Cycling as a hobby is one thing but being a bike mechanic is another. It would take you into another realm of biking where you don’t ride on a bike but repair and maintain it.
Of course, as a cyclist, you have some knowledge about how to make your bike keep running. You can do simple repair activities like changing a flat tire, oiling the chain, or repairing a broken spoke. These are some simple tasks which you can execute all by yourself.
However, with other challenging and arduous tasks, a bike mechanic will always come in handy. But, have you ever wondered how to become a bike mechanic? Being a bike mechanic means learning a set of skills and acquiring technical knowledge about bike purchases, servicing, repair and accessories.
You also need to obtain a certification to make it your long-term career. If you ever want to become one, we will walk you through the different steps you can take to be a bike mechanic.
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What is a Bike Mechanic?
Bike mechanics are the doctors of your bicycle. They work at manufacturing warehouses, sporting shops, department stores, and privately-owned bike shops. Bike mechanics are the ones who answer the questions about your bike concerns.
These individuals are also the people you go to in case you want to purchase a new bike. With their expertise, they can give you advice on the type of bike you need for your lifestyle. They work with a variety of customers and help them with their bikes on a day-to-day basis.
They can diagnose the issues of your bike, assess the damage, and provide technical expertise on how to repair bikes. Bike mechanics can fix defective and damaged bike parts or upgrade the bike as you desire. They ensure that your bicycle fits your skill level, frequency, and physiological condition.
What are the Skills Needed to Become a Bike Mechanic?
To become a bicycle mechanic and land a job, here are some of the skills you need to acquire:
- Assembling and disassembling of different types of bikes
- Building wheels
- Replacement of crank arm
- Changing of derailleurs
- Overhauling of headset
- Changing bike brakes, brake levers, and shifter levers
- Changing bike cables
- Adjusting bike screws
- Working on center brakes
- Tuning up bicycles
These technical skills are not instantly acquired. You have to go bike mechanics training and gain experience to be able to learn these skills. To build these skills and become a bike mechanic, here are the things you should do:
- Earn a diploma
- Complete a basic bike repair course
- Get experience in a bicycle shop
- Earn a certification
- Continue to pursue your education
Steps on How to Become a Bike Mechanic
Step 1: Earn a diploma
You do not need a college degree to become a bike mechanic. You have to obtain a high school diploma to start your career in fixing bikes. Most bike shops and bike retail stores require at least a high school diploma for the position. You can also get a General Education Development (GED) certificate to be a bike mechanic. It is crucial to take shop classes or introductory mechanics to be employed as a bike mechanic.
Step 2: Finish Basic Repair Course
It is critical to gain technical know-how about bicycles. A basic repair course will equip you with the essentials on fixing and maintaining a bike. It also provides you with the theoretical foundations of different parts of a bicycle and how you can best repair them.
Some community colleges have available classes for bike mechanics; these courses are available in the continuing education department. Courses can include bicycle assembly and tuning or even professional bicycle repair.
Upon completing the training, you will learn the right seat and handlebar positions, brake adjustments, and tire replacement. If you want to progress over time, you can find other courses within your community that suits you
Step 3: Gain experience and work in a bike shop
Fundamental bike courses may provide you practical exercise and hands-on training on how to repair bikes properly, but the best way to hone your skills is working in a bicycle shop for a certain amount of time.
By working in a bike shop, you can obtain holistic experience to understand more about the industry. The on-the-job training you get will have a positive impact on your career long term.
Initially, you will start as helpers to actual bicycle technicians. You will assist them with the intricacies of repairing and fixing a bike. By simply observing, you can learn a lot about the proper way to maintain a bike shop.
After gaining enough experience, you are now ready to hold an entry-level position of being a technician. This time, you can perform tune-ups and bike assembly on your own. The knowledge and techniques you gained from being an assistant are helpful to the next position you will be holding.
Step 4: Earn a certification
Earning a certification is also a great way to hone and develop your bike repair skills. Although it isn’t necessary for some bicycle mechanic qualifications, it is significantly helpful. Moreover, having bike certifications will also open new opportunities to level up your professional biking career.
Obtaining certification can give you a competitive edge and open opportunities to land the job you want. It also signifies that you already underwent rigorous training to improve your mechanic skills. Certifications will make you marketable. In addition, it is a great way to start with if you plan to open a shop in the future.
There are plenty of bike mechanics schools that offer training and certifications to aspiring bike mechanics. You can consider the United Bicycle Institute or the Barnett Bicycle Institute in the United States. Either way, you have to complete the required hours of training to get your certificate.
Some organizations will require a year of experience to be accepted into the program, while others may need your completion of a basic repair course. You will also have to complete both oral and written exams before receiving your certificate.
If you fail to enroll in United Bicycle Institute or the Barnett Bicycle Institute, you can be certified by the Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association. In the certification process, you need to pass both the written and performance test.
In the performance test, you will be asked to display your skills in wheel installation, work on sizing and cable housing, brake adjustments, and customizing the positions of seat or bike handlebars. Also, you will need to pay a corresponding fee to get certified.
Step 5: Continue to pursue your education
Once you completed the most challenging steps of being a bike mechanic, you are now a certified and skilled bike technician. Meaning, you are well-prepared and ready to take on more responsibilities and functions in your workplace.
However, it must not just stop there; you must also need the right motivation to level up and continuously improve your skills and technical know-how. I recommend that you always stay up to date with the current innovations in the cycling world.
It is essential to know new technologies and techniques while obtaining fresh sets of skills to learn more to be a bike mechanic. It helps you to achieve your full potential. You can do this by subscribing to magazines and bike publications that regularly provide information about the current innovations in the cycling world.
You can also sign-up for seminars and workshops that are directly related to the bicycle industry.
Being a bike mechanic is a long process. You need to acquire the right knowledge, gain skills, and get the necessary experience. It will take time. However, if you dedicate yourself to it, you can become a professional bike mechanic.
It is a great skill and knowledge investment once you complete the necessary process to learn to be a bicycle mechanic. In the long run, you can make it a lifetime career. Additionally, you can have a stable source of income. It is a good foundation when you plan to start a bike shop business.
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