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How to learn Bicycle Repair

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How to learn Bicycle Repair

Old 07-16-16, 03:01 PM
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How to learn Bicycle Repair

So I'm sixteen and really into bicycles (like I feel like I've found my life calling), and at the same time I've been searching for career options, obsessed with the idea of starting a bicycle kitchen (or just a bike shop centered around commuting and upcycling) like in Los Angeles, and trying to save enough that I can be debt free (80% income toward bus/Van living, 20% spending cash) when I'm out of my Mom's house.
The problem is that if I want to salvage bicycle parts into functional bikes, or even just repair bikes in general, I'm realizing that the Internet isn't going to teach me everything I need to know.
I've thought about apprenticeships, but the nearest bike shop is a 45 minute ride away and an hour ride away from school and closes at 6- maybe on weekends?
Where do bike mechanics learn to fix bikes? Does everyone go to UBI? Are there other bike repair schools?
Sorry for sloppiness there's a lot to explain in this question
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Old 07-16-16, 04:23 PM
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How is your reading comprehension? Have you read anything from Sheldon Brown?

It's my experience that anyone can go to school for mechanics, but there's a lot more than just learning procedure.
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Old 07-16-16, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Cheddarpecker
How is your reading comprehension? Have you read anything from Sheldon Brown?

It's my experience that anyone can go to school for mechanics, but there's a lot more than just learning procedure.
Exactly. And I've looked at the website for some reference but it's worth a deeper look.
Is apprenticeship common is bicycle repair/building?
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Old 07-16-16, 04:39 PM
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It's kid stuff to me, but then I'm also not considering all of the high end stuff with which I have never had experience. Basics were covered by the age of ten just from necessity. I build engines, hydraulic pumps, etc now, but most of my knowledge was garnered through reading and practical application. I made a lot of mistakes, and still do often enough.

Apprenticeship is good to get experience, especially if someone doesn't mind paying for your screwups.
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Old 07-16-16, 04:43 PM
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Bike shops this time of year need people with your desire to assemble new bikes. From there it will grow.
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Old 07-16-16, 04:44 PM
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You want to make bike repair your profession? Flipping burgers at McD's pays better.....
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Old 07-16-16, 04:45 PM
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Valid point. When I get quotes at my LBS, I wonder how they keep the lights on.

I figure it's sacrifice. Lots of it.
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Old 07-17-16, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Cheddarpecker
Valid point. When I get quotes at my LBS, I wonder how they keep the lights on.

I figure it's sacrifice. Lots of it.
I agree. The money aint great. As far as learning, I'd try to get hired at a shop to assemble bikes as a previous poster mentioned. Also bear in mind, working on your own bikes and working at a shop can be two very different experiences. A hobby turned into a profession can sometimes ruin the hobby.
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Old 07-17-16, 08:40 AM
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Not sure of all of the details, but one of our area's LBS offer a several night course in bike repair and maintenance. The cost is $300, but you get a repair stand and the necessary tools. I think I'm going to try it. But I'm 67 years old with lots of time on my hands and the $300 won't cause me to miss a meal. I'm hoping to get enough knowledge to put drops on an old mountain bike of mine with all of the other necessary changes. Also, just so I can do my own maintenance. Right now, about all I can do is change a tire.
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Old 07-17-16, 09:36 AM
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Since the nearest LBS is so far away, maybe there is a co-op/kitchen that is closer that wouldn't mind a bit of extra help?

There's also virtual training through Park Tool and bicycletutor.
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Old 07-17-16, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by AlexCyclistRoch
You want to make bike repair your profession? Flipping burgers at McD's pays better.....
This.

And there's about a million bike co-ops in LA, most of which are volunteer based...so um, you're going to need startup money, and you'll never see a return on your investment.

Just because you're 16 doesn't mean you can't start now. If the nearest bike shop is an hour away, see if you can have a classroom or something at your school, and work on student's bikes now. Start a bike club or something. Bike maintenance isn't difficult if you have a bit common sense and access to youtube.
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Old 07-17-16, 11:31 AM
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In the mean time read Books , Library has them.


Actually get into the food service part that gets Tip Money from the Customers

Try for the poshest restaurant that will Hire You..

Bussing and dishwashing is able to Hire Minors.
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Old 07-17-16, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by no1mad
Since the nearest LBS is so far away, maybe there is a co-op/kitchen that is closer that wouldn't mind a bit of extra help?

There's also virtual training through Park Tool and bicycletutor.
I hadn't seen bicycle tutor before. That is really helpful.
I live in the Dallas Metroplex, so unfortunately the closest bike co-op is in Austin.
But someday that will change.
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Old 07-17-16, 02:16 PM
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Reading is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Once you understand basics, even assembling bikes at wal mart is good experience.

Well, maybe not good, but better than not.
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Old 07-17-16, 07:59 PM
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I was 16 when I got my first bike shop job. I gave up my job at a gas station for the bike shop. Pick a good shop that does a lot of repairs. You'll probably start out assembling kids bikes. Do it well. Come in early and stay late and watch the head mechanic(s). Ask lots of questions. Right out of the gate ask them to teach you how to true wheels.

There was no internet when I started, or Sheldon Brown site, so what I learned, I learned in a shop doing it. Assembling, tune-ups, overhauls, frame repair, building wheels, overhauling Sturmey Archer 3-speed hubs, you name it. Couple that with the year I spent working in the gas station helping the mechanic "Jack" change oil, do tune-ups, brake jobs, etc. and I learned a lot as a young teenager.

No, it doesn't pay a ton but it does have its perks and you're a teenager, right? If you get good at it you'll always be able to get a job (and make more money the better you get)...high school, college, summer jobs, etc. It is a skill and one that will serve you well for the rest of your life (and save you a bunch of money to). I'm in my late 50's and still love to work on my bikes (and car). I'm an IT professional by trade.

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