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  1. #1
    killing time
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    working with bikes for a living

    i was just wondering if anyone here actually works with bikes for a living and what kind of degrees/experience they have. i'm currently pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering and i'm hoping to somehow make cycling a big part of my life. any experience, ideas, comments, suggestions? just trying to get an idea of what people are doing. thanks a lot!

  2. #2
    Geriatric Member 48x16's Avatar
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    I work fulltime for a mountaineering company and part time as a wrench. I feel like the two go well together (outdoorsy type ****) and I am content. I have a mild interest in building custom frames which I may pursue some day. I really can't speak for anything involving designing frames/engineering type **** though.

  3. #3
    ambassador of good will *new*guy's Avatar
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    I applied for an Art Director position w/ Specialized once... does that count for anything?

  4. #4
    dc pirate, 4evah. chimblysweep's Avatar
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    I work days in the labor movement, and 15 hrs/week in a bike shop. I actually really enjoy my time at the shop and I love the employee discount (ka-ching!). But I'd be lying if I didn't admit to feelin pangs of jealousy when the messers pass me when I'm walking out to get lunch in my stoopid suits.

    Actually, the main thing keeping me from quitting this nonsense to messer is the health insurance bit-- I checked and since I have a nasty health history, decent coverage would cost me a ton.

  5. #5
    some dude jayrooney's Avatar
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    The big guys like cannondale and specialized are always looking for engineers etc.
    They've got job postings on their site all the time.
    http://www.cannondale.com/company/jobs/en_index.html

    they're looking for a suspension design engineer right now.
    Cannondale Bicycle Corporation is in need of a design engineer to join our Research and Development group in Bethel, CT.* Duties include developing suspension dampers from conception to production.* The ideal candidate will have strong Pro Engineer skills, a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, and in-depth knowledge of suspension assemblies.* Candidate should be self-motivated and have the ability to handle several concurrent projects.* Knowledge of Finite Element Analysis is desired.

  6. #6
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    I'm a grad student right now and a part-time salesman and grease-monkey in a shop. I do school 3 days a work, work three days a week, and rest on Sunday. It's a good life. The employee discount is the way to go. As far as degrees go, I have plenty already and more on the way, but nothing to do with bikes. Everything I know, I've leared from people who've done this longer than I have, and care about their work. Pick it up that way, and add your training to it, you should have a good start.

  7. #7
    hateful little monkey jim-bob's Avatar
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    I spent about eight years in bike shops, as wrench, salesman, manager, whatever was necessary. Then I moved on to doing 'art' for a living (yeah, that's a laugh).

    I miss the bike shop sometimes, but I really like not having to have roommates anymore.

  8. #8
    Easy like Sunday morning white lobster's Avatar
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    I worked in shops for years and then, after several completely un-bike-related years in graduate school, I wound up right back in the bike industry, except on the supplier side this time. I do miss wrenching in the shop, mostly since it's the only thing I really feel competent at.

    One problem with the bike biz is that there tends to be a lot of employee recycling, and it can be tough to land a job unless you've worked in the industry before. Be persistent, and get a job at a bike shop in the meantime. A mechanical engineer who also has lots of shop wrench experience will be a tempting candidate.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by brendanmcgrath
    i was just wondering if anyone here actually works with bikes for a living and what kind of degrees/experience they have. i'm currently pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering and i'm hoping to somehow make cycling a big part of my life. any experience, ideas, comments, suggestions? just trying to get an idea of what people are doing. thanks a lot!
    I work in the CNC shop at Serotta. Cycling is a huge part of my life, and working in the industry is very rewarding. I will preface my comments by saying that you should by all means get your degree, but that it will not replace the need for hands-on, non-academic experience. We get quite a few engineering grads that come in for interviews, but none of them have - in the words of the venerable N. Dynamite - "skills". You will do yourself a lot of good in the long run if you work for a year or two (or more), on the production floor. Trying to get by on hourly wages may not sound like the most logical step after graduating with an engineering degree, but I assure you, it will pay off. Working for a small builder is advantageous, because you will learn about every aspect of framebuilding, and it is all under one roof. Working at the big companies is sometimes better financially, but that is about it.
    I hope this is helpful.

    PS. I worked at a shop for seven years, and my major was math.

  10. #10
    All Things Go s2sxiii's Avatar
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    I work at TWO bike shops right now, very minor mechanical stuff, mostly sales. 6 days a week. Also, i graduated law school on friday. I take the bar in july.

  11. #11
    legalize bikes
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    full time mechanic. was nearly an electrical engineer, 1.5 semesters away from graduating before dropping out. a lot happier as a wrench than my brief stint interning as an engineer and being a student. ill probably regret dropping out someday, but for now im happy and thats what counts.

  12. #12
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    Legalize_it I run into two kinds of engineers in my biz, those who are burned out, and (a small minority) those who have found some way to become self-employed and use some of their school-taught engineering skills, but are mostly self-taught (engineering school diploma only is a "license to learn" about real-world engineering). So don't feel bad!

  13. #13
    legalize bikes
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    wow, thanks a lot lilhinault. that makes me feel pretty good because i do plan to become self-employed someday.

  14. #14
    BIG RING Bikeophile's Avatar
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    As an engineer, perhaps you can design the next great bike, hub, crank, frame, etc...

  15. #15
    killing time
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    wow, thanks a lot guys. legalize it, that's exactly whats happening to me although i do know i'll stick it out. the couple of places that i've interned at i just can't see myself dedicating 30 years of my life to. has anyone heard of seven cycles? it's in watertown ma.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by brendanmcgrath
    has anyone heard of seven cycles? it's in watertown ma.
    Seven Cycles is HOTT! Try to get a job there, then maybe you can build your own ti frame....

  17. #17
    Senior Member DiegoFrogs's Avatar
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    That's one of the issues that I have right now... most of the "get her done" people that I know in industry aren't formally educated, because engineers 40 years ago didn't have to go to school. They do now, though. Generally, however, the people who come up with concepts for things who can think about physical phenomena in a conceptually abstract manner. I think it's a good thing to have a fair balance of both of those tucked away in your pannier.

    I've personally gone from studying Architecture for 2 years, to Civil Engineering for 2 years, to math and general engineering with a focus on materials in the past year, switching schools in the process and having many jobs. I've just about "seen it all," and I'm only 3 credits from graduating. That being said, I'll be thrilled to get any challenging job... It doesn't have to be with Cannondale (whose engineering offices are actually fairly local to me), or with bicycles, or even in an engineering field.

    Many college graduates with degrees in things end up transplanted into other fields, or using their degrees for jobs that require "any degree." This probably happens primarily because of the availability of jobs. That being said, I'll take anything I can get.

  18. #18
    Proshpero jnbacon's Avatar
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    Istanbul_Tea has posted answers to his frame builders questionaire from many well-known frame builders. http://istanbultea.typepad.com/large...builders_.html A good overview of perspectives on frame building as a job.

  19. #19
    members only crust & crumb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnbacon
    Istanbul_Tea has posted answers to his frame builders questionaire from many well-known frame builders. http://istanbultea.typepad.com/large...builders_.html A good overview of perspectives on frame building as a job.
    thank you for directing me toward such a wonderful resource with regards to fabrication. a good bit insightful for the prospective frame builder.
    "Fixed gear ain't all tight pants and hand claps."

    -mc

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