Most mechanics learn bicycle repair by apprenticing in bicycle shops.
Bicycle mechanic certification can take many forms. Courses are available to certify mechanics in the basic assembly and repair of bicycles, wheel building, suspension adjustment and repair as well as race-day mechanics. A few organizations certify individuals in the bicycle mechanic trade, and even skilled uncertified bicycle mechanics easily obtain jobs in many cities across the United States.
Where Most Bicycle Mechanics Start
The vast majority of bicycle mechanics begin working in bicycle shops at a young age. Most shops start young mechanics on simple tasks, such as bicycle assembly, while more experienced mechanics oversee the work. Trial and error and on-the-job training are the two most common teaching methods in bicycle shops. Certain shops specialize in race machines or wheel building, but the skills needed to accomplish these tasks are frequently learned at the local BMX shop.
Though essentially a skilled trade usually learned through apprenticeship, two major bicycle certification institutes are recognized ub the cycling industry: United Bicycle Institute and Barnett Bicycle institute. BBI specializes in suspension service and wheel building and truing technique, according to the BBI website. UBI offers an array of courses from beginning mechanics to advanced bicycle frame building, according to the UBI site.
Both UBI and BBI offer many separate courses in bicycle mechanics, and both schools offer discounts for multiple course completions in a single block of time. BBI is unusual in that the course schedule is designed so individuals desiring a complete training and certification in bicycle mechanics can complete the entire course load in a single 26-day segment.
Race Mechanic Certification
Persons desiring to serve as mechanics for race events typically begin with certification as a USA Cycling race mechanic, according to the USA Cycling website. USA Cycling is a professional bicycle race sanctioning organization that has 2,500 events each year. Most professional race teams employ one or several race mechanics that travel and serve the team at every major event. USA Cycling mechanic certification helps to train mechanics seeking such a position.
First Aid and CPR Certification
USA Cycling encourages bicycle mechanics desiring to work as race mechanics to also obtain certification in first aid and CPR for the safety of themselves, other mechanics and the athletes. Race mechanics are often the first contact with injured athletes stopping at race pits or using support motorcycles. As such, race mechanics trained in first aid and CPR can potentially save the life of an injured rider.