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School project. need help!

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3/29/2010 1:55 PM

I am doing a career project on becoming a bike mechanic. If anyone can help me on these questions it would be lots of help, Thank you. (My teacher came up with these questions for the whole class, i know some of there questions cant really be answered.)

What is the history of this career?

What education do you need to perform this career?

What skills do you need to have?

In order to be promoted, what education do you need to have?

What is the discription of the entry level job?

What are the hours you will work?

What kind of vacation time can you expect?

What is the Salary that you will make?

What physical stress is there assosiated with the job?

What emotional stress is there associated with the job?

What kinds of people will you work with?

What are some dangers associated with this career?

What is the future outlook for this job?

What is the possible career path you will take?

What is the top job on the career ladder?

What Training/ Qualifications do you need to get the top job?

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3/29/2010 3:27 PM

Not too sure about the history but as long as there have been bikes there have been mechanics.

Education isn't a major part of it, a strong background in cycling is a bigger asset than education. Best mechanic I've ever met never went to school for it but grew up racing bikes.

Skills, good hand eye coordination, manual dexterity. Mechanical aptitude. Tons of people can do a backflip but very few can properly tune a front derailleur.

Once again, education not a big thing. Learning from your superiors, always listen to your head mechanic (if he's good) things like that are gonna get you up the ladder faster than a piece of paper.

Entry level jobs vary, some shops will put you to work building bikes out of boxes. Others will make you the coffee boy. From my experience more shops will get you to build first rather than anything else.

As a mechanic you can expect longs hours in the summer and (depending on where you are) less hours in the winter. If you're in Cali you might see a steady stream all year round, whereas in B.C. I'm run off my feet from March to late September and I surf youtube the other months.

Vacations depend on your employer. Salaried employee's might have two weeks paid, others might have one. Suppose it depends on the laws in your particular country/county/province/state etc.

Nobody gets rich in the bike shops. Average salary up in Canada is about 30 to 40 g a year depending on experience and seniority. Plan on a rich wife if you want to make a career out of it.

Physical (and emotional) stresses will be long hours, dealing with crappy customers who don't know a spoke from a chopstick, and lack of time to ride.

You will work with some of the craziest people possible. From roadie technogeeks to hippy commuters to time obsessed DHer's. They're mostly all good guys in the end however.

As in any workplace you're going to have a bit of danger. Bicycle mechanics is technically a trade so on any given day you could be pulling apart a Fox 40 in the morning and grinding a rack fitting in the afternoon. Getting contaminated oil in your skin or a shard of metal in your eye both aren't the best things to happen to you.

Gas is getting more expensive (particularly up here) so more and more people are riding bikes. And breaking them. You get to fix them.

I've gone from a bike builder, to bike mechanic, to sales and receivables, to assistant manager. From bottom of the ladder to second rung. One day I hope to own a shop, or go work for one of the big companies. You can do a lot.

Top job as a mechanic would be head mechanic, with a number of people under you. Perhaps even owning a store.

Later on you might want some education in business or marketing.

Hope that helps.

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3/29/2010 3:30 PM
Edited Date/Time: 10/4/2011 5:11 PM

Ive worked as a mechanic on and off for a fair chunk of my life.
Im not now ,but ill give it a shot.

What is the history of this career?
? I spose there has been mechanics since bikes became a main stream piece of transportation.

What education do you need to perform this career?
A back ground in basic mechanics works out great. anything from Cars to Motos can help.

What skills do you need to have?
Problem solving.
working with specialised tools.
ability to listen to a customer with very loose descriptions of what is wrong and draw conclusions from that.
You have to work in tight time frames. customers want there bikes back fast (usually)
People skills.



In order to be promoted, what education do you need to have?
often there are Skills courses offered up by many distributors and organisations.
you must keep on top of new product knowledge.


What is the discription of the entry level job?
Bike Builder. you often start as a bike builder and slowley work up to a junior mechanic.

What are the hours you will work?
the hours of the store . I would work 10am-6pm 5 days a week.


What kind of vacation time can you expect?
not a lot. 2 weeks a year at best.

What is the Salary that you will make?
I was not on a salary.

What physical stress is there assosiated with the job?
lifting heavy bikes in and out of the stands.
dealing with boxed bikes.
Wailing on seazed pedals with a power bar

What emotional stress is there associated with the job?
some times customers can get very fired up.
you must be able to listen throught their rubbish and take what you need to get the job done.


What kinds of people will you work with?
Bike people. People who love to ride. but often you will work with students who need summer jobs and dont care.

What are some dangers associated with this career?
Cuts ,bruises. nothing to serious. sometimes you work with some pretty heavy solvents.

What is the future outlook for this job?
Bicycling is a growing sport and hobby.
I would say there will be a constant need for educated mechanics.
What is the possible career path you will take?

What is the top job on the career ladder?
a Head Mechanic in a top shop.

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3/30/2010 8:29 AM

What is the history of this career?
-Bike Mechanics have always had grease in their finger nails, which will clash with top hats and tuxedos.

What education do you need to perform this career?
-Formal education for a bike mechanic is not necessary. However, good mentoring is absolutely essential. Formal education in any field will be a benefit to your life in general, but without a mentor, you will not find your way.

What skills do you need to have?
-Patience, tenacity, humility, curiosity, and mechanical aptitude.

In order to be promoted, what education do you need to have?
-Again, formal education for this position is not necessary, although it is helpful. As with most industries, promotion comes through who you know and timing.

What is the description of the entry level job?
-slime, mostly.

What are the hours you will work?
-40/week, if you're lucky

What kind of vacation time can you expect?
-The best kind, riding after work, or before work if you are tenacious.

What is the Salary that you will make?
-If you have to ask, you can't afford it.

What physical stress is there associated with the job?
-None, really. Unless you don't exercise, which is unlikely.

What emotional stress is there associated with the job?
-Sometimes you simply can't make that Kona sing. It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault!

What kinds of people will you work with?
-The best people in the world. By far the best part about working in the bicycle industry is the people you will meet and ride with--brilliant, daring social castoffs; dream-chasing luddites; sleep-deprived madmen; drunks; druggies; a-type x-racers; and other semi-conformists who never yawn or never say a common-place thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlights pop and everybody goes "Awwwww!"
(Note: the last part of that rambling comes from Kerouac's ON THE ROAD)

What are some dangers associated with this career?
-See above about roman candles.

What is the future outlook for this job?
-There is no future, only present.

What is the possible career path you will take?
-If you are lucky or wise, you will enjoy going to work every day.

What is the top job on the career ladder?
-No ladders here, only webs. But when the spider eats you, you will thank her.

What Training/ Qualifications do you need to get the top job?
-See above about spiders.

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3/30/2010 11:13 AM

RE: Education: Sure, any highschooler can learn to wrench on a bike... or kindergartner for that matter... Do you need a PhD in fluid physics or material science engineering to work at a bike shop? Nope, but think about the people actually designing new technologies and pushing the limits of what is possible on bikes today. Downhilling as we know it today was practically impossible even a few years ago, but now because of the incredible amount of technical work put in by industry leaders and innovators, people are boosting 50 foot canyon gaps and racing downhill faster than motocycles through terrain that is challenging to walk through.

Take a look at how far OCLV Carbon Fiber technology has come, or suspension, or wheels, think about things like ceramic bearings and hydraulic brake systems... You may not need four years of college and another 5 of graduate school to be an excellent mechanic, but if you're the one betting paid by SRAM or TREK to design new bike tech, a highschool diploma ain't gonna suffice. I know people in the industry who are literally nuclear physicists...

The summary? Stay in school. learn to wrench. ABSOLUTELY surround yourself with people you look up to, mentors are vital. If you want to do something with bike mech/tech that will allow you to buy a house someday AND afford a new DH rig every year, go to college, get a degree and find a company looking for bright, motivated and educated people who want to keep pushing biking into the future.

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