Bicycle Mechanic Training:
Learn How to Repair a BicycleCredit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bike_mechanic_at_a_local_bike_shop.jpg
If you're interested in learning about bicycle mechanic training, you're not alone. Bicycle travel is one of the up and coming means of transportation around the world. People in every country and in all walks of life ride them for exercise, for transportation, and for fun. Somebody has to take care of these lovely contraptions!
There are many schools that offer bicycle mechanic training, and there are many avenues available to you, should you want to make a career out of it. Above all a passion for cycling and all things related is important if you want to succeed.
This article will talk about bicycle mechanic school and what you can expect if you're looking to become a fully certified bike mechanic. There are lots of ways to get into it, and we'll talk about those paths. We'll also touch upon the various fields of expertise you can focus on once you're certified.
Let's get started!
What You'll Learn:
Bicycle Mechanic Training Schools
If you're planning to get into bicycle mechanic training programs and learn how to fix bicycles professionally, be prepared for an extensive learning curve. The more you know before you start your program, the better. There are many programs in larger communities and cities that teach the basics of bike repair, so take advantage of them if you can. (My local community center has free bike repair courses, for example.)
Don't feel like you have to know everything. Go in with an open mind and a willingness to learn. I was a bicycle mechanic for three years and I was always learning something new. There's a ton of technology out there and bicycle repair schools can't teach you everything. In fact, learning new designs and how they function is one of the ways it stays fresh.
You can expect to start out with the basics as you tackle your bicycle repair certification. You will learn the geometry of the bike and all the correct terminology and tools. You'll learn how to replace a punctured tube and straighten a wheel, how to lubricate everything and change grease, and how the transmission system works. Luckily, most modern bikes function similarly, so once you learn the basics you'll be very valuable to any bike shop as an employee!
Bicycle Mechanic Training Avenues:
Ways to Get Hired By a Bike ShopCredit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:U_Wash_bicycle_shop_02A.jpg
There are many ways you can get hired by a bicycle shop, and everyone has different experiences. There are a lot of professional bicycle certification courses out there, but I should emphasize this right away: you do not need a certificate to work in a shop. The one thing any bike shop will be interested in is repair experience.
To be hired at a bike shop, you'll be expected to be competent in three areas: bicycle repairs, building new bikes out of the box, and quality customer service. Any bicycle mechanic training program will equip you for all of these things, and anyone with all of these skills will be highly sought after.
Here are three potential avenues to get into a bike shop job:
Bicycle Mechanic Training Programs:
In these programs, you will learn the ins and outs of bicycle mechanic training. You can often find these programs at community colleges and at larger trade schools. These programs will ensure that you'll find paid work straight away (without having to mess around with volunteer work), and that you'll be well acquainted with the best practices and use of the proper tools.
Bicycle Mechanic Training Through Volunteer Positions:
Volunteering can be a tough thing when you're seeking paid work, but it's a great way to gain valuable experience. Many shops are seeking part time internship, so they'll happily train you in exchange for the extra manpower and customer help. Often they'll realize you're valuable to operations and offer a paid position once you're trained up.
Bicycle Mechanic Training at Home:
It is possible to learn how to build and fix bicycles at home, and it's a good option for the casual enthusiast turned pro star. This is the method I used to get trained, and it works! The internet has tons of resources on bicycle mechanic training and model specific information. You can buy an old broken down bike and fix it up in your free time. After a while, you'll be 'certified', or at least skilled enough to impress a local bike shop owner.
Bicycle Mechanic Training & Specialization:
Specialty Bicycle Repair Avenues
Once you know the basics, there are several very high demand areas of specific expertise in bicycle mechanic training programs. If you specialize, chances are you'll really be sought after by the big bike shops.
Building a bicycle wheel from scratch is a difficult thing. Getting the wheel straight, strong and true definitely requires some serious talent. If you train as a bicycle mechanic in this specific skill and get very good, you'll have more work than you know what to do with. Every bike shop I ever worked for wanted employees with this skill, and few had it. To become a wheel builder you need to be patient, meticulous and have tons of practice. Most people who learn how to repair a bicycle know the basics of wheel straightening, but building one from scratch is a whole different ball game!
Among the most complicated, sought after and highly skilled positions in the bike mechanic business, frame building is a tricky and impressive craft. Instead of getting your hands covered in grease and chain lube, you'll be dealing with a TIG welder and a frame jig. In my area there are several bicycle frame building courses available, and they are almost always fully enrolled. Consider frame building to be the pinnacle of bicycle mechanic training programs.
Bike Shop Management:
While there are lots of capable bike mechanics out there, one thing most shops are always missing is a talented bike shop manager. This specialty position requires a healthy dose of both bicycle mechanic training and expertise, along with a good knowledge of business practices and shop sense. A bike shop manager will be very well compensated if they know their stuff.
Bicycle Mechanic Schools and Training:
A Worthwhile Investment
All in all, no matter what avenue you choose, bicycle mechanic schools and training programs are valuable investments. No matter where you are on the planet, there will be bikes needing repair, and you'll have the training to do it. If nothing else, you'll be able to give your personal ride (and, most likely, all of your friend's too) a good tune up.