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  1. #1
    Senior Member CanadianBiker32's Avatar
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    Who Makes Good Money in Cycling

    What are the good careers in cycling that one can make decent living at?

    Excluding the top pro cyclists or a Cycling Shop owner?
    suggestions please

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Engineer?

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Depends what you call decent but, yep, working for a bike, component, or accessory company in general management, marketing/sales, finance/accounting, design/engineering, manufacturing/distribution,....

    Working for a pro team in a capacity other than rider; mechanic, soigneur, cook/nutritionist, trainer, ...

    Working for cycling organizations or promoters like USAC, UCI, Amoury Sports Org, RCS Sport...

    A lot of these are tough to break into...you need to know somebody, be related, etc...

  4. #4
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    One of the issues in engineering is that there are jobs that sound fun and glamorous and everyone wants to do them, but the unfun unglamorous jobs outnumber them about a 100 to one, so your odds are not good. For example, civil engineers want to design the next Golden Gate bridge, but wind up designing sewage plants, mechanical engineers want to design diesel engines and wind up designing door locks, etc. Suffice it to say, being an engineer and having an interested in bicycles is not very likely to get you a job with a bicycle manufacturer. On the other hand, you can design widgets all day and afford some nice bicycles as a hobby.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  5. #5
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianBiker32 View Post
    What are the good careers in cycling that one can make decent living at?

    Excluding the top pro cyclists or a Cycling Shop owner?
    suggestions please
    Marketing helmets?

  6. #6
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    I once made $20 on a cycling bet. That probably doesn't count though because I spent it at my LBS within an hour after the ride.

    Are you talking about a career on a bicycle or a career in some cycling related field, like marketing, sales, manufacturing, R&D, writing/photography, etc.? In some ways I envy the cycle cops who spend much of their shift on a bicycle, but when I consider other aspects of the job and that envy quickly abates.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  7. #7
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Why not get a "regular job" that pays really well and bike commute to work every day?
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon

    I thought of that while riding my bicycle -- Albert Einstein

  8. #8
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Write about it.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  9. #9
    Senior Member alhedges's Avatar
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    Doctor/pharmacist for a pro racing team seems lucrative.

  10. #10
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    Why not get a "regular job" that pays really well and bike commute to work every day?
    That's what I do... sort of. I work as a pharmacy tech at a Portland hospital. It's steady work and the benefits are decent. On the other hand, the majority of the household income comes from my wife, who is a software engineer. I think she makes twice the money I do. She tolerates my hobby. She rides, too.
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  11. #11
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    I've been riding bikes for forty years and have yet to make a buck from it.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  12. #12
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    Bicycle thief!

    Whyat a previous poster said about most engineering jobs being unglamorous is probably true about many cycling-related jobs. I would even go so far as to say that doing something cycling related every day for many years for a living, might just turn you off of cycling- take the fun out of it- make being around bikes in your spare time seem too much like/remind you of work.

    Only aspect that I could see doing, that I might enjoy, is buying/selling used bikes (If you're in the right market in densely populated city, it could work- but you're certainly not going to get rich- but then again, doing something you enjoy for a modest income is so much more rewarding than doing something you're not passionate about for a higher income...) or working as a bike mechanic/being a mobile repair service or being a bike messenger (again, only if you live in a few major cities).

    What I like best about cycling, is the freedom it offers. That freedom would likely not exist if you were doing something with a bike to earn your living...so to me, it would take all the fun out of it. Think seriously if you want to chance ruining your enjoyment of cycling.

    Now if someone was willing to just pay us to ride.....

    Wait! Organize and run bicycle tours! Hey..don't laugh- a motorcycle vlogger on Youtube who gained a big following started running scooter tours of Taiwan......
    Last edited by MetalPedaler; 04-20-13 at 12:23 AM.

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I expect Mr Merckx as the owner of a bike manufacturing company that bears his name does OK.

  14. #14
    Senior Member spectastic's Avatar
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    yea, I would guess that most working engineers in the cycling industry works on production lines, making sure the parts are being made right and managing the operators.. But there's probably a few of them with PhD's, doing computer modeling, tunnel testing and stuff like that.
    5/20

  15. #15
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    Company reps make 'decent' livings. Course to be sucessful at something like that you'd need extensive contacts in the cycling industry and an intimate knowledge of cycling products in general - which isn't going to happen overnight. The right personality helps to.

    Some brand reps were former cycling pros - some weren't. Some are just good people persons.

  16. #16
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    Being an engineer or a factory rep or a team doctor, ad infinitum, really has about as much to do with cycling as being a bat manufacturer has to do with playing baseball- you'd really have to love engineering or sales or medicine to appreciate those careers. I would assume that the OP is looking for something that involves working directly with bicycles or which involves riding them.....

    Grant Petersen seems to be doing alright with his Rivendell Bike Co. -There is an example to look at. (I don't care for Rivendell bikes...and never in my7 wildest dreams would I have thought that they could be successful- but the guy is making a living...)

  17. #17
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alhedges View Post
    Doctor/pharmacist for a pro racing team seems lucrative.
    Some of those might even include free room and board for 10 to 20 years?

  18. #18
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Some of those might even include free room and board for 10 to 20 years?
    Might even get to room with one of your pro bicycle racing customers/"patients."

  19. #19
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianBiker32 View Post
    Cycling Shop owner?

    Shimano : Click :: Campy :: Snap :: SRAM : Bang

  20. #20
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    Leverage your talents

    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianBiker32 View Post
    What are the good careers in cycling that one can make decent living at?

    Excluding the top pro cyclists or a Cycling Shop owner?
    suggestions please
    I disagree that if you started to do something around bikes you would lose your enjoyment of them. If it is your passion, go for it. I love dogs. I became a dog breeder after 25 years in corporate. Now, I am leveraging that into dog products, a dog website, etc. Every once in awhile I wish I were a regular pet owner with one dog but I have accumulated so much knowledge over the years, that I will never be out of the dog world. I brought my corporate skills with me and created some dog tracking information systems. I am the limiting factor in my success.

    So.... what are you good at? That will guide you. Invent something. Write a software app that bikers MUST have. Think of something that drives you crazy about biking or with bikes and fix it. Ask everyone (bike types) you meet what they would like to see. If you write well, write about them. If you draw well, draw them. Make a cartoon strip around biking if you are funny. Work on something while at your current job until it is ready to launch.

    Follow trends. More people will be using bikes for practical reasons. That side of the biking world seems woefully far behind the biking for sport world as far as engineering advances. I think manufacturing will start to return to the U.S. People will want U.S. made bike items, track them and make a website.

    Work for a company that makes bikes. They still have people in sales, marketing, operations, accounting, etc. Work for a company like Yakima that makes bike accoutrements.

    You can make it happen.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amazonia View Post
    I disagree that if you started to do something around bikes you would lose your enjoyment of them. If it is your passion, go for it. I love dogs. I became a dog breeder after 25 years in corporate. Now, I am leveraging that into dog products, a dog website, etc. Every once in awhile I wish I were a regular pet owner with one dog but I have accumulated so much knowledge over the years, that I will never be out of the dog world. I brought my corporate skills with me and created some dog tracking information systems. I am the limiting factor in my success.

    So.... what are you good at? That will guide you. Invent something. Write a software app that bikers MUST have. Think of something that drives you crazy about biking or with bikes and fix it. Ask everyone (bike types) you meet what they would like to see. If you write well, write about them. If you draw well, draw them. Make a cartoon strip around biking if you are funny. Work on something while at your current job until it is ready to launch.

    Follow trends. More people will be using bikes for practical reasons. That side of the biking world seems woefully far behind the biking for sport world as far as engineering advances. I think manufacturing will start to return to the U.S. People will want U.S. made bike items, track them and make a website.

    Work for a company that makes bikes. They still have people in sales, marketing, operations, accounting, etc. Work for a company like Yakima that makes bike accoutrements.

    You can make it happen.
    ^^This is overall great advice.

    Except for thinking that manufacturing will return to the US. We have the world's highest corporate income tax, among other taxes; and everything in this country is severely over-regulated. You'd have to be crazy to start a business here today. If OP should want to manufacture something, do what the big boys have done...move to Asia. The US is going to crash- and it will take even successful businesses with it. Several people whom I know who were self-employed or who owned small businesses have already bailed, due to the Obamacare nonsense. -And it's just going to get worse- not better.

    (Interesting perspective about the dogs- I am also a devoted dog-lover [I stop and pet and give biscuits to dogs along the routes I ride!]- but breeding dogs would be the last thing in the world I'd want to do. IMO, it would be like someone who loves kids having 19 kids. Quality is sacrificed for quantity. So many dogs being euthanized every day in this country, the last thing I'd want to do is bring even more into the situation.)

  22. #22
    Senior Member spectastic's Avatar
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    what does Obamacare have to do with small businesses?
    5/20

  23. #23
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    What does any of this talk about US have to do with anything? The OP is Canadian.

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    Last bike swap I went to had many vendors selling their handmade wares. Jewelry, hand sewn hats and gloves, leather bags, all kinds of bike related stuff. Do they make good money, probably not. But I like the small economy, sole proprietor, independents. Also several frame builders were their. A guy that paints bikes. If you don't try, you will never know.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
    what does Obamacare have to do with small businesses?
    LOL! Ignorance is bliss....

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    What does any of this talk about US have to do with anything? The OP is Canadian.
    They are already at the point to which we are now getting. (O-K, eh? )



    Quote Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
    Last bike swap I went to had many vendors selling their handmade wares. Jewelry, hand sewn hats and gloves, leather bags, all kinds of bike related stuff. Do they make good money, probably not. But I like the small economy, sole proprietor, independents. Also several frame builders were their. A guy that paints bikes. If you don't try, you will never know.
    This is true. And because of things like economy of scale; and the fact that some guy working out of his garage can often fly under the radar, in the long-run, the micro-business will often fare better; as well as offering the flexibility to try different things and find just the right niche without having a lot of assets tied-up in one the pursuit of one particular plan which must be rigidly adhered to.

    When I first started out as a teen and in my twenties, it seemed that all of my peers were more financially successful than I- but I consoled myself knowing that I was doing what I wanted and had more freedom and was happy doing what I was doing. As the years went by though, it seemed that I at least equaled- or in many ways surpassed them- not necessarily because I earned more money, but because of things like being able to minimize my tax burden and practicing disciplines like living debt-free. I didn't buy a home till I was in my late 30's...but I paid it off in 5 years- while many of my peers were buying in their 20's....but still didn't have their homes paid-off by the time they were 45- Some even having taken 2nd mortgages, and then losing their homes due to the dot-com crash or loss of their jobs/real estate bubble, etc.

    In the end, it's about lifestyle and doing what you enjoy (and for me, that includes being able to live in the sticks far from any city; and avoidance of corporate culture and not having to compromise principles). You spend a significant part of your life working- so make sure you enjoy what you do and the lifestyle that it necessitates- because that is largely your life- and there are no do-overs. We only pass this way once; life is short; time is our most precious commodity. I see so many people today who do everything for the supposed benefits it will bring in the future- trouble is, they are selling the present for a tomorrow which never seems to come.

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