Getting Started as a Race Mechanic
Maybe you want to get closer to your cycling hero or assist a friend who races. Maybe you are looking for a way to participate in racing without actually competing. Maybe you work in a shop and are looking to expand your skills or seek to do the things that you saw a mechanic do on a European cycling video. What ever the reason, we can help you get started and then help you get the experience you seek.
1st – Knowledge
To begin, you need to have some general knowledge of bicycles. You could read a book or listen to friends but the best way for a mechanic to learn is by actually working on bikes. Thus, we recommend one of the following bicycle oriented schools:
- United Bicycle Institute located in Southern Oregon & Portland
- Barnett Bicycle Institute located in central Colorado
- Local Park Tool Schools run by your local bike shop
- For those of you living in Canada, contact the Bicycle Trade Association of Canada for information on their certification programs.
- In the UK, check out Cycle Systems Academy.
2nd – Practice
Now that you know how a bike works you’ll need to find a way to keep your skills honed. A great way to do this is by finding a position as a mechanic at your local bike shop. Your best bet is to find a shop that works primarily on lower cost or department store bikes. This will help you learn how to “make things work” rather than just replacing worn products.
3rd – Understanding
Once you have the basics down and understand how to make it work better, you should gather an understanding of the rules of bicycle racing and how they apply to the mechanic. The best place for this is the Bill Woodul Licensing Clinic that occurs at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
4th – Experience
All right, we are off to a great start. You know how to work on bikes, you know when you can work on them in a race and now it is time to get out there and work. The best and quickest way to get experience is by volunteering.
5th – Marketing
Ready for more? Thinking about how to use this knowledge, understanding and experience? Here are some ideas:
- rent your services to races and teams
- start your own technical service program
- get hired by a professional racing team
6th – Keep It Up
The last thing we recommend is that you keep up with new bike technology, keep up with changes in racing rules and help bring others into the trade.