Three mopeds arrive at the yard of Pyhäjoen Moottoripaja, accompanied by bouts of laughter. One of the mopeds has to be pushed, however. The Derbi, owned by 15-year-old Taija Mämmelä, is missing a fuel line tensioning band. If there is no suitable band at the garage, she can probably get one from a friend. The garage, located at the depot of the municipality of Pyhäjoki, attracts the young woman to such an extent that she just cancelled her showjumping practice because it overlapped with the moped servicing evening.
The youth of Pyhäjoki come to the garage once a week. The garage is a workshop provided by the municipality, Pyhäjoki MC and the local parish where adults supervise the youth when they service their vehicles and are there to talk to the youth and listen to their everyday worries. For the moped owners, coming together to fix the mopeds has become a major part of the hobby.
“Sure it has, as these things break down all the time,” Mämmelä says.
She is the representative of the youth at the garage. One of the six volunteer motorcycle enthusiasts in Pyhäjoki MC and the municipality's youth worker Riikka Kylmäoja or the parish’s youth worker Hannu Louhimaa are always in attendance at the meetings.
The garage is a good example of cooperation between the young and adults, as well as between the municipality, associations, and the parish. Mämmelä and her friends wanted a space for the young. As there was none, the moped owners met at the garage at Mämmelä’s home. Meanwhile, retired motorcyclist Antero Suni from Pyhäjoki gritted his teeth after having read online complaints about young people driving their mopeds. He had dreamed about setting up a garage for young people for years.
“They are decent young people, but they have a little too much energy and people get annoyed when they drive their mopeds in the wrong places. Here at the garage, we can make sure that they practice their hobby in the correct locations, and they also learn important skills,” Suni sums up.
Hot moped summer coming
More skills are acquired when Suni and Niklas Impola repair the cylinder of Impola’s Derbi. The moped’s odometer reads 23,403 kilometers, but the actual mileage is higher, as the odometer stopped working some time back. The goal is to repair the moped so that it can be used and registered when Impola turns 15 this summer and gets his moped driver’s license.
Suni squeezes a piston ring in place while Impola rotates the piston, trying to find the correct installation position.
“How can you tell that it’s going into the cylinder the right way around?” Impola asks.
“It can't go in the wrong way around: there is an arrow indicating the exhaust port at the end of the piston,” the veteran replies.
They also decide that the garage’s tool selection must be supplemented with a piston ring clamp. The municipality pays the rent of the garage space. Money to buy tools has been donated by local businesses, Fennovoima among them.
This year, Fennovoima has sponsored environmental matters to curb climate change. Suni says that environmental education for the young means small but remarkable actions. When serviced, mopeds produce as little emissions as possible.
“In some mopeds, oil is still mixed with gas in the tank. The exhaust smoke will be less when you actually calculate the mixing ratio, instead of just randomly pouring some oil from a can.”
The piston silently slides into place when Impola presses the kick-lever. The new cylinder kit is finished by the end of the night.
“I’ll start breaking it in now. Once the technology has been sorted out, you still have to sort out the balance,” he says, satisfied.
- Pyhäjoen Moottoripaja is managed by Pyhäjoki MC ry, the Pyhäjoki parish, and the municipality of Pyhäjoki.
- There are always two adult instructors present.
- Moped enthusiasts meet at the garage on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8 pm.
- The garage has the necessary tools, and they get help in repairing their mopeds. Driving practice at the local enduro track will also be arranged in the future.
- Nation-wide, the garage operations are coordinated by Nuori kirkko, a service organization of Finnish parishes.