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Good mechanics...

Old 01-24-21, 11:01 AM
  #26  
cyccommute 
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Originally Posted by Bike Gremlin View Post
Working in a bike-shop isn't about fixing bikes, it's about making the customers happy.
Sure: for most people, you need to be reasonably competent at fixing bikes, and do a reasonably good job. But that's just one side of the story.

Being able to listen (to the customers) and pay attention to (mechanical) details helps.
But "people skills" in general help a lot (if you deal with customers, like most mechanics inevitably do).

Some 2 years ago, a question on this forum inspired me to write "Bicycle mechanicís job Ė my thoughts".
It pretty much sums up my thoughts & experience on the question then asked, and is related to this one.
Thatís what I really like about my co-op. Iím not there to make a customer happy. Iím there to help people fix bikes. Although I do a lot of wrench turning, the people who come to us are supposed to do their own work.
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Old 01-25-21, 12:50 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Thatís what I really like about my co-op. Iím not there to make a customer happy. Iím there to help people fix bikes. Although I do a lot of wrench turning, the people who come to us are supposed to do their own work.
I understand. Though it could be argued that any work with people boils down to making them happy. Co-op is making people like me (and, I suppose, you) happy - those who like fixing their own bikes.
And, just like any work - it should be a two-way thing. If you aren't happy, if you don't enjoy it, find something you do enjoy (well, unless that pays very poorly in modern capitalism - then you're screwed! ).
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Old 01-25-21, 04:08 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by justinschulz9 View Post
there are easy concepts like changing a tire or truing a wheel...
but what about tough concepts. where do most of you guys get the hands on experience for say a hydraulic brake job? or adjusting bluetooth shifters?
it would be nice if those grey beards were around more often for us younger guys learning deep in our passions.
Qualified mechanic, tick. Degree in engineering and design, tick. Many years working on designing, developing and repairing, tick. Grey beard, tick.

My advice - be interested, talk to people, never be too proud to work on anything that looks crap, and never trust serial multi-quoters

I owe a deep ocean of gratitude to a mechanic called Fred Barrington, to whom no task seemed impossible once broken down into small enough parts, always explained things to clients in ways they could understand, and kept on smiling no matter how much the foreman went yabbitty yabbitty yabbit.
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Old 01-25-21, 09:10 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by easyupbug View Post
... interpersonal skills, loves problem solving, takes initiative, detail oriented and diligent...
Reading down the responses before I typed mine. No need to re-invent here. ^ this sums it up pretty well.

I might add that the person must have strong spatial and mechanical/functional aptitudes as well. You might call this the ability to "enter the mind of the designer". If one can see how something was designed and how it's intended to work, then it's simpler to see what isn't doing what it was intended to do Those are 80% of the problem solving skills.
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Old 01-25-21, 10:05 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Bike Gremlin View Post
I understand. Though it could be argued that any work with people boils down to making them happy. Co-op is making people like me (and, I suppose, you) happy - those who like fixing their own bikes.
And, just like any work - it should be a two-way thing. If you aren't happy, if you don't enjoy it, find something you do enjoy (well, unless that pays very poorly in modern capitalism - then you're screwed! ).
I think you missed my point. I am happy helping people work on bikes. Iím happy teaching people how to work on their bikes. But the point is that they are working on their bikes. The perfection and quality of the work is what they put into it. Iím also happy that donít have to deal with customers who have unreasonable demands. If someone comes into the co-op and starts to demand that I fix their bikes, I can ignore them or ask them to leave or send them over to the paid mechanics. Iíve never really had to do that because the other paid staff make it clear that the bike owner is the one who is going to do the work, not the volunteers.
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Old 01-25-21, 10:19 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Geepig View Post
Qualified mechanic, tick. Degree in engineering and design, tick. Many years working on designing, developing and repairing, tick. Grey beard, tick.
A description that probably fits a fairly high number of posters here on the Bike Forums. Not the thread starters, mind you, but a lot of responders.

My advice - be interested, talk to people, never be too proud to work on anything that looks crap,
Although I hate Big Box stores with a volcanic passion, I will work on them and get them working better than when they were built in the factory. They are still crap but at least they work better.

I owe a deep ocean of gratitude to a mechanic called Fred Barrington, to whom no task seemed impossible once broken down into small enough parts, always explained things to clients in ways they could understand, and kept on smiling no matter how much the foreman went yabbitty yabbitty yabbit.
Cool story.

and never trust serial multi-quoters
Hum? I seem to recall someone recently something about breaking something down into small parts that are easy to understand. Frankly, I tend to listen to the content of what people say rather then the manner in which the present it.
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Gold Fever Three days of dirt in Colorado
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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Old 01-25-21, 12:38 PM
  #32  
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For me it's a couple of things.

1) Communication. Do they take the time to talk to you and ask multiple questions about the bike and how you are going to use it? Nothing worse then having something "Fixed" only to have to come back the next day and hear "Well I noticed that, but you didn't say you wanted that part fixed".

2) Is the shop clean and tidy? If they can keep their shop clean then they are going to be able to pay attention to details on your bike. It's not always true but I feel like it's a good sign that the Mechanic is a Professional that cares about his work.

3) A Mechanic is only as good as their tools. I'm not saying they need the best and most expensive but at least have the right tools for the job. If you walk into a shop and they are using a air hammer and a punch to remove a freewheel you might wanna run away.

If you want to become a Bike Mechanic the make it or break it is how fast you can repair something properly. I think taking a course and learning hands on is the fastest way to gain that skill. There's lots of people who can watch a video and learn a repair and think they are uber Mechanics. (myself included). So if it takes you 2 hours to complete a repair a Pro can do in 45mins. Well it's all billable hours and you are not going to make it.
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Old 01-25-21, 12:47 PM
  #33  
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The best bike mechanic- Mechanical aptitude, good deductive reasoning abilities, a willingness to learn, and the ability to read instructions.

The best bike shop mechanic- all of the above plus ability to talk customers through what they're doing and why they're doing it, have a good repartee with customers.
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Old 01-25-21, 01:22 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by coffeesnob View Post
why would a guy with all those qualifications work in a bike shop?

The shop discount?


Ha ha... good observation - they don't. A freshly minted professional engineer who had done co-op terms in a fab shop would have a starting salary north of $100k. There are a handful of these folks working in the bike industry, at the big brands in the areas of design & quality control. But the auto biz would eventually scoop up the best of these, with shorter hours and better pay.


Bike Forums here has some deep talent and knowledge, with some very qualified mechanics. Retirees with technical credentials who also have the time and patience to tinker and actually read the instructions. And some who volunteer and big volume bike co-ops.


My experience as mechanic/ instructor at a co-op has taught me a lot beyond the technical aspects of the business. The best thing I've learned is careful listening and non-incriminating and gentle structured cross-examination of the bike owner. So being able to pose questions that get to the heart of the bike problem. My best learning from the instruction side is how to teach in such a way that gets the repair done, imparts the most knowledge, and leaves the student feeling that they are a genius and they want to work on bikes for the rest of their lives. I consider it a success if we sign-up an eager new volunteer every shift.
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Old 01-25-21, 06:07 PM
  #35  
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if OP is interested in learning fast in a structured way there is UBI https://bikeschool.com/

also some areas offer park tool school https://www.parktool.com/park-tool-school

I got back into bikes and wrenching on my own some years back. I had basics bike skills (pack a bearing, adjust brakes and deraillers) but learned a ton more by doing, looking things up and getting input from Bike Forums. Learned more helping at a bike charity and working on neighbors bikes..... especially what a BSO is and how great thumshifters are for simple bikes
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