Being a bicycle mechanic is a long process but can be one of the most fulfilling career paths you can take if you’re passionate about the bicycle. As a mechanic, you can work at a bicycle shop or in your own shop.
To become a Bicycle Mechanic, you need to acquire technical knowledge about maintenance and repair for all types of bikes, gain skills and get enough experience. You also need to obtain a certification for more job opportunities. It takes time and effort to become a professional bicycle mechanic, but if you dedicate yourself to it, you can do it.
In this article, I’ll go through the steps to become a bicycle mechanic, the necessary skills, educational requirements, and salaries.
How To Be A Bicycle Mechanic
Start With What You Have
In the beginning, try to learn as much as you can from your own bike. Try to think like a bicycle mechanic. Learn all about your bicycle parts and even try to do some basic bike repair and maintenance tasks such as cleaning and lubing your bike chain, fixing a flat, reattaching a slipped chain, and replacing chains and cassettes. If you are a guy who has some basic knowledge of bikes and regularly does much of your own basic bike maintenance, you can move on to the next step. Reading mechanic books can be a useful way to increase your knowledge.
If you don’t have a bike to start with or are not confident enough to learn all the basic things on your own, you can take a Basic Bike Repair Course. These classes will equip you with the fundamentals of bicycle repair and maintenance. These courses are often available in the continuing education department. The long courses usually include bicycle assembly and professional bicycle repair while short courses are more directed at specific topics such as seat and handlebar positions, tire replacement, and brake adjustments.
Learn from an experienced bicycle technician
After playing around with your own bikes, you’ll need more technical knowledge on bike repair and maintenance. That’s where you’ll need to find someone who’s already working in the bike industry. That can be your friends or local shop owners. Like Jessica, in this post, she became a pro bike mechanic with her own experience and knowledge gained from her friend – a shop owner.
Initially, you will work as an assistant to an experienced professional and learn hands-on skills from him. By learning from an actual bicycle mechanic, you can gain holistic experience to understand more about the bike industry.
After gaining enough experience in repairing bikes and ways to manage a bike shop, you are now an entry-level technician. This time, you can perform tune-ups and assemble bikes on your own.
Get a high school diploma or GED
Since most bike shops and bike retail stores require that bike technician have a high school diploma or GED, you’ll need to have a high school graduation or a General Education Development (GED) qualification.
Earning a Certification and Become a Certified Bike Mechanic
Certification isn’t required for working as a bike mechanic, but you will want to have it to have more opportunities to land the job you want and be competitive with those who have more years of experience. There is a handful of places that offer certification in this field.
You can be certified by the United Bicycle Institute (UBI) in Ashland, Oregon, or the Barnett Bicycle Institute (BBI). Attending a cycle institution is an excellent way to hone your skills while interacting with like-minded peers and mentors.
Certification through the UBI needs your completion of a training program. UBI requires at least one year of experience, or your completion of UBI’s basic repair course, to be accepted into the training program. Certification through the BBI requires at least three months of experience and completion of an exam.
To earn certification, you will have to pass both the written and practical tests. If you fail to enroll in the UBI or the BBI, you can consider the Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association.
Looking for job offers
Once you completed all these steps, you are now a skilled and qualified bicycle mechanic. Meaning, now you are well-prepared and ready to apply for a real job as a bicycle mechanic. Once you get established, you can start your own shop.
Bicycle mechanic skills and interests
To become a bicycle mechanic, you would need:
- a keen interest in cycling and bikes
- a recognized cycle mechanic qualification or equivalent work experience
- strong manual skills
- knowledge of a variety of bike types and a wide range of cycling equipment
- the ability to recognize faulty equipment and to carry out maintenance and repair.
- Earn a diploma
- Complete a basic bike repair course
- Get experience in a bicycle shop
- Earn a certification
Day-to-day tasks as a bicycle mechanic
- assembles new bicycles that are delivered to the shop
- build a new bike to a customer’s specification
- identify problems with a bike and advises customers about bicycle repair options, parts, and accessories
- estimate the cost of repairs and give quotes
- carry out service and safety check
- carry out repairs, maintenance tasks, and replace parts
- order bike parts and keep a log of stock
- maybe involved in sales work and general shop duties such as taking bookings for
- repairs and process paperwork, liaise with suppliers and dealers
- attend cycling events to provide repairs and technical support
Bicycle Mechanic Salaries in the United States
Cycling continues to grow in popularity and bicycles get increasingly more complex and expensive. As a result, the demand for bicycle mechanics has skyrocketed and more employers often seek trained and qualified bike technicians. According to the BLS, the average annual income for a Bicycle Mechanic is $30,330 per year. Salaries vary from $28,013 to $58,368 per year.