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Opinion: Model approach to basic mechanics for fixing things

PUBLISHED: 15:16 02 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:16 02 February 2018

Plastic models are a great way of working out how things fit together. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Plastic models are a great way of working out how things fit together. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

hknoblauch

When it comes to working out how things come apart and, more importantly, go back together again, motoring editor Andy Russell puts it down to a passion for model-making.

Give a man of a certain age screwdrivers and spanners and chances are he’ll take something apart. Whether it ever goes together again, using all the parts, is a matter of conjecture.

Now, before any mechanically-minded females take a metaphorical swing at me with a lump hammer, I’d just like to point out that it was my wife that put the following thought in my head.

We’re not one of these couples who have ‘gender jobs’ – you know the type. The wife does domestic duties, the husband cleans the car and cuts the grass. No, I’m happy to let my wife clean her car and mow the lawn too! Seriously, I enjoy cooking, will turn my hand to cleaning, love a bit of ironing and have near enough worked out the washing machine without once referring to the manual!

But there are some things that my wife will have a go at doing but, invariably, ends up calling me in to give my trusted advice, opinion, knowledge or expertise... even if she really thinks I’m clueless.

My wife has just bought a new lightweight bike to get into training for a sponsored cycle ride from London to Paris with three intrepid friends in the autumn. She was having trouble working out how the cleats, that click into the special pedals, attach to the bottom of the cycle shoes. There were no instructions but a little bag of bits... or rather a bag of little bits.

In a couple of minutes I had them assembled, everything in its place, nothing left over and she was wondering how I knew what to went where. And that got me thinking.

I came to the conclusion it stems from making Airfix models of aeroplanes from an early age, and Tamiya motorcycle kits in my teens and working out how parts went together. That led to tinkering and ‘decoking’ my Yamaha FS1-E and pulling various motorbikes apart, armed with a trusty Haynes manual, complete with greasy fingerprints on well-thumbed pages outlining regular maintenance.

Now I have bought another Haynes manual – about bicycle maintenance so I can gen up about bike’s oily bits in my new role as maintenance and repair operative.

Hopefully, I won’t be called into action... I’ll be too busy building Airfix models again!

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