Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, September 7, 2018

Needed: bicycle mechanics

Because cycling is increasing in popularity as a form of exercise and recreation, as well as a means of transportation, specialized mechanics and repairers are in demand.

Although bicycle repairers/mechanics aren’t needed in massive amounts, the field is on the rise. It is the 12th-fastest growing career in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics.

Vacancies for bicycle repairers have increased by 23 percent since 2004, and the job is expected to continue to grow steadily through 2026. And although the median wage for a mechanic is a modest $28,390, about 25 percent of workers make between $35,000 and $40,000 a year, according to BLS.

An entrepreneurial-minded person can make much more by parlaying their knowledge and skills to a higher level of the bike industry such as corporate management or sales.

Mikey Spear, who works at Halcyon Bike Shop in Nashville 12South District, says he left a corporate job to pursue hands-on work with bicycles because the job suits him so well. He has worked for seven shops over 12 years in four states.

“I started riding bikes at an enthusiast level in 1998 and got my first job at a bike shop in the summer of 2006,” Spear recalls. “I went to school for ski area management and was in Salt Lake City for an internship. Bike shop jobs began as a summer job to fill the gaps in-between winter but later ended up taking over as my overall career path.

“I met my wife in Utah while she was in medical school, and I found that as we had to move every four years the one job that was always easy to walk into no matter where we landed was in the bike shops,” he adds. “I started assembling new bikes to go on the sales floor for minimum wage and over the years have worn the hats of salesperson, mechanic, service manager and store manager, and I worked in the corporate world for one of the biggest online cycling retailers.

“I moved to Nashville about a year ago and because my wife’s career gave us the financial stability to do whatever I wanted to do, I left the corporate world and went back to being a bike mechanic because it is my favorite job in the industry.”’

Spear says a bicycle repairer is “probably not going to be making regular contributions to their retirement account.” But he still recommends the job for the right person.

“There are good career paths than can come from working in a bike shop,” he continues. “One interesting thing about the bike industry is how connected it is on a national level. An entry level job at a shop can be a great way to network with people working in corporate positions with bicycle companies and distributors.

“I’ve seen a lot of people, myself included, use these connections in the bike shop to start careers inside the industry which typically pays much better. This usually means trading in your wrenches for endless Excel spreadsheets and business casual attire, but at the end of the day you can be making a good living working in an industry you love.”