Joe's Job: Harley-Davidson Technician


by Joe Flanagan, 13News

Posted on May 29, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 29 at 5:41 PM

PORTSMOUTH-- Joe was training with Chris Cowden, a Harley-Davidson technician who is so experienced, Harley has called him for engine information.

Cowden has worked at Bayside Harley-Davidson in Portsmouth for 13 years and loves his job!

"It's a good responsibility, it's a big responsibility, because these people are entrusting us with their safety.  There's only two wheels, so there isn't as much room for error with bikes as there is when I was working on cars," said Cowden.   

The motorcycle Joe was working on came out of the "garage-ma-hall," as they call it at Bayside. It needed a simple oil change. Joe thought it was going to be a basic job. 

Chris said to undo the dipstick handle to allow the oil to drain faster. That's when Joe ran into a slight problem.

"Go ahead and slide the pan as far forward as you can," urged Cowden.

Cowden slid the pan, unbeknownst to Joe, so Joe slid  it even further. Uh-oh! There was a big puddle of oil now next to the pan. All this drama and Joe was only changing the oil.

"It takes somebody who is meticulous, pays a lot of attention to detail and is patient, because a lot of this work is routine work.  Oil changes are oil changes and tires are tires," said Bayside Harley-Davidson General Manager Kevin Johnson.

Finally, it was time to fire it up and return the oil-changed Harley to the "garage-ma-hall."

"As a rule, they don't break down like they used to.  They are more reliable.  And you just get on them and go and have fun," said Johnson.  

It was a short trip back for the motorcycle, but when Cowden was asked how Joe would do working on Harley's, his answer was even shorter.

"You need a lot of work," said Cowden.  "It's the attitude.  Attitude is everything," concluded Cowden.