unrealistic, especially if quality food is either cooked or catered in. The knowledge you gain will be worth thousands of dollars to you over the life of your motorcycle. Invest heartily.
7. If thereís a "significant other" in the household, they will likely be helping out with logistics, food and the like. It would be very appropriate to take up a collection (outside of covering your hostís expenses) and acknowledge the SO's help (or at least their indulgence) with a nice gift: a dozen roses, a gift basket, bottle of wine, etc. ($50-$75 collectively should cover it). Enclose a nice Thank You card expressing the group's appreciation for them putting up with you. You're a lot bigger PITA than you realize.
8. If you can, arrive early and help set up. ALWAYS help clean up, whether itís after a meal or after the event. Leave the hostís home BETTER than you found it. Be sensitive to the fact that your host has neighbors and will need to get along with them long after you've left. Keep the noise down; be careful where you park; be friendly and courteous to those who wander by out of curiousity.
9. Stay focused on one project at a time. Don't try and absorb/do too much. Learn what you can while you're there and if there's work left undone on your bike, do it as soon as you get home, while stuff is still fresh in your mind. A follow-up phone call for a tip or two may likely be called for (be sure to exchange phone numbers with EVERYONE not just the host), but if you wait 3 months and then have to call someone all weekend long for step-by-step directions, you're making a pest of yourself. To help reduce this possibility, go prepared to take notes, and TAKE them.
10. Know yourself well going in. If you're mechanically timid, don't be afraid to tell everyone. People like to be helpful. Just remember that YOU are going to be turning the wrenches. THEY will just be looking over your shoulder. This is learn-by-doing at its best.
Again, these are suggestions for participants. Your Tech Daze Host will set the tone and parameters for their particular event. Comply accordingly.
TIPS ON HOSTING A TECH DAZE
Be aware that you will be the host and therefore will most likely not get the chance to work on your own bike. For that, you would be better off as a participant in someone else's Tech Daze.
Decide whether it will be one or two days
If two, then make suggestions about where people can stay (camping in the yard, spare rooms, floor space, lodging with participants who live close, or nearby motels have all been used.)
Let your neighbors know. Heck, invite them over for a look see and let the folks spread the love.
Evaluate what work can be done and how many bikes can be accommodated in your space.
If you want your garage floor or driveway surfaces clean when you're done, provide some large pieces of cardboard for the work to be done on. Newspaper blows around too much if you're outside.
Have plenty of rags and old towels around, along with a place to put them when they're thrashed.
Consider how you'll dispose of old oil, brake fluid etc. Most auto parts places will take oil but you may need to locate someplace to dispose of brake fluid for instance. Check with your local Fire Dept or City Household/Hazardous Waste Dept.
Solicit the help of enough experienced wrenches to match what you want to accomplish. You can tailor the work that will be done to the advice available.
Be in contact with your "Gurus" so that you know what tools need to be on hand. It almost always works out that between all of the participants, all the tools will be available but you may need to do a little coordinating. Be sure there's a large fan available for the throttle body sync.
People working on their bikes should be responsible for bringing their own consumables (oil, brake fluid, spark plugs, etc.) If you want to have extras on hand that folks can pay you for, feel free. If people have their own tools, they should bring those too.
Decide what it will look like. I could be a "free for all," that is, many bikes stripped down and various of types work being done, with your "experts" moving around helping where they can or you may prefer a more organized approach. This would be where a few bikes need some different work and the bike owner performs the job with guidance from the "Guru/s" The other participants observe/help the process and can choose which "demo" suits them best. For example, Bike 1 gets valves and throttle bodies, bike 2 gets tires, bike 3 gets a brake bleed. Each "demo" has an owner doing the bulk of the work while someone experienced in that skill looks on and instructs.
With the "free for all" scenario lots of work gets done but it is somewhat less of a learning experience for real beginners. With the "demo bikes" scenario, the scene is calmer and more intensive instruction can take place. Your choice may depend on the ratio of total noobs to skilled wrenches among your participants. Remember, some of your participants may have never even removed tupperware before.
Have paper and pencils handy so folks can note what they've done and take notes on useful hints.
If you or your Gurus are ambitious, you could have a write up of the basic procedures and maintenance checklists available for people.
Have hand cleaner and paper towels available so that the gross decon gets done before doorknobs, walls and bathroom sinks are used. I would also suggest a roll of paper towels in the bathroom. Disappear the good towels for the day.
If you have light colored carpet between the garage and the bathroom/kitchen, consider protecting it with something.
Snacks are always good to have around.
Bottles of water are a must.
Folding chairs come in handy.
If you're starting early, having coffee, juice and bagels/doughnuts out will make people positively giddy.
This will go all day, so there should be some plan for lunch. Either somebody puts out sandwich fixings or the like or someone makes a run for take out.
The question of dinner will arise. Have some suggestions of someplace close and casual where a group meal could be enjoyed or cajole, beg or charm an SO into doing a BBQ or something like that.
Don't be shy about putting out a "tip jar." This shouldn't cost you an arm and a leg.
Past Tech Daze have ranged from amazing extravaganzas to a few friends getting together to share knowledge and wrench a little. Choose according to your own comfort and be sure that you gain as well as give.
Last edited by Les_is_more; 08/02/06 01:09 AM.