It's hard not to notice the increase of bicycles being used for all of their various purposes these days. Bicycles are being used more and more for commuting to work, exercise, recreation and a way to reduce one's carbon footprint. Bike riding is a means of transportation that is very common in other countries around the world and is starting to catch on in the United States. Not only are everyday people buying bikes but there are new bike sharing companies popping up and corporate campuses providing bikes for employees to travel from one side of the campus to the other.
With so many bikes on the road that also means there is an opportunity for Bike Mechanics to stay busy. If you're passionate about riding bikes and want to work within the business, a job as a Bike Mechanic is a great choice. In general there are no educational requirements to be a Bicycle Mechanic although most employers will prefer candidates who have a high school diploma. There are a couple well known training programs around the country that do offer Bicycle Mechanic training such as Barnett Bicycle Institute (BBI) and United Bicycle Institute (UBI). These programs will not guarantee you a job but if you're completely new to bicycle maintenance and repair, these programs can be a good way to gain some knowledge.
There are also many books on the subject that provide valuable information. Another option, and maybe the best training you could receive, is to work in a bike shop or for a bicycle manufacturer. This would give you the opportunity to work alongside a veteran Bike Mechanic and learn the trade hands on. Even if you're the one selling bikes or parts, you may have an opportunity to assist the mechanic to learn the ins and outs of the jobs.
Working as a Bicycle Mechanic, you will likely perform many different tasks. It may be your responsibility to determine the issue when customers bring in bikes that are not working properly. After a thorough inspection, you will need to identify the damaged or worn part(s) that needs repair. In many cases you will need to document the problem and provide an estimate for the total repair costs. You may be building brand new bikes that will be on display and performing basic safety checks to ensure the bike assembly was done correctly and the bike performs as it should.
To be truly effective in your position there are some other skills that will benefit. As you will work with a variety of tools during the bike building or repair process, a solid understanding of the proper tools to use and how to correctly use them will be important. It's important to familiarize yourself with types of bikes, as you may be asked to on work on a variety of different bikes such as road bikes, mountain bikes, tandem bikes, BMX bikes. Good interpersonal communication skills will be necessary since you will likely be assisting customers. This is a hand on job that may require a lot of standing for most of the day so good dexterity and ability to stand and lift bikes is necessary.
Bike Mechanics can make from $20,000 to $40,000 a year depending on different factors such as location and employer. There are many options for work in this business too. Local bike shops will often employ Bike Mechanics. Sporting Goods stores and even bike manufacturers also hire for Bike Mechanic positions. If you're lucky you may even find a position on a professional biking team where you would be responsible for the ongoing maintenance and repair of team bikes. While you're probably not going to become a millionaire working as a Bicycle Mechanic it does have its rewards. You are helping others in their quest for recreation, exercise and transportation.