It’s January, it’s stupidly cold outside and your bank account is as empty as the Donald Trump book of Tact and Diplomacy. The bike is sitting unloved in the garage, drowned by a tide of recycling and domestic junk that accumulates over the off-season. You know that you should really be fettling away in preparation for the season ahead, but it’s pigging difficult to find your motivation at minus one Celsius under the pathetic ring of light from a 100 Watt bulb, whilst you trip over a pile of old newspapers and the balding Christmas tree that you haven’t got round to taking to the tip.
Now we could suggest a ‘Pimp my Ride’ style make over, transforming a standard sized garage into a reasonable workshop / bike store. But the problem with your bog standard garage, there’s too much missing in the first place. If you start with a Nissan Micra, no matter what you do to it– it’s still never going to be a Ferrari!
But what if you had an unlimited budget – what if Jim really would Fix it ( ah – maybe not) – what if you were Jay Leno? Then you’d be able to design the ultimate dirt bike haven – The Fantasy Garage….
No matter what you’ve been telling yourself for years, size really does matter and no garage only big enough to fit a family saloon is ever going to fit the bill. But it’s hard to pass this on to your loved one when buying a house – she’s more interested in a getting a third bedroom, despite the fact there’s only two of you, than ‘wasting money on a double garage’. It’s the Mars vs. Venus thing.
But this is fantasy, so we can assume that we’ve won that argument, and the good lady has admitted she was wrong and gone to get the coal in.
So the ideal garage is at least triple width and double height, more the size of a small industrial unit than the poky 8’ X 15’ that we all have to put up with! When you see those American Supercross riders with their massive ranches and enormous bike warehouses, tell us you’ re not green with envy. Big is better, so let’s scale things up quick sharp.
FEEL THE HEAT
No matter how capacious your garage, if the spanners are so cold they freeze to your hands and it take an hour to persuade the engine oil to leave the bottle, then things need to change. I’m talking proper heating here not just a wheezing convector or a paraffin lamp – the Fantasy Garage has under floor heating, massive chrome radiators to dry or warm your riding kit to toast temperature and hot running water – Cosy.
We’d ask for air-con too, but let’s be realistic, we’re based in Britain not Barbados. If it’s too hot – we’ll just open the door …
Look at your toolbox – does it make you proud? Does that collection of fifty Chinese screwdrivers that came free if you bought £30 of petrol really do the job? Are the sockets bought from the Pound Shop suitable for use on your seven grand bike? Thought not.
What is needed is a GP mechanic set up, with the shiny red ‘ Snap On’ cabinet, personalised work mats, hydraulic bike stand and one of those cool parts washers in the corner. Throw in a full set of Makita Power Tools, a range of top quality consumables from race fuel to Loctite, Engine Ice to Coppaslip, a bespoke collection of titanium, stainless and alloy fasteners for every occasion and of course lastly, a supply of clean rags – now we’re talking.
All this mechanical excellence is OK, but can’t get round the fact that your technical ability is only slightly better than a blind gibbon wearing boxing gloves then all the fancy tools on the workbench might as well be made of cheese. What’s needed is a conveniently placed expert that can be called up at a moment’s notice, never to busy to spend a couple of hours fettling your bike to racing perfection.
So obviously, Mitch Payton lives next door, Graham Jarvis has just bought the bungalow opposite, and Toby Price and Marc Coma both live in the big house at the end of the street (not in a married couple way, more like Bert and Ernie).
Oh and Jonny Walker is the lodger.
THE BACK CATALOGUE
Lets be honest, the only reason any of us ever sell our bikes is cash. If we need the dosh to finance the next bike, that is just about acceptable, but once we get into the realms of the saddest phrase in dirt biking ‘new baby forces sale’ then something needs to change.
But in a Fantasy Garage, every bike you’ve ever owned is lined up, restored to concourse condition and sat on Fro alloy stands. That little PW your Dad gave you for Christmas, it’s there – your first FS1E – glistening with WD40 after a fresh piston has just been slipped in, the CR250 that you won your first race on – it’s back and the plastics aren’t covered in the obligatory white creases. And of course they all run sweeter than a sugar sandwich with maple syrup.
WALL OF FAME
Now although this is still a garage, we don’t want the décor to be too industrial. The perfect stuff to brighten up the walls is got to be a collection of framed classic and modern day race memorabilia – a bit like the Hard Rock Café, but with dirt bikes.
Cyril Despres’ riding jacket from his last Dakar and Ricky Carmichaels race shirt sit next to Roger de Coster’s race jeans from 1977 and a set of Johnny O’Mara’s Gaerne Boots. Poster size prints of your racing triumphs are essential, as are Forest Gump style pictures of you with racing heroes – look that’s me poking Gaston Rahier with a baguette and another of me giving Taddy Blasuziak a wedgie – Good times.
In the breaks between top notch spannering and technical wizardry on your Factory enduro machine and Dakar equipped adventure bikes, you need to be able to kick back a little without the hassle of going back into the house and risking all manner of domestic drudgery and responsibility.
Obviously putting your corner sofa on the garage floor would be silly, so a cool crash pad / lounge / snack kitchen / bar at the top of a set of stairs over your garage is the way forward. Add a shag pile rug and some funky lighting – do they still sell funky lighting – and get ready to chillax. Cool as the cool side of the pillow
An absolute essential for the professional loafer is a fully loaded retro fridge within easy reach at all times. Obviously it’s stocked with an impressive selection of continental lagers, export grade spirits and the entire Ginsters range. And make it the SMEG Union Jack model – oh yes that’s what I’m talking about.
LCD SOUND SYSTEM
And finally, as I hope we’ve highlighted, a house is just somewhere to sleep when you come in from the garage, so it makes sense to get all the gadgets and technology out there with you. Lets have a full concert spec flown sound system, lap tops to automatically downloads the latest choons, a massive feck off plasma screen and naturally PS, XBOX an Wii.
Throw in some classic arcade units like Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Asteroids and we’re good to go!
So that’s it – our work here is done. The blueprint for the Ultimate Fantasy Garage is finished, and if we could just secure a factory Dakar contact, it would all be possible.
Sigh – but we’re definitely getting a beer fridge….
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