Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Get a Job!

Old 07-24-14, 11:57 AM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 648

Bikes: Canyon, Bowman & Colnago

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 132 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 39 Times in 20 Posts
Get a Job!

Hi,

I've often wondered: How does one go about getting a job as a bike mechanic if one isn't already a bike mechanic; or how does one get one's foot in the door to learn to be a bike mechanic?

At the moment, I work a mind-numbing office gig, and it has occurred to me that I am not getting any younger (I'm 39) and I don't want to spend the remainder of my days miserable, bored, and loathing my job. I really would like to pursue something I'm interested in (dare I say, "passionate" about) irrespective of the pay. Having said that, I do enjoy building and working on my bikes and my friends bikes. I like troubleshooting, working with people, and tinkering with things (I used to be a carpenter in my 20's). And, it goes without saying, I really LOVE bikes...at times I have more fun taking them apart and putting them back together than actually riding them. Obviously I have ton, and TONS, more to learn to be a competent/fast mechanic, but I would love to have the opportunity to learn more...

Any suggestions on how to convince a bike shop owner that a pencil/paper-pusher has what it takes to work in a bike shop, even starting out as a cashier/clerk or salesperson?

Thanks.
mrblue is offline  
Old 07-24-14, 12:53 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,075
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
One of the LBS near me is always (at least it seems by their emails) looking for people to "join their team". Not sure if these are unpaid or paid internships or where you'd start, but you might look into something similar. Also if there's a co-op nearby, they're always looking for volunteers.
KenshiBiker is offline  
Old 07-24-14, 01:16 PM
  #3  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,355 Times in 862 Posts
One fellow at the LBS retired from the Austin TX FD, & wanted to do something else..
so went to the Bike mechanics school in Ashland Oregon.

then He bought his own tools . that is a plus.. (owning your own tools is required for car dealer's mechanics)

Bike shops don't pay much, the add on of it + from another pension income helps.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 07-24-14, 05:31 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: boston, ma
Posts: 2,896
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
you either start from the bottom with no experience or you go to bike school to get your foot in the door. getting that break with no experience is hard but if you show promise and good diagnostic skills then you will move up easy. to get it in with no experience you can volunteer at a co op or try to make it in a shop assembling bikes
reptilezs is offline  
Old 07-24-14, 06:13 PM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 18,045

Bikes: Stewart S&S coupled sport tourer, Stewart Sunday light, Stewart Commuting, Stewart Touring, Co Motion Tandem, Stewart 3-Spd, Stewart Track, Fuji Finest, Mongoose Tomac ATB, GT Bravado ATB, JCP Folder, Stewart 650B ATB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4191 Post(s)
Liked 3,830 Times in 2,291 Posts
Beware that working your passion is different then dreaming it. Also the pay scale is pretty poor (as was mentioned) so do your life style and retirement math. I always viewed attitude, learning ability and personal skills were more important then mechanical ones. the longer you work in a shop the more the latter will improve BUT it's the first three that will be why you're still there learning about the mechanical stuff. Andy.
Andrew R Stewart is offline  
Old 07-24-14, 07:21 PM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 210
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
After a couple of years of watching my various projects roll in and out of the store, this spring my local co-op offered me a job. Wish I could have taken it (I work in an accounting office and can feel myself growing increasingly dull minute by minute) but couldn't afford the hit in my paycheck. Plus, I like working on bikes and sometimes turning a hobby into your job sucks some of the fun out.
debit is offline  
Old 07-24-14, 09:07 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
chriskmurray's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Colorado Springs
Posts: 1,134

Bikes: Borealis Echo, Ground Up Designs Ti Cross bike, Xtracycle, GT mod trials bike, pixie race machine

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
It is a great industry to work in if you are serious about it. There are A LOT of perks but ask yourself if you are able to live on just above minimum wage starting out and not getting a whole lot higher than that for quite a while. Also depending on where you live, you may have to deal with greatly reduced hours in the winter time so plan for that.

It might be that we have a flood of bike school kids in our town because there is a school here but everyone I have talked to that runs or manages shops locally are very close to calling going to the local bike school with no prior experience disqualifying. We have had nothing but problems with most people that have gone through bike schools. With the right attitude that can certainly be avoided but most come straight out of school with a massive amount of confidence but no experience to back it and when the work gets tricky things get ugly because they are too cocky to ask for help and end up doing something like putting a fork back together with parts that were "not needed" or breaking a SRAM shifter by trying to take it apart to change a cable.

I believe the best way to get a job at a bike shop is to become a familiar face, let them know your interest and even offer to volunteer a bit cleaning or building bikes. If you get a job at the shop most places will have you start by doing not much more than flats and building bikes for quite a while so they can get a good feel for the work you do and as they know your abilities better start giving you more in depth jobs.

The bike industry really is a great place to spend a career if you do not mind a lot of work for not a ton of money but in return getting to meet some amazing people and spend your day around bicycles. I tried to work in my field after college and was miserable, found a job in a bike shop for about 4 years, me and my wife decided to have a baby so I found a "real" job again, hated it as well, moved across the country to a very bike friendly city and have been back in the bike industry since. I couldn't be happier but there are big sacrifices following your passion and it is only up to you if that is worth it to you.
chriskmurray is offline  
Old 07-25-14, 10:28 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
bike_forever's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Here is the IRONY... You will have less time to ride once you begin working in a bike shop. You will need to cater to the retail public.
bike_forever is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
mazdaspeed
Bicycle Mechanics
11
06-23-11 09:41 AM
dayday82
Road Cycling
31
12-24-10 09:38 AM
swapmeet
Bicycle Mechanics
6
09-21-10 07:45 AM
slipknot0129
Bicycle Mechanics
14
07-28-10 10:28 AM
nahh
Road Cycling
25
06-06-10 08:10 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.