Trade Your Bike Mechanic Skills For Cash
Do you know how to ride a bike? Can you grease the chain, realign a wheel, or tweak your brakes? Is your bike all tuned up for the season? If you can’t do these things yourself, it’s time to call a bike mechanic. Bike mechanics assess, repair, and maintain all types of bicycles. It’s a job that involves very little paperwork or desk time. Instead the job consists of working with customers and being hands on with road bikes, hybrids, BMX, mountain bikes, downhill bikes, and cruisers.
There are roughly 7,000 bike mechanics in the United States, but it is a job that is available all over the world.
Bikes are relatively simple machines that can be found delivering packages in big cities, cruising around college campuses, flipping through the air off of jumps, flying down roads, or whipping around mountain trails. Whatever you do with your bike, you need to maintain it to keep it in tip-top shape.
Bike mechanics spend their days doing tune ups, installing parts, making major repairs, and completing other general maintenance activities. Many bike enthusiasts can do the job on their own, but if you want to save yourself the headache, a bike mechanic can do it quickly and correctly.
Customers use bikes for recreation, exercise, and transportation. They will all bring bikes to mechanics for different reasons; maybe the bike has a flat tire, needs a new part installed, or clicks when changing gears. The bike mechanic must be able to communicate with the customers, determine the problem, and fix it. Working with clients is a huge part of this job and having a loyal customer base will keep a qualified bike mechanic very busy.
Bike mechanics use a variety of tools such as Allen keys, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, grease, and sweat to true wheels, patch tires, install pedals, adjust brakes, lubricate chains, position seat posts, clean bikes, replace rusty parts, or interchange components. Bikes can be highly customized with interchangeable, standardized frames, seats, drive train, derailleur, shocks, brakes, forks, or wheels. Bike mechanics need to be familiar with different bike brands on the market such as Specialized, RockShox, Shimano, Raleigh, or Trek to keep their customers happy.
The best way to become a bike mechanic is to start as a do-it-yourself bike enthusiast. Try to get a job at a bike shop as an apprentice. Consider attending bike mechanic school at United Bicycle Institute (UBI) in Oregon or Barnett Bicycle Institute (BBI) in Colorado.
Both UBI and BBI teach potential bike mechanics about a wide variety of topics to prepare students to be certified bike mechanics. Instruction covers fit, position, bracket overhauls, crank set replacement, brake adjustments, derailleur maintenance, cable/housing repair, flat tires, tube patches, pedal removal, spoke replacement, wheel alignment, handlebar tweaks, emergency repair, frame construction, torque, tools, lubricants, suspensions, and other important information. Sometimes the schools will even help qualified students find cool bike mechanic jobs.
Many bike mechanics start working at bike shops, cycling events, repair shops, outdoor stores, cycling teams, and manufacturers. Depending on location, some bike mechanics work year round. In other places, bike mechanics work seasonally (making it a great warm weather gig for a snow loving ski bum).
Cycling is human powered transportation at its finest and working with bikes opens doors around the world. Full time bike mechanics will make $25,000 to $40,000 per year or about minimum wage to $14 per hour. It’s a fantastic job if you have a passion for pedaling.
If you want to stay active in the cycling community, a job as a bike mechanic is a wonderful way to go.
Quick Facts About Bike Mechanic Work
Job Title: Bike Mechanic, Bicycle Mechanic
Office: Bike Shop
Description: Assess, repair, and maintain all types of bicycles
Certifications/Education: Bike Mechanic
Necessary Skills: Problem solving, Knowledge of bikes,
Potential Employers: Bike shops, cycling events, repair shops, outdoor stores, cycling teams, manufacturers
Pay: $25,000 to $40,000 per year, $7 to $14 per hour