Bicycle mechanics or bicycle technicians service and repair bicycles. Bicycle mechanics assemble new bicycles that are delivered to a bicycle shop and check bicycles before they go on sale. They service and repair bicycles brought in by customers and advise customers about bicycle repair options, parts and accessories.
They may be responsible for updating and maintaining stock such as bicycle parts and accessories and could be involved in sales work and general shop duties such as answering the phone, serving customers and opening the shop.
Bicycle mechanics use tools such as screwdrivers, Allen keys, hand drills, grinders, spanners and wheel- tuning equipment.
As bicycle technology continually evolves, bicycle mechanics need to keep up-to-date with new components, equipment and tools. New technology and components tend to start at the high end of the market, often on racing bikes, and then become more widespread. Recent examples of this are the popularity of front, rear or seat post suspension on mountain bikes (a decade ago these were found mainly on racing models), and the increased use of hydraulic disc brakes in the past few years. Generally bikes have become more technically challenging to work on, although an ability to perform traditional tasks such as adjusting gears and brakes is still needed in this work.
Bicycle mechanics need good mechanical and problem-solving skills to repair bicycles and good communication skills to deal with customers. They need organisational skills to manage their day, as they may have to combine mechanic duties with shop duties. Bicycle mechanics needs to know how bicycles work, and how to repair and service them. They also need to know about bicycle accessories and components.
Bicycle mechanics have contact with shop customers and may work unsupervised or as part of a team, including sales staff, depending on the size of the shop. They usually work regular retail hours, including weekends, indoors in a bicycle shop. However, some mechanics work long and irregular hours, especially in their own business or when on tour. Experienced bicycle mechanics may work for regional or national cycling teams on tour and then are likely to travel nationally and internationally.
Bicycles remain a popular form of leisure and transport and are more popular in summer, with a boost in bicycle sales around Christmas time. This often creates a seasonal demand for extra bicycle mechanics.
Most bicycle mechanics work for bicycle shops, often a large store or franchise. Previously the majority of bicycle mechanics were self-employed, concentrating on repair services. One of the results of this is that many bicycle mechanic positions now involve some degree of retail selling of bicycles.
How to Enter
Schooling & School Subjects
There are no specific educational requirements for a bicycle mechanic.
What to Study
Bicycle mechanics usually develop their skills on the job. They may also attend courses run by bicycle manufacturers. Presently, training is mainly on the job. Major bicycle or bicycle component manufacturers often offer training seminars to groups of bicycle mechanics, especially if new components or models are about to come onto the market. Bicycle mechanics working on racing bicycles usually gain experience and improve their abilities at races, sometimes by working in a voluntary capacity.
- bicycle shops
- bicycle or bicycle parts manufacturers
- cycling teams and clubs
- large stores
Any of the above potential employers.
- make an appointment to speak to a bicycle mechanic about this type of career
- try to obtain vacation work in a bicycle shop, as experience working part-time after school or at weekends at a local bicycle shop would be useful
- any job that involves working with mechanical equipment or in a retail environment would also be useful
- working with bicycle clubs or at regional race meets is often a way of gaining racing maintenance and repair experience