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Frame building/mechanic schools- Trying to find a career

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Frame building/mechanic schools- Trying to find a career

Old 06-22-13, 09:39 AM
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Frame building/mechanic schools- Trying to find a career

Since being laid off back in early May I've been searching with what do do with my life. What kind of career would bring me enjoyment and a decent living. I used to work at a shop that built aviation refueling tanker trucks. I'm fairly mechanical , having worked in the paint shop prepping and painting trucks/parts, applying decals and what not for the past year and half. Took welding classes at a local vocational school as well. Have also done a little brazing as well.

I've always been into fitness and being active and biking being my favorite outdoor fitness activity. Since my welding classes I've had thoughts of building my own mtn bike and maybe being a custom bike builder or mechanic . With my background in paint and welding it got me thinking and doing some searching. I've come across UBI (United Bicycle Institute) and Barnett Bicycle Institute online for bike schools. UBI has frame building with brazing and tig welding classes as well as assembly and BBI just has mechanical assembly classes.

So I guess my inquiry is whether going to these schools would really help in finding a job somewhere and can you make a decent living do this. I'm open to relocating, my favorite locations being Texas, Ok and Tennessee. Thanks for the help.
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Old 06-22-13, 11:35 AM
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You don't need to go to school to be a bicycle mechanic. Bicycles are very simple machines; and most repair and maintenance tasks performed on them can easily be figured out by anyone with any mechanical aptitude- and the few things that may require a bit more finesse, like derailleur set-up and adjustment, can be learned by reading the manual/reading a book/watching Youtube.

Most school graduates (in any field) usually enter the job market as an apprentice-type person, for low pay, and have to do all the dirty-work.

Get a few bikes and take 'em apart and put 'em back together...then go and talk yourself into a mechanic job, where you will know what you are doing, and have the confidence not to work for $9 an hour; and where you won't have to spend good money for a diploma which entitles you to start at the bottom. Going to school for bicycle mechanics would be like going to school for window-washing or picture-hanging...... The money you'd spend on going to school would be better spent on a nice set of tools.

Can you make a living? In areas where there is a big cycling culture- usually bigger cities. In places like Portland, San Frnacisco, New York, you could make quite good money...
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Old 06-22-13, 11:39 AM
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I suggest that you find a job working in a LBS for a time to determine if you can make a decent living wage that way before 'investing' in either of those programs...
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Old 06-22-13, 11:53 AM
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I worked in the bicycle industry for almost 20 years in various positions (retail, mechanic, manufacturing) and while the work is enjoyable for the most part, it's unlikely you'll get rich doing it. I left the bicycle industry after my second child was born -- to hard to make a decent living and still have time for the family.
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Old 06-23-13, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
I worked in the bicycle industry for almost 20 years in various positions (retail, mechanic, manufacturing) and while the work is enjoyable for the most part, it's unlikely you'll get rich doing it. I left the bicycle industry after my second child was born -- to hard to make a decent living and still have time for the family.
Ditto here. I spent 12 years in the bicycle business (retail, wholesale, information services) and I don't think there's a lot of people making a living wage in it. There's a lot of people willing to live on starvation money and you'll be competing with them.

FWIW: a quick glance at stats shows that your area's unemployment is several points below mine (Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA). I would keep looking locally for a job that pays the bills and keep working on bikes as a hobby. That's what I did, and I think I'm happier for it.
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Old 06-25-13, 08:40 AM
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Here's a worthwhile read on realistic lifestyle expectations while making a living in the bicycle industry from someone who has done it.
(And is still doing it.)
https://www.wheelfanatyk.blogspot.ca/...lightness.html
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