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Interested in Working as a Bicycle Mechanic

  • 02-03-2017 2:31pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,468 ✭✭✭ DylanJM


    Thought some of the posters here might be able to give me some advice on how best to go about getting started as a cycle mechanic. I was a keen rider for a many years (MTB) but haven't ridden as much in the last few years. I would say I've got a fair bit of knowledge on bikes and have carried out a good bit of work on my own bikes (fitting cranks, forks, derailleurs, headsets, bleeding disc brakes, etc.) so I wouldn't be starting from scratch but there's some things I wouldn't have done like wheel building for example.

    What I am basically wondering is should I look at perhaps a trainee position in a bike shop to get started or should I be looking at getting a qualification first? I see there's a couple of places in Dublin offering a City & Guilds qualification.

    I also see VRQ qualifications in England mentioned quite a bit, they seem a bit more in depth but would also be a larger expense. It seems these may a superseded the City & Guilds qualifications (in England at least).

    8valve's thread was pretty useful

    http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=99307142

    If anyone could help out with some advice I'd be very grateful! I was thinking of calling into or emailing a few shops to see what exactly they would be looking for in a new mechanic but I thought there would be no harm in consulting boards as well.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 94 ✭✭ Techo


    I don't know if they take on trainees but Buckley Cycles in Athlone and Tullamore are advertising for mechanics. www.buckleycycles.ie


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,961 ✭✭✭ iwillhtfu


    I think wheelworx were looking for a trainee recently and afaik they're the official bike support for the upcoming Ironman 70.3 in Dublin so they might be looking for someone for this.

    I think rothar do bike courses also but iirc unlike the UK there is no recognised qualification for a bicycle mechanic here.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,165 ✭✭✭ easygoing39


    2 things to consider.
    1.The pay is rubbish.
    2.Alot of big bike shops work on Sundays,so you'll be working while everyone else is racing/riding theirs.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,468 ✭✭✭ DylanJM


    Thanks for the suggestions.

    I'm not too worried about the pay or working Sundays. I'm really just looking to do something that I'm actually interested in and passionate about, even if I just end up doing it for two or three years before moving on to something else.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,953 ✭✭✭ 07Lapierre


    Fair play Dylan... my first job was a bike mechanic. I did it for the summer and then on weekends when I was in college. During the summer I worked 6 days a week and then on Saturdays during the college term.

    It's long hours and I suspect poorly paid, but if your passionate about it, well they do say that if you are passionate about something you'll never work a day of your life!

    I got my job by calling into every bike shop and asking...it's a lot harder to say no to someone standing right in front of you than it is to simply reject or ignore an email.

    Best of luck with it!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,468 ✭✭✭ DylanJM


    Thanks for your input! I think I'll take the weekend to refresh my knowledge and then head around some of the city centre (Dublin) bike shops early next week.

    I'm starting to think doing the course with Rother may be a useful step even if the cert isn't actually required to work as a mechanic. 8valve was was pretty positive about in his thread and at the end of the day it can only improve my chances.
    07Lapierre wrote: »
    Fair play Dylan... my first job was a bike mechanic. I did it for the summer and then on weekends when I was in college. During the summer I worked 6 days a week and then on Saturdays during the college term.

    It's long hours and I suspect poorly paid, but if your passionate about it, well they do say that if you are passionate about something you'll never work a day of your life!

    I got my job by calling into every bike shop and asking...it's a lot harder to say no to someone standing right in front of you than it is to simply reject or ignore an email.

    Best of luck with it!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,882 terrydel


    You seem to have the right attitude so good luck with it.
    I work in IT as a software developer, its well paid but I just have no love for it, and the constant demand on my brain to keep learning is actually demoralising. Keeping up with the speed of change is the hardest part of it. Im not a natural at it, so everything I have to really work at. I would love to get into a job that in some way had a cycling component to it, Lord knows what but as a career change thats something I'd look to, so I can work at something I actually enjoy. So doing those rothar courses appeals to me and hopefully I'll do them at the end of the summer.


  • Registered Users Posts: 173 ✭✭ Juan More Time


    The cycle retail business in Ireland has become a massive success story, with venture capitalists now investing heavily in all manner of boutique style high end bike shops, It's possible for a good knowledgeable bicycle mechanic to earn a pretty decent living...

    Most of the plum jobs in the industry are snapped up by ex racing cyclists, guys who have raced for years who's faces are well known and who have paid their dues..

    If you aren't a well known ex racer it's still possible to get a job, but you really have to know your stuff and be able to work at a commercially viable pace....ie be able to pull a new bicycle from it's shipping carton and make sure the thing safe to be ridden by a potential buyer in fifteen minutes.. Bike shops are in the business of selling bicycles... this is where the money is..

    The repair side of things is equally important though, ie being able to fit new brake and gear cables, brake pads, adjust derailleur's, true wheels, while giving the endless flow of new customers estimates on how much of their cash will be required to restore their bicycle to working order...and woe betide you if you should underestimate the cost of the repairs when they come to collect their pride and joy a few days later...:eek:


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,364 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    The cycle retail business in Ireland has become a massive success story, with venture capitalists now investing heavily in all manner of boutique style high end bike shops
    any examples?


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,695 ✭✭✭ Pinch Flat


    www.cycleways.com (Dublin) looking for staff - sales I think. Saw it flashing up on a facebook feed.

    I know of someone who made the move from finance to bikes (no mechanics specifically) but by all accounts seems happy. Probably a big drop in salary, but doing something you love.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,468 ✭✭✭ DylanJM


    Pinch Flat wrote: »
    www.cycleways.com (Dublin) looking for staff - sales I think. Saw it flashing up on a facebook feed.

    I know of someone who made the move from finance to bikes (no mechanics specifically) but by all accounts seems happy. Probably a big drop in salary, but doing something you love.

    Brilliant, thank you. I'll actually be passing there later on so I'll drop in. It's not a mechanic position by the looks of things but perhaps starting in the sales end of things might be a good way in.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 85 ✭✭✭ InTheAttic


    terrydel wrote: »
    You seem to have the right attitude so good luck with it.
    I work in IT as a software developer, its well paid but I just have no love for it, and the constant demand on my brain to keep learning is actually demoralising. Keeping up with the speed of change is the hardest part of it. Im not a natural at it, so everything I have to really work at. I would love to get into a job that in some way had a cycling component to it, Lord knows what but as a career change thats something I'd look to, so I can work at something I actually enjoy. So doing those rothar courses appeals to me and hopefully I'll do them at the end of the summer.

    +1

    I like dev but it's the working corporate environment which is so utterly toxic on the brain.

    Would love to work on bikes for a living :)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,882 terrydel


    InTheAttic wrote: »
    +1

    I like dev but it's the working corporate environment which is so utterly toxic on the brain.

    Would love to work on bikes for a living :)

    Corporate world is horrible, totally agree. Personally I am finding the constant need to learn new technologies harder and harder as I get older.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,246 Hungrycol


    InTheAttic wrote: »
    +1

    Would love to work on bikes for a living :)

    Me too but I would be afraid a hobby turns into work and I would lose interest. It still means 9-5 and weekend work and still means dealing with the insane and increasingly stupid public, make sales targets, fix punctures 80% of the time, etc. I would say those rose tinted glasses of perception vs reality would go pretty quickly.


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,364 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    Hungrycol wrote: »
    dealing with the insane and increasingly stupid public
    'fix my bike which i've clearly left out in the rain for the last two years for the €20 i'm going to assume a bike service should cost'


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 27,836 ✭✭✭✭ ThisRegard


    terrydel wrote: »
    Corporate world is horrible, totally agree. Personally I am finding the constant need to learn new technologies harder and harder as I get older.

    Harder, or just not motivated to do so?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,468 ✭✭✭ DylanJM


    Thanks again for this. Have a trial day tomorrow so hopefully it goes well. A few nerves but the good kind I think. Looking forward to it!
    Pinch Flat wrote: »
    www.cycleways.com (Dublin) looking for staff - sales I think. Saw it flashing up on a facebook feed.

    I know of someone who made the move from finance to bikes (no mechanics specifically) but by all accounts seems happy. Probably a big drop in salary, but doing something you love.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,132 ✭✭✭✭ Lemming


    Best of luck tomorrow Dylan. As an FYI, there are a few places (mostly dotted around the south of England) offering courses aimed at various levels of skill for everything ranging from basic bike maintenance, to DI setup & maintenance certification, and wheel building (which is what caught my eye too as a useful skill to have). Some of it's day courses, some longer and I suspect from vague recollections city & guilds being mentioned for some of it like the fork & DI stuff. I'll have dig up some of the links later if interested.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,132 ✭✭✭✭ Lemming


    Ok, more than I remembered, and more scattered about the UK than centered around the south coast of England. Mileage varies as to what is offered although more than a few places do the "please contact us for training for MTB hydraulic/suspension/advanced wheel building" shiz.

    For example;
    There's dozens of courses covering different content and appealing to different groups (home enthusiast/pro/etc.) spread across the UK, a lot of them offering City & Guilds qualifications. I just did a google for 'cycle maintenance courses'.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,468 ✭✭✭ DylanJM


    Trial day done. Mixed the good with the bad I think. Improved as the day went on and definitely started to find my feet a bit towards the end. I've got to call back on Monday to see if it goes any further. If anything I think it has shown me that I'm definitely still more inclined towards the mechanic end of things than the retail but still a very useful experience.

    To the unfortunate woman who rang inquiring about a bike service only to end up with me explaining things terribly, I'm sorry :o


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,003 ✭✭✭ route66


    DylanJM wrote: »
    Trial day done. Mixed the good with the bad I think. Improved as the day went on and definitely started to find my feet a bit towards the end. I've got to call back on Monday to see if it goes any further. If anything I think it has shown me that I'm definitely still more inclined towards the mechanic end of things than the retail but still a very useful experience.

    To the unfortunate woman who rang inquiring about a bike service only to end up with me explaining things terribly, I'm sorry :o

    Dunno if it's still open:
    Facebook Link to job in Fitzcycles


    We've another full-time position up for grabs here at FitzCycles.ie!!
    There's a healthy mixture of sales and mechanical work in the role - the successful candidate will be well rewarded and will become a core part of our crew in the months and years ahead.
    Retail/mechanical experience is certainly preferable and a love of bikes is essential - the ideal candidate will be available to work on a full-time basis (Mon-Fri) as soon as possible and will be given full training in all areas in the months ahead.
    Consideration will also be given to suitable candidates who are only available on a part-time basis during the week.
    Please email all CV's and as much detail about your good self as possible to [email protected].


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,695 ✭✭✭ Pinch Flat


    DylanJM wrote: »
    Trial day done. Mixed the good with the bad I think. Improved as the day went on and definitely started to find my feet a bit towards the end. I've got to call back on Monday to see if it goes any further. If anything I think it has shown me that I'm definitely still more inclined towards the mechanic end of things than the retail but still a very useful experience.

    To the unfortunate woman who rang inquiring about a bike service only to end up with me explaining things terribly, I'm sorry :o

    I've a set of SPD pedals and bottom bracket that needs changing if you're looking for some on the job experience :pac:.

    All joking aside, fair play and I hope it works out for you.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,468 ✭✭✭ DylanJM


    Pinch Flat wrote: »
    I've a set of SPD pedals and bottom bracket that needs changing if you're looking for some on the job experience :pac:.

    All joking aside, fair play and I hope it works out for you.

    Cheers!

    Just wanna say thanks to you and everyone else who has helped out in this thread. Ye are all a credit to the forum and I really appreciate all the help I received since opening the thread!


  • Registered Users Posts: 676 ✭✭✭ steamsey


    Reviving an old thread to see if the OP kept up with the bike mechanic job? Interested to hear what happened.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,468 ✭✭✭ DylanJM


    steamsey wrote: »
    Reviving an old thread to see if the OP kept up with the bike mechanic job? Interested to hear what happened.


    Blast from the past!

    The bicycle mechanic career never went beyond the trial shift in the bike shop I'm afraid! I ended up getting an interview shortly after with a delivery company (the one with the brown vans) and ended up doing that for 18 months or so. Getting any income again took priority so I had to take it. I did spend a fair amount of time pedaling a three wheeled cargo e-bike around so vaguely bike related I guess? It was actually a very enjoyable job tbh and I'm glad I took it. Ended up leaving that to do a couple of years in a financial services company sitting behind a desk which I did not enjoy especially with wfh (that's putting it mildly!). I'm a free agent again currently so who knows maybe I'll look into being a mechanic again?!

    As a result of this thread I did end up getting back into mountain biking again so it wasn't all for naught!


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,961 ✭✭✭ iwillhtfu


    DylanJM wrote: »
    Blast from the past!

    The bicycle mechanic career never went beyond the trial shift in the bike shop I'm afraid! I ended up getting an interview shortly after with a delivery company (the one with the brown vans) and ended up doing that for 18 months or so. Getting any income again took priority so I had to take it. I did spend a fair amount of time pedaling a three wheeled cargo e-bike around so vaguely bike related I guess? It was actually a very enjoyable job tbh and I'm glad I took it. Ended up leaving that to do a couple of years in a financial services company sitting behind a desk which I did not enjoy especially with wfh (that's putting it mildly!). I'm a free agent again currently so who knows maybe I'll look into being a mechanic again?!

    As a result of this thread I did end up getting back into mountain biking again so it wasn't all for naught!

    Well possibly a good time to be both of the things you currently are. The gap are currently looking for a bike mechanic so there might be some room for possibly a junior role.


  • Registered Users Posts: 809 ✭✭✭ 8valve


    With the current tsunami of bikes sold over the last 12 months, I think every bike mechanic is gonna be kept busy keeping them on the road for the foreseeable future......either that or there's gonna be a flood of hybrids with fe(kall miles on them on adverts and donedeal!


  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 42,364 Mod ✭✭✭✭ magicbastarder


    my german colleague was telling me his friend who runs a bike shop has taken a 16 year old apprentice on, and he's a wizard - can already do a very good job of building a wheel for example.
    and the kid has no interest in cycling; he just likes working on bikes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 676 ✭✭✭ steamsey


    Thanks for the update - and glad you back into the mountain biking.

    I knew all types of biking had gone nuclear since early 2020 but I was talking to one bike shop owner in Dublin last week who had 3 staff pre-COVID, he now has 10+. I got a call from them at 8.30pm last night to say my forks are ready for collection. I've never heard from a bike shop at that hour before.

    Another place said the forks would require too much of their time to fix...in the past it would have been OK but it'll be a week or so. Now, it's sorry, no time, not worth it - we could fix 5 other bikes in that time. No good to me but fair enough I suppose.

    I can see a lot of the people dropping their bikes in are for a general service so while bike ownership has gone through the roof, the repair skills (or interest) are not there so the shops will continue to be busy at least with all that. You can see that the heavy discounts online have fallen away in the last year or so, so the shops seem to be doing well on any parts they have in stock too.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,414 ✭✭✭ fat bloke


    Fair play OP. With current waiting times for service slots it's a good time to be offering bike mechanic services!


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