There are approximately 12,200 bicycle mechanics working in the United States, and they are employed nationwide. They may work in local bicycle shops, for large sporting goods stores, or for bicycle manufacturers. Resorts and some retail stores also hire people with these skills. Bicycle mechanics may also be required to repair other types of equipment or serve as sales clerks.
If you are a beginner with no experience, start out by contacting local bike shops or bike manufacturers to find one that is willing to hire trainees. Search the Internet for a list of bicycle dealers in your area. Bike dealers may also be willing to provide on-the-job training. In addition, the want ads of your local newspaper and employment Web sites are a good source of information on job openings. Also, try joining a local bicycling club that will allow you to network with other enthusiasts who may know of open positions.
People who have learned bike repair and have accumulated the tools they need may be able to do repair work independently, perhaps using ads and referrals, as well as their own Web sites and social media, to gradually build a small business.
There are few opportunities for advancement for bicycle mechanics unless they combine their interest in bikes with another activity. For example, after a few years on the job, they may be able to start managing the bike shop where they work. Some mechanics move on to jobs with the bicycle department of a large department or sporting goods store and from there move up to department manager or regional sales manager. Another possibility is to become a sales representative for a bicycle manufacturer or distributor.
Some bicycle mechanics are merely working their way through college. Others want to own and operate their own bike stores. If they gain enough experience and save or borrow enough money to cover start-up costs, they may be able to establish a successful new business. College courses in business, management, and accounting are recommended for aspiring shop owners. Bicycle businesses tend to do best in progressive communities where there are publicly funded bike paths and people actively look for alternatives to America's automobile culture.
Tips for Entry
Use social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to learn about job openings.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Become certified in order to show employers that you've met the highest standards established by your industry.
Land an entry-level job at a bike shop to learn about the field and make valuable industry contacts.