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Careers in the industry

Have you ever considered working as a mechanic for your career path? How about within an upcoming industry that is growing in popularity, excellent for the environment and plays a key part in dramatically improving people’s health?

Cycle mechanics build, repair and service all kinds of bikes, with excellent cash incentives and career prospects to travel and work all over the globe.

 

What to expect as a bicycle mechanic

As a bicycle mechanic, your top responsibilities include building, repairing and servicing all kinds of bikes. You’ll talk to your customers about any problems with their bicycle, identify the faults and decide what repairs are needed.

Day-to-day work as a cycle mechanic can include a range of responsibilities, such as:

  • building a bike from scratch to a customer's specification
  • identifying problems with a bike and discussing solutions with the customer
  • estimating the cost of repairs and giving quotes
  • carrying out services and safety checks
  • carrying out repairs and replacing parts
  • cleaning, degreasing and lubricating bike parts
  • giving advice to customers
  • ordering bike parts and logging stock
  • liaising with suppliers and dealers
  • attending cycling events to provide repairs and technical support
  • using various tools and chemicals, like cleaning products and greasing agents

 

What it takes

There are no set entry requirements to be a bicycle mechanic, but it’s certainly good to have some knowledge and experience of working with bikes. If you don’t already have this, you could start as a retail assistant in a bike shop and apply for a role as a trainee mechanic. In this case your employer may even pay for your training.

You'll find it useful to have recognised qualifications by studying for the technical cycle maintenance courses offered by Cytech. Cytech technical are a set of courses which encompass the basics of cycle mechanics right through to dealing with the most advanced and high-tech components and parts.

You could also get into this job through a bicycle mechanic intermediate apprenticeship such as the work-based training programme offered by Activate Cycle Academy. This apprenticeship is the only training scheme available that includes Cytech certification as part of the programme. On completion, the apprentice becomes a fully trained, professional master technician in bicycle mechanics.

Other skills that it would be useful to have as a bicycle mechanic include:

  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • analytical thinking skills
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to sell products and services
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • problem-solving skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

 

Where a bicycle mechanic career could lead you

As you begin to grow in experience, not only does this lead to a salary increase, but also the opportunity to progress in your career. With 3 to 5 years' experience you could become a head mechanic at the shop in which you work.

There is also the opportunity to become self-employed and set up a mobile bike mechanic business, or open your own shop. Information and advice on opening your own bike shop can be found on The Cycling Experts website.

As an experienced and qualified cycle mechanic you could also move into teaching other mechanics by working for companies such as Activate Learning Academy or PJCS, training providers for Cytech, the internationally recognised training and accreditation scheme for bicycle technicians.

 

Support the British racing team and explore the globe

Once you have gained some experienced there is then the opportunity to work for a large organisation such as British Cycling, who employ specialist mechanics working for the British racing team. British Cycling have exciting opportunities available at their headquarters at the HSBC UK National Cycling Centre in Manchester and in regional posts around the UK.

As a bicycle mechanic your skills are valued across the globe, meaning there are plenty of opportunities for working and living abroad. This includes working as the mechanic on cycling holidays for companies such as TDA Global Cycling, wherein you will tour beautiful locations and play a key part in giving customers the experience of a lifetime. Holiday destinations across Europe in locations such as the French Alps and Copenhagen place great value in a qualified and experienced cycle technician meaning that the possibilities for travel are endless.

 

Diversity in the cycling industry

Throughout the pandemic women took to two wheels in record numbers, encouraged by quiet roads and mandated daily exercise, while for the first time Black, Asian and minority ethnic Londoners were as likely to have cycled in the previous year as white Londoners (CyclingIndustry.News, 2022).

To encourage diversity in the industry further still, in the autumn both Bike for Good cycle charity in Glasgow and Broken Spoke Bike Coop in Oxford launched cycle mechanic training and mentorship programmes aimed at women and non-binary people. The schemes offered training and support for six people up to a level where they can pass the Cytech technical two qualification with Activate Cycle Academy.

Both Bike for Good, and Broken Spoke see its new mechanics programmes as about creating a larger pool of skilled mechanics with a broader diversity.

 

Case studies

Suzanne Read, Operations Manager at Activate Cycle Academy and Cytech Master Technician

Julian Thrasher, Head of Training for Shimano at Madison, Cytech Senior Technician and e-bike certified

Lee Niven, Business Owner of OTEC Bikes

William Angle, Business Owner of Trail Labs LLC

Graeme Freestone King, Director & Head Technician, Velotech Cycling Ltd