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#DoOneThing - James Dawson


James Dawson, Online and Digital Advisor, shares his #DoOneThing in celebration of World Mental Health Day.

At the beginning of lockdown I purchased a second motorcycle, a 26-year-old Honda VFR750 and it needed some love and minor repairs. The VFR is now moving towards becoming a classic motorcycle so parts are near impossible to find new as they are no longer manufactured. So for the last three months I’ve been working away in my spare time, trying to refurb, replace and fix broken parts.

I started with the wheels, they were very badly corroded so I removed them and then sent them off to a specialist company to have refurbished and powder coated. Whilst they were away I cleaned the swing arm, rear brakes, rear suspension and then cleaned the front brakes too. I had to replace a few missing bolts and screws to the bodywork and the brake callipers here and there which was fun trying to source the originals.  Luckily I found a company in the Netherlands that still manufactured the bolts I needed. I had the chain and sprocket kit changed by my local dealership to ensure the drive train was tip top.

The next job was repairing two pieces of broken bodywork, now this was very challenging as the bodywork is near impossible to source new and second-hand so your best bet is to try and repair your own. The rear seat cowl had a broken tab which prevented it from being locked into place, meaning it moved when the bike was ridden and then the right-hand side piece of fairing had two snapped tabs preventing it from being securely fastened onto the frame. So, I had the build and weld them from scratch. This meant learning a new skill, plastic welding which my stepdad taught me over FaceTime as he lives in Northern Ireland. The outcome was fantastic I was able to repair the two broken pieces and fit them onto the bike.

I still have some work to do; I need to change the exhaust system to a high exhaust to expose the beautiful rear wheel and I also need to replace the rear and front brake lines as they are a little old but that is going to be my little winter job list.

I have found that this has really helped focus my mind due to not being able to go or do anything and its helped relieve stress as I have to care for my nan and whilst my wife was pregnant, for her also.  So it’s been a good little project to pull me out of the stresses of life. 

Any University staff who wish to get involved and share their #DoOneThing story should email

For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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