PBMA Board of Directors Highlights
Many folks I meet through the PBMA ask and wonder how I got here. I used to conduct a teaching session at the USA Cycling Bill Woodul Race Mechanics Clinic "career development", I showed a timeline resume and talked with those folks about the various things found within in... so at that time, everyone I encountered knew how I got to be there in front of them. For this I figured some folks might like a deeper look into what made me who I am.
I cut my teeth in the early 90's as a junior racer and a shop rat... I started by basically begging for a job in Tucson so I could afford to race my bicycle, even back then entry fees for a high school kid were really steep. Luckily my mom saw to it that cycling was a thing that kept me out of trouble and made sure I was able to get to races and still make the (passing) grades at school.
After about 10 years of working in the shop, racing in the US and abroad I was tired. Tired of being a mediocre racer and tired being maxed out of earning in the bicycle shop. I wasn't poorly paid but I didn't feel I was financially rewarded or gaining anything by staying there.
I quit with nothing lined up and no prospects. I put together a resume and started applying all over the place. I had a few interviews, some things were interesting, others not. I interviewed at Blockbuster Video (keep in mind at this time this was a Forbes Fortune 500 business owned by Viacom Entertainment with 9,000 "brick and mortar" retail locations). This interview was intense and with more than one person, something even the business classes in college didn't train me for. I didn't get hired on the spot and took at job at Dillards who I had also interviewed with and made me a job offer... The day I started at Dillards, Blockbuster called, I quit Dillards that day - what a horrible place to work (critical after 3 days of working in a mall, I know).
Some may be laughing a bit, other hopefully are wondering why... it's real simple. Blockbuster offered me a starting hourly position that paid me almost double what I earned as a manager of a pretty busy and high volume bicycle shop in little old Tucson Arizona, two weeks paid vacation, paid on-the-job training, a company matching 401k and a fairly flexible schedule, they were open from 10a to Midnight daily after all!.
I did real well there. I received some really good schedule management training which went right along with forecasting business, I learned how to read and write a budget, I learned people management and loss prevention. Over my 5-year history there I learned more than I did in any school, got paid really really well, managed 100's of people, fired probably just as many. I even made some lifelong friends.
For those still laughing:
When I left I was running up to 10 stores which had an average of 10 employees each and grossing a million dollars per location, this "district" as they called it was one of the most successful in the entire region of Arizona (and the western states)and if you do the math was simply cranking out rentals and video equipment sales.
Eventually my passion for cycling caught back up. I left Blockbuster with a pretty good package of compensation at a good time, a couple years later the store closing began, the writing was on the wall and I and others saw it coming. There were shops and other things that filled the financial void until I really got back into the bicycle world.
After a short stint in Phoenix working at a pretty high end shop which appreciated quality and qualified employees (oh yeah, during those 5-years outside the industry I kept my hands dirty with Mavic SSC supporting all the races around the USA, it was a perfect use of my paid vacation time!), I got a job at Cannondale, working on their photoshoot and driving a demo truck all around the USA supporting shops, events and athletes.
I worked with the Liquigas team and got to meet all those kids who became and are now superstars, I went on to work at USA Cycling in their Athletics Department, managing teams for PanAm and World Cup track events, going to Worlds and supporting our nation's elite athletes.
I left there to work for Specialized Bicycles in their Bicycle R&D Department which allowed me to again work with their elite athletes and teams, see some of the latest innovations and put my thinking skills to the test. My boss there (Mike McAndrews) challenged me all the time to do better and be better, the guy that runs the place did the same, I worked on his bikes and provided him feedback on the products the company was producing, talking about complex to simple things.
Cycling is my passion and my life, today I work for my own companies (yes, more than one) to make ends meet and support the mission of the PBMA. I do race and team support, I share my opinion with owners and managers. I reflect on all I've done and the 30 or so countries I've been lucky enough to visit.
I would not be here today without having left to get the things I wanted as a person, to become a manager, to understand how business and retail work. Some may laugh or snicker but the things I learned outside of our industry are the exact things that we need to start doing inside of our industry if we are going to survive the future. Blockbuster didn't adapt... they tried to, but it was 3 years too late.
I encourage you, if you made it this far, to join the PBMA and let us help you with the future!
DATA AND STATISTICS REGARDING BICYCLE SHOP DIVERSITY
The PBMA has conducted two surveys with questions around the diverse culture that makes up the workplace, anyone reading or viewing this page may reuse the information for non-profit purposes and with proper citation of the source.
These surveys were simply intended to gather some information. The PBMA has been criticized for not supporting diversity and for hosting a hostile environment on Facebook now titled "World Bicycle Mechanic Forum". In a group of 10,000 people, the loudest are always heard the most, perhaps it reflects poorly on us, but it is a valuable resource for many using it. When we see things happening that don't reflect a professional or proper image of cycling, we have a team of moderators in place that take necessary action as soon as possible.
To date the PBMA, in association with organizations such as CABDA, has been able to invest between $5,000 and $10,000 in ensuring our workshops include those underrepresented with travel stipends, housing, meals and tuition. We've also made sure those underrepresented have had the opportunity to grow and learn through supporting other initiatives financially. We do not advertise these facts, because as an industry, we shouldn't necessarily be proud of needing to create these opportunities separately. The PBMA is dedicated to lowering whatever barriers we can.
We've included some comments from the survey conducted last year so you can read and see how people talk and feel, these comments aren't representative of the PBMA's visions or thoughts, we simply feel it is important to share. We've left time stamps and dates so you can see trends in the individual comments and perhaps relate comments to one another from the same survey taker.
The next few images are based on a survey with 550 results in 2017.
In 2018 we took a deeper look and asked more specific questions, the statistics below are based on 200 results, the following images and information are a result of that survey.
Select comments from Q2 above:
1 We do have a female working on sales, also the diversity of ethnics is very important to us 4/9/2018 10:13 AM
2 What does it matter? 3/21/2018 12:14 PM
4 Assuming the usual definition of POC being non-white, then yes. 3/19/2018 2:14 PM
6 Nither has ever applied. 3/14/2018 5:18 PM
7 Why does this matter? 3/14/2018 12:35 PM
8 I identify as genderqueer 3/14/2018 10:59 AM
9 1 as a PT assembler 3/13/2018 8:28 AM
10 I am a female shop owner. I have no interest in working in the service department. :) 3/12/2018 3:19 PM
11 who fucking cares. if people arent qualified or have the skills we dont need them 3/9/2018 11:56 PM
12 Not at my current shop, but many in the past. 3/8/2018 6:55 PM
13 I am a person of color, I have two employees, one woman and another person of color 3/8/2018 2:39 PM
14 part time sales mgr- female 3/8/2018 7:23 AM
16 Our lead mechanic is female 3/7/2018 10:18 PM
18 two owners, one female, both in the shop and on the floor 3/7/2018 5:28 PM
19 solo owner/operator at this point 3/7/2018 3:57 PM
20 For most of our 30 years a male of color has been in our service dept. Not currently. A few years a
female. Hard to find. 3/7/2018 3:39 PM
21 I’m a woman who is the Service Manager and head mechanic 3/7/2018 3:26 PM
22 used to have a woman 3/7/2018 1:47 PM
23 Currently no, but have worked with women/people of color in the past 3/7/2018 11:53 AM
24 I hire the best regardless of gender/race 3/7/2018 11:45 AM
25 I own the shop but don't repair the bicycles. 3/7/2018 10:53 AM
26 I work mainly in the Warranty dept but still fix bikes 3/7/2018 10:36 AM
Select comments from Q3 above:
1 I really don't know. Between our 4 locations, maybe. I've never asked, and it's never come up. 3/19/2018 2:14 PM
2 Why should this ever matter? 3/14/2018 12:35 PM
3 why should we have mentallu ill people who cannot accept there are men and women in the world
and they are alive because a man and a woman had sex 3/9/2018 11:56 PM
4 I have 2 LGBI working in sales 3/8/2018 1:07 PM
5 I dont ask about sexual preference. it is illegal to do so 3/8/2018 7:23 AM
6 Honestly, this question pisses me off. Whose business is it? Bicyclists are “alternate” lifestyle folks.
Does anyone get that?!?!?!! Especially the Lycra wearing elitists ! GAY, I say 3/7/2018 10:18 PM
8 At my previous shop in MN 3/7/2018 4:36 PM
9 solo owner/operator at this point 3/7/2018 3:57 PM
10 This does not impact their ability to fix bikes 3/7/2018 11:45 AM
11 I don’t really know the answer. 3/7/2018 10:52 AM
12 We did. She moved on. We have had LGBT employees at more than one location 3/7/2018 10:40 AM
13 But everyone is welcome here! 3/7/2018 10:34 AM
Select comments from Q4 above:
1 Not to my knowledge 4/9/2018 10:13 AM
2 Who cares? As long as they can turn a wrench. 3/14/2018 12:35 PM
3 yeah right there just really arent any 3/9/2018 11:56 PM
4 people will naturally gravitate to the job that interesrs them. Not many women and homosexuals in
the roofing or steel industry 3/8/2018 7:23 AM
5 No qualified poc/woman/LGBT/non-bianary applied who was not hired 3/7/2018 3:39 PM
6 I don't know. I don't care. I don't ask these questions 3/7/2018 11:45 AM
7 We don't have employees. Just the two owners. 3/7/2018 11:28 AM
Select comments from Q5 above:
1 I'll hire E.T. if he/she is an asset to the business, but otherwise immutable characteristics will play no part in staffing decisions. 3/21/2018 12:14 PM
3 When I’m ready to hire I’m more interested in qualifications. 3/19/2018 1:42 PM
4 I'm looking for qualified mechanic. Period. 3/14/2018 12:35 PM
7 If people have the skills they can get the job. Just because you're a freak doesn't qualify you 3/9/2018 11:56 PM
8 We are already diverse. 3/9/2018 2:20 PM
9 Yes I am. Almost every day. 3/8/2018 2:39 PM
10 Specifically targeting minority ride routes to offer service. 3/8/2018 1:21 PM
11 diversity of ideas is what matters, not skin color or sexuality. Liberalism has ruined the bike industry 3/8/2018 7:23 AM
12 I asked, encouraged & mentored a PERSON who is one of my best students EVER. We are friends. We are human beings 3/7/2018 10:18 PM
13 not in charge of hiring, but not oposed 3/7/2018 6:56 PM
14 We don't need any more employees. I have always thought, though, that a lady-mechanic would be more approachable for many customers. 3/7/2018 6:55 PM
15 Always! 3/7/2018 4:36 PM
16 open to diversity but not going to force it. 3/7/2018 3:57 PM
17 We wish there were more qualified diverse applicants 3/7/2018 3:26 PM
18 women don't often apply. 3/7/2018 1:47 PM
20 I am more concerned with quality people and less with what they look like or what identifies them in the world 3/7/2018 12:20 PM
21 Hey, IT"S JUST ME!! One old fat white Jewish guy! 3/7/2018 12:13 PM
22 I'm looking for the best qualified people regardless of any sex/race/personal preference 3/7/2018 11:53 AM
23 I hire for quality. If it is diverse, then fine. Otherwise, tough. 3/7/2018 11:45 AM
24 All I'm looking is genuine interest and mechanical competence. 3/7/2018 11:35 AM
26 I wouldn't say I am actively recruiting but I if a women comes in she would have an edge over a equally qualified man. So, yes a little 3/7/2018 11:19 AM
27 I'm always willing to hire anyone qualified 3/7/2018 11:14 AM
28 loaded question 3/7/2018 10:44 AM
30 Within the entire cycling industry especially in high level roles and access to education 3/7/2018 10:36 AM
Select comments from Q6 above:
1 I am not sure for my area how dependant the shop is on diversity to attract customers. Having a female employee is a small benefit. 3/23/2018 5:43 AM
2 I will gladly accommodate all who come, and hire those that will make the biggest and best impact on my business, regardless of their "identity" 3/21/2018 12:14 PM
3 Yes, frkin’ absolutely. 3/19/2018 1:39 PM
4 More women mechanics would be amazing. All welcome! 3/14/2018 2:17 PM
6 Diversity is important everywhere. Not just the bicycle industry 3/10/2018 9:53 AM
7 why is your organization worried about this stupid shit I thought it was to develop mechanics not cater to weirdos 3/9/2018 11:56 PM
8 Diversity is important everywhere. 3/9/2018 2:20 PM
9 Yes, VERY. 3/8/2018 2:39 PM
10 It will happen on its own. 3/8/2018 11:35 AM
11 people will gravitate to the career that interests tthem. 'social justice' is ruining the bike industry 3/8/2018 7:23 AM
12 It exists. The paradox of bicycling: sport of Kings - Transportation for the poor. We have LOTS of black & brown peddlers, and we are “alternate lifestyle” in out automotive-centric world. Factor in the poor & we are plenty diverse. I know, have served and Am greeted by plenty of poor folks when I go out. It tickles me. ESP when I slink into some ethnic food place with a very white, scaredy cat friend. 3/7/2018 10:18 PM
15 I think understanding who people are and treating them fairly is important. Not sure it is the role of any large industry to "create" diversity, but they should not hinder it's growth. 3/7/2018 4:41 PM
16 If we create a welcoming environment the diversity will come. 3/7/2018 3:57 PM
17 Creating diversity for diversity's sake...not sure what the point is. 3/7/2018 1:56 PM
18 but no Martians 3/7/2018 1:47 PM
19 We need to help it happen, and the Millennial generation may be what pushes us in that direction. Among cyclists under 40 years old I see much more diversity than in my own generation--I'm 63. 3/7/2018 12:13 PM
20 Creating an organization that rewards excellence is most important. 3/7/2018 11:45 AM
21 There aren't large groups of interested people being actively discriminated against 3/7/2018 11:35 AM
22 Yes. But i again can only speak to my experiences. Where I currently work in San Francisco, a pretty diverse city, we have 2 women, 2 black, 2 Hispanics, 2 gay, 2 Filipino, 2 over 50. I think of those only 2 regular white dudes. But lets face it, thi is a very diverse city. When i worked in Boston with a different company we got a letter from HQ praising our hiring practice because we had one black dude and a Sikh. Lets face it, in my 20ish years in the bike business if the phone rings and they are looking for "the tall dark dude" its for me. 3/7/2018 11:19 AM
Select comments from Q7 above:
1 I have always had a woman or two working, sometime they do minor repairs, but they have not learned more then the basics as far as repairs. We had some volunteer woman that were doing tune-ups, but they didn't stick around. I had a great transgender manager, and she worked the service department. She moved away but I would hire again in a minute. 3/21/2018 1:02 PM
2 Diversity is awesome. It allows employees with different point of views and perspectives to voice a mix of solutions for all types of fixes to shop problems. Also it's less intimidating to customers to see a diverse workforce. Diversity is low on the low On the list of new job hires. Just looking for someone who can afford to work at a bike shop first. That pool is tiny in the Bay Area and is almost an insurmountable hurdle. Diversity would be a welcome bonus. 3/20/2018 8:15 PM
3 Many poc come from places where biking is prevalent (outside of US) or could be a source of independence/cost-effective transportation (inner city US), and there is also much room to grow for professional cycling athletes who are poc 3/19/2018 7:39 PM
5 Diversity will happen as cycling grows into those areas. I continue to hire the most qualified candidates for the jobs regardless of diversity. 3/19/2018 2:15 PM
6 I answered no but believe women in shops help with customer relations. Shops would be smart to hire women and let them pick their hours it comes back in sales and relationships. I do not think pmba should subsidize women training and think it should focus on the huge Ecco upside of hiring women... these are just opinions I’m a solo mobile business. 3/19/2018 2:14 PM
7 Because being inclusive is part of being a decent person. It doesn't need to have any social or business implications. 3/19/2018 2:14 PM
8 For survival 3/18/2018 9:30 AM
9 If the person fits what we need we hire them. 3/14/2018 5:18 PM
10 This is pointless. We simply need to worry about if our hires can do the job. 3/14/2018 12:35 PM
11 Our customers are varied in race, gender, age, etc so it is beneficial that our employees reflect that diversity.
3/14/2018 10:42 AM
13 Primarily to expand our customer base outside of the traditional white male demographic, what has been contracting in regards to market size. 3/10/2018 11:30 AM
14 this shit is not important. safe bikes and respectful mechanics is 3/9/2018 11:56 PM
15 Ideally, diversity will exist organically after the opportunity gap is filled. For now, generating more opportunity for minority groups to be involved serves to fill that gap. 3/9/2018 2:00 PM
16 Bicycles are for everyone and everyone should be treated equally. 3/8/2018 6:55 PM
17 Having a diverse workplace helps bring more people into cycling. 3/8/2018 2:59 PM
18 everyone has equal opportunity, not equal outcome, that is up to the individual 3/8/2018 7:23 AM
19 Our Wednesday nite rides favor the poor parts of town mainly because the spoiled rich people are so rude to us. I’ve told our city council, we’ve been building bridges in BeaumontTexas.gov for over 20 years. Our ride group is diversified. Hasn’t always been. Is now ! 3/7/2018 10:18 PM
20 The same is boring 3/7/2018 6:56 PM
21 Monoculture is boring. 3/7/2018 3:57 PM
22 Everyone who rides bikes should be represented in the industry. It's just right. 3/7/2018 3:39 PM
23 Because it’s out world. Not for the above, for the person and their ability. If they happen to be a woman, gay, straight, whatever. I would not hire solely based on that. It just so happens that women offer more to the industry than most men I meet. Men have but themselves into this untrainable I’m desirable area. But that doesn’t work for a lot of us. That’s an area that not going to work anymore and I’m more than ecstatic with that.
3/7/2018 3:11 PM
24 We can stand people intolerant of other people's cultures, and the Dutch! 3/7/2018 1:47 PM
25 Why not? Everyone should ride a bike! 3/7/2018 12:23 PM
26 Our industry needs to be expansive and inclusive to all demographics, creeds, gender, orientation and the like. We only benefit from the base of our sport growing; creating meaningful relationships that foster bridge building and understanding across all social and economic groups. 3/7/2018 12:20 PM
28 It would be valuable to have a diverse staff because some customers will relate to us better. I think it will also increase participation in cycling in general of the store supports the image of this being an activity for all types of people. I don't know any benefit to the "monoculture" at all. 3/7/2018 11:49 AM
29 Road racing was historically sexist. Mtb less so. As the pool of non-"white dude" who are really into bikes grows, so will non-"white dude" mechanic candidates. 3/7/2018 11:35 AM
30 I always try to hire based on qualification. The exception being women. They will almost always get a few extra points in an interview. They have a perspective that guys don't when it comes to presentation and interaction. 3/7/2018 11:19 AM
31 If we want more people on bicycles, there is more opportunity for growth by providing a welcoming environment for women/POC than for continuing the white boy culture. Also, we offer bicycles that the majority of people can afford, since far more people earn lower wages in this country than can afford to buy expensive road bikes. 3/7/2018 10:53 AM
32 Because demographics change; society, culture, politics and economies must also change and embrace those changes. 3/7/2018 10:52 AM
33 Disagree. 3/7/2018 10:44 AM
34 It shouldn't even be a question. Diversity is important in any industry for every reason. 3/7/2018 10:44 AM
35 I want diversity because it reflects reality, a lack of diversity is irresponsible. The industry and america are cis white hetero male dominated. Perpetuating the white supremacist fascist system is genocide. If you don't care to rise up margonalized folx, you are complicit in genocide. There was no mention of trans persons who are different than non-binary for this survey. You should add that to your survey. 3/7/2018 10:36 AM
37 it depends on qualifications not diversity just for diversity sake 3/7/2018 10:24 AM
Select comments from Q8 above:
1 Maybe because the crap marketing of the cycling industry? 3/21/2018 12:14 PM
2 Interesting topic. I struggle just to get employees at all. I really don't care what color they are or what's going on beneath the belt as long as they do a good job and show up! 3/20/2018 9:47 AM
3 Lack of pros with which to identify if not white 3/19/2018 7:39 PM
4 Or haven't been qualified if they have applied 3/19/2018 5:33 PM
5 There are a lot of entrenched minds in the industry that don't see an issue at all. 3/19/2018 3:24 PM
6 Good old boy shops suck to work in and aren’t friendly to women or new guys. I think rei is kicking good old boy shops because women employees. 3/19/2018 2:14 PM
7 While the city's population overall is reasonable diverse, the particular locations of our shops are not, and that becomes the limiting factor. 3/19/2018 2:14 PM
8 cycling is a good old boys' club and it always has been it's not enough to be welcoming to WTF customers and employees; you need to seek them out 3/19/2018 1:32 PM
9 The industry is broken, full of third gen white dudes who drag it back to the 80's in every way. No wonder the Wright Bro's thought 'Flying machines... can't be any stupider than continuing down this path...' and nary a thought has changed since... Modern retail is a slow to react, shareholder driven, employee soul crushing/customer disappointing wasteland and our industry is the clueless, somewhat insulated, backward shortbus riding second cousin from the other side of town. If theauto industry had done as good a job growing that infrastructure/lifestyle as we did growing cycling we'd still be on dirt roads, waving flags at intersections so as to not spook the horses and the word subdivision would be used more often in biology than in real-estate. A lack of diversity exists because, except for a few aware (and a few lucky) entities, we have absolutely no clue that there is one. 3/18/2018 9:30 AM
10 Perhaps members of these groups just don't like cycling. 3/14/2018 12:35 PM
11 Not enough awareness/ desire to change culture from white, cis cycling dude bros. Macho shame around admitting when you don’t know something. Lack of willingness to train and mentor women and poc into service positions. 3/14/2018 10:59 AM
12 I can point to a lot of reasons why diversity is lacking in various areas of cycling (and multisport - triathlon) but for this discussion (diversity in shops) it comes down to leadership from owners/hiring/managers. 3/12/2018 3:19 PM
16 shops want a family atmosphere not a Castro district freak show 3/9/2018 11:56 PM
18 Involvement and appropriation start much earlier than the workforce. This industry has been maledominated
for so long that many don't view it as a potential career. The other factor is the lack of seriousness / low pay. For many, being a bike mechanic is not a serious option. 3/9/2018 2:00 PM
19 This is a tough question to answer, I've spent my life in the bike industry (42 currently started when
I was 18). I have worked with relatively few people of color and not many more women. I've never knowingly worked with any Trans individuals but I have worked with a handful of LGTBQ folks. I think its easy to point to the socioeconomic issues at play with bikes but that is not the only reason there is a lack of diversity within the industry. 3/8/2018 2:39 PM
20 there is no lack of diversity in bike shops. Ever work in one? Lots of people on the edge of society with piercings, tattoos and attitudes to match. The lack of normal people will drive customers away. Diversity is just code for no straight white men allowed. It is a very socialist idea not based in individual liberty 3/8/2018 7:23 AM
22 May be the demographics of the area and it is the deep south 3/7/2018 6:56 PM
23 Most of the staff knew each other before working together 3/7/2018 6:03 PM
24 I could care less about with whom a person identifies. I care about how they act toward me, toward others and how they behave in and around others. I would be just as happy to have an all woman staff as male. Skills sets and personality are my basis for hiring someone. 3/7/2018 4:41 PM
25 My shop is in a small rural town with very little cultural diversity, in a state that is also predominantly white.
3/7/2018 3:57 PM
26 ...also, different cultures have different interests. 3/7/2018 1:56 PM
27 White Center is a very diverse place. 25% of each: Asian, Black, White and Hispanic For real! 3/7/2018 1:47 PM
28 The industry heavily markets only to straight white cis-gendered males and only recently to straight white cis-gendered women. There is very little representation in print/digital media other wise. Representation matters.... 3/7/2018 1:41 PM
30 Elitism is the most relevant term I can come up with to describe the lack of diversity. Dialogue that I have had in mixed social settings has often pointed to the "snobby nature" of cyclists and the perception that if you are not pursuing the "Strava KOM" lifestyle that you have little or no business in our sport. 3/7/2018 12:20 PM
31 Again, I'm a one-person operation. I used to work in a store chain that did hire out of the white boy range as much as possible. 3/7/2018 12:13 PM
33 It is that simple. Until more women, POC, etc want to work in bike shops we really won't make much progress. 3/7/2018 11:49 AM
36 We actively welcome women/POC into our shop, but the women gravitate toward women-only spaces that exist at other shops. Most POC that come in are looking to receive a gift bicycle, and lack the mechanic skills that are needed in order to volunteer at our shop. I would welcome the opportunity to mentor a POC who wanted to open a shop - we are in a major metro area and there isn't any bike shop owned and operated by African-Americans. 3/7/2018 10:53 AM
37 Not a problem. 3/7/2018 10:44 AM
38 As a whole, this country is lazy. We haven't thought about it because no one ever said it was wrong. Now people are speaking up and we are so behind the curve we have to have surveys like this one. 3/7/2018 10:44 AM
Select comments from Q9 above:
1 I believe that not discriminating is important but I don’t think that creating special opportunities for minority cultures is fair to everyone else. 3/21/2018 6:08 AM
2 Yes, and I am starting to see a shift with some companies and their marketing/advertising direction. 3/19/2018 2:14 PM
3 How? Are we going to start forcing people to start enjoying a sport they didn't? 3/14/2018 12:35 PM
4 Support diversity yes. But foster at the expense of anyone who has interest and achieved skills no. 3/10/2018 9:53 AM
5 the free market and peoples abilities will determine the level of what you call diversity not quotas 3/9/2018 11:56 PM
6 walk into any bike shop in any city- you will see 'diversity'. once again, it's work ethic that matters not skin color or sexual preference. Customers dont want to be waited on by someone with safety pins in their eyes and an attitude about social justice. They just want their bikes fixed. keep 'social justice' BS OUT of the bike industry!
3/8/2018 7:23 AM
7 I have seen some efforts by manufacturers to bring more women into the industry through scholarship programs and ambassador programs. This can only be a good thing, and hopefully these types of programs will make the industry more inclusive. 3/8/2018 12:48 AM
8 The logic, or more accurately, lack of logic about non-binary, trans, etc. is absolutely ridiculous. This is an emotion, a mental disorder. It is not truth. This is a perfect example of relativism at its finest....your truth isn't my truth. There is objective truth. It's pretty clear PBMA is simply out to gain more memberships by being inclusive. POC/ non-binary/ trans is a disorder, they truly do need help from a trained psychiatrist. Because someone feels or thinks a certain way, does that make it true, does it make it real? No! Just because I think I'm a Pro Tour mechanic and that I was trained by PBMA 3 years ago and now I am one of their instructors does not make it true. No matter how much I believe this to be true, it is not true, it is not reality. But I think it's true, I feel like a Pro Tour mechanic. I've made certificates of my training. They look like the real ones but those got lost in the mail so I just made my own. And PBMA says, I'm sorry this is not true, you never took any certification courses from us. I say well look harder, your computers must have crashed! I really honestly feel this way, so it's true, right? NO PBMA, it's not true, it's not reality. Just like a man feeling like a woman, or vise versa, it's simply not the truth. Rather than prostitute yourselves to sell a few more memberships, you should really take a serious look at the subject mater of your surveys. You might just come to this conclusion, PBMA is not qualified to discuss this matter in any way shape or form. But if you want, do little research about Johns Hopkins University medical center and gender ideology, as well as the staggering statics of trans people who whish like hell
they would have gotten help and counseling. You're out of your league PBMA. 3/7/2018 10:19 PM
9 I think it’s up to the stores. Hipsters will handle it, too. They like colors. Look at their shoes. 3/7/2018 10:18 PM
11 Yes, everyone should, but... What does that really mean? it almost like saying that Starbucks should do more to foster diversity. They are already pretty open to people being who they are and I have worked around some pretty odd people in this industry. The cycling industry should be working harder to make sure their is an industry and is open to whomever wants to be a part and grow the industry. If that is all white males so be it, if it is a hodgepodge of every possible human then so be it. Focus on making the industry a place where quality people want to work and be successful in. 3/7/2018 4:41 PM
12 Foster vs force is a fine line. We do need to work to eliminate the dominant "bro culture" that is too common within cycling. 3/7/2018 3:57 PM
15 It's been proven that gender dysphoria is a mental disorder. John's Hopkins University Medical Center was the first hospital in the U.S. to perform gender re-assignment. They also stopped that practice because after closer study, because the subjects were found to be in a disordered mental state. In fact, studies have shown that about 10 years after gender re-assignment surgery, the patient realizes the mistake they have made. There is also a very high suicide rate among these individuals. Not because of public ridicule, but because they truly have a mental issue. Do we affirm someone when they are diagnosed with Anorexia, cancer, or other disorder or disease? No, we seek help for them. A woman is a woman, and a man is man regardless of what society thinks, and it's been this way since the dawn of time. Surgery and chemical manipulation can not change the inner workings of male and female persons. There is objective truth, there is natural law, and just because someone THINKS they are the other gender, or something else, does not mean it is right; you can not "think" your way into another gender. Get out of this arena PBMA, and get back to what you know: bicycle mechanics 3/7/2018 1:02 PM
18 It is a bunch of Marxist bullshit to treat people as members of groups rather on their individual merits. Pursuing diversity is the opposite of pursuing virtue. 3/7/2018 11:45 AM
19 I think we need to stay focused on promoting professional standards and skills with color/culture/gender blindness. This is not the same as actively promoting diversity. If you love bikes and want to get better at this profession: Come on in! 3/7/2018 11:35 AM
21 All the major bicycle publications talk about is the latest and greatest in recreational bicycles - expensive road, mountain, gravel, etc. - rather than bicycles for the rest of us. The industry wants to sell product and makes more money off rich dudes than off poor people. Also, we need to use up the stuff we have rather than creating so much more new stuff. The industry changes "standards" so often in an effort to make the older stuff obsolete, then they quit making the parts needed to service older bicycles that are affordable to the poor. Industry publications only give publicity to huge corporations rather than featuring those of us who are trying to serve ordinary people. 3/7/2018 10:53 AM
22 In the late 1800s, it was often middle class wives starting to ride bicycles that pressured towns to install paved roads prior to the automobile. If this is all-but-forgotten, we perpetuate the idea that bicycling was considered "un-ladylike". Just what the banal patriarchy wants to keep everyone in their place. 3/7/2018 10:42 AM
23 By raising marginalized folx up into high level positions and offering accessible education. Not just employing them. 3/7/2018 10:36 AM
The video below is from our November Technical Workshop in Phoenix, and speaks to the challenges within our Industry. At the conclusion of the workshops we let the camera roll and just ask folks to make comments. You can view more videos here.
Traditionally February is one of the slowest months of the year for bike shops. Jospeh Nocella of 718 Cyclery and Jeff Latimer of Gus’ Bike Shop were brainstorming ideas after Bike Shop Day. They wondered how shops could work together to encourage customers to bring bikes in for service during winter months? Enter “Fix Your Bike February”.
The concept is simple, just encourage your customers to bring their bikes to you in February for service and create some promotions around the idea. The hope is that this will gain traction not only with shops, but with parts vendors as well to grow into an annual promotion.
“Every spring we get swamped with bikes coming in for tune ups. Shops can use #fixyourbikeFeb to remind customers to bring bikes in for service now. That way they are out riding a well tuned bike instead of standing in line on that first warm Saturday in the Spring” said Jeff Latimer.
Here are a few ideas that can be used to encourage customers to bring their bikes into your shop for February:
To help generate interest and keep a consistent message please:
Joe Nocella remarked, ”I think that Fix Your Bike February is a great compliment to and in the spirit of Bike Shop Day. It focuses on what makes the local bike shop special, and highlights the value we bring to our customers. The Internet isn't fixing or maintaining your bike”
To register your shop as a participant and get a copy of the logo to use in your marketing, please send an email to email@example.com
About Fix Your Bike February
Inspired by “Bike Shop Day” as created by 718 Cyclery in Brooklyn, NY. Fix Your Bike February is a project of 718 Cyclery and Gus’ Bike Shop in North Hampton, NH. For more information please contact Jeff Latimer via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Fix your Bike Day Press Release courtesy of Jeff Latimer
Chris Kreidl - Operations Manager, Unior USA
Our final interview of 2018 features Chris Kreidl, Operations Manager for Unior USA. As Operations Manager Chris handles the day to day operations for the US Importer for Unior Tools including sales, marketing and customer service. Chis was also one of the very first mechanics to join the PBMA!
So Chris, how did you get started in the cycling industry?
I was youngish, had no drivers license, and my commute to university was too far to walk. So I rode. As a full time student with no job commuting through Milwaukee winters, my bikes never lasted long. Being a poor college student I couldn't afford to pay for parts and labor to fix what the winters did to my bike so I got a job at a shop near the UW-Milwaukee campus (Chris says Hey! Bikesmiths!) and never looked back.
Your career turned to race mechanics, how did that happen and why was that something you wanted to do?
While watching highlights from the Tour de France I saw a video of a Mavic Neutral Support mechanic standing on top of a moving car doing something with the saddle on a bike racked up on the roof. I thought that looked pretty sweet and wanted to do it. A friend had gone through the Bill Woodul Clinic the year prior and recommended it to me if, for whatever reason, that was the sort of thing I wanted to do with my life. And it was.
You've been all over the place, worked tons of races. Whats your favorite race and why?
Contrary to what many cycling fans might think, my favorite races are the ones in the Middle East (Tour of Qatar, Tour of Oman...). As race mechanics we spend a lot of time in crappy hotels eating pretty crappy food. These races have the best accommodations I've experienced as part of a bike race, and that makes the job that much easier. Aside from that, following the races through all the little villages along the route, it's pretty cool seeing an entire town come out to cheer the race on. I've been through small villages in Oman that have had better spectator turnout than a lot of races in the US will ever see.
You have a new roll in the industry, now you've hung up your suitcase. What parts of your background helped you get this new position?
A few things!
A large part of my role is marketing, or increasing brand awareness and hopefully turning that awareness into tool sales. Cycling teams are marketing vehicles for the companies that sponsor them. It's our job as team staff to make sure we're representing our sponsors to the best of our abilities and doing what we can to provide value to them. It would be nice to think that companies that choose to back a team are doing so out of goodwill and totally authentic reasons, but that's not the case
photo credits Jonathan Devich
The other thing I had to offer Unior was credibility. I've made my living working with tools and I like to think I developed a reputation as a pretty good mechanic. Since I relied on the tools in my tool case to help me make that living I was somewhat choosy with what I would spend my money on. Good tools help a good mechanic do good work quickly. I think my reputation as a mechanic helps lend credibility to the Unior offerings, and that was attractive to my new bosses.
Looking at the future, what's going to be important for the "bicycle shop"?
Service, without a doubt. The Internet undeniably has led to changes in bicycle retail. Online retail and discount outlets aren't going away, but as the saying goes "the Internet can't fix your bike."
Reputation and credibility are going to be important as well. The Internet hasn't just made cheap parts accessible. It's made information accessible. Nobody gives a second thought to reading Yelp reviews on a restaurant they're thinking about for dinner or an auto repair shop when they have a CV-joint go bad. Why should picking a bike shop be any different? In a time where there are fewer and fewer shops I think it's going to be important to be able to provide better service (customer relations and mechanical aptitude) than the next guy(or gal).
Lastly, openness to change. It's easy to dog on eBikes and I've been known to joke around with my friends about fatbikes. I however haven't relied on customers coming into my shop to keep the lights on. It amazes me that I still see retail employees dissing whatever new development there might be in cycling. That is lost income potential if there ever was any.
Educationally as a mechanic, what's important to you?
Providing good service means staying up to date. Being prepared to properly address whatever comes into the work-stand is important. I don't want to ever be in a position where I have to think about saying "I can't fix that" or "I don't know how" -- I want to be able to say "no problem, I've got this" and be confident in saying those words.
When Shimano DA9100 was introduced I insisted on finding a way to get into "Interbike East" because they were going to be there doing a seminar on the installation process. It was important to me to have at least seen the product ahead of time so when I was faced with building 115 team bikes I'd go in with some semblance of an idea of what was going on. Even if I later had to look up the S-TEC videos to refresh my memory, at least I wasn't seeing these parts for the first time when I was faced with building team race bikes.
What are the most important traits you've found to be beneficial as a mechanic?
Time management - there is always something to do, being efficient with one's time helps get as much done as possible in the time available.
Ability to think critically - such as building 115 bikes with product new to me, I've found that even when faced with something I've never had my hands on if I stop and take a look at how I think it should work, often I can make it work.
Ability to switch off - no matter how good we are, there is always more to do. After years of insisting on working non-stop every day, all day. Finding time for myself has become more and more important. Doing something outside of cycling helps me stay motivated and get the most out of the time I do spend working.
Kevin Oliveira’s path as a Professional Bicycle Mechanic began at Montclair Bikery in NJ, has looped the globe a few times, and now finds him in that storied outpost of North Americans in pro cycling, Girona, Spain.
Bikery owner David Adornato was amenable to Oliveira taking weekends to work races, knowing the kind of value it added to his shop, as well as realizing that it may help retain a good mechanic. Pitting for the Goguen dynasty (as RACE CF in 2013) immersed Oliveira in the ways of cyclocross race support and he supported a Junior National Champion, Peter Goguen, at Boulder that year. The team also took Kev to Tour de l’Abitibi, giving him his first real road stage race experience.
Like many, it was not until Oliveira had some solid experience that he attended the USA Cycling Bill Woodul Clinic in Colorado Springs to attain a Race Mechanics License. There, he met Andy Stone. Stone would give Oliveira a shot with Novo Nordisk Pro Continental team, the break of a lifetime. That gig moved Oliveira to Atlanta, inasmuch as a race mechanic lives anywhere.
Two years with Novo Nordisk lead to the Head Mechanic spot at Jelly Belly Pro Cycling and a move to California. Lachlan Morton’s Tour of Utah win was Oliveira’s biggest to date, and he can be seen, iPhone camera out the window, in the famous photo where officials allowed the team car to follow Morton onto the finishing straight in Park City.
Oliveira credits Stone and Ian Sherburne, of BMC, for driving home the value of attention to detail.
As for the uncertainty of a career in this line of work, Oliveira relishes the challenges. He has established Oliveira Velo Support to keep him busy with Service Course and Trailer consultations and installations, as well as private client support during racing’s down time.
Likewise for all of the travel, Oliveira has this advice, “The Power of Language...always bend a little bit out of your comfort zone, try the local language, study it before you go, the internet is your friend for this, learn some local slang just to try and fit in and show you try. Then keep at it and you’ll get it, man.”
That’s also at the center of the “Yo CHILL” lifestyle that Kevin Oliveira espouses and teaches. It is rarely about relaxing, but always about making sense, interpreting accurately and processing calmly.
2019 will see Oliveira working from Rally Cycling’s new Service Course in Girona, which he designed and outfitted with help from Jose Sousa for custom frame racking.
Find Kev at a race next season – maybe he has a little something for you.
images ©DistractionManagement and ©Veloimages
Bicycle Technology Council Inaugural Summi
Driven by an industry wide need the Education Summit is focused on providing a brand agnostic platform for competitors to come together and share successes and struggles in addition to pointed presentations revolving around mechanics training.
The Summit will take place prior to CABDA West San Diego at the Hilton Del Mar and registration is now open. Space is limited to 50 participants.
The summit aims to achieve an agreed upon minimum level of proficiency for bicycle mechanics and work towards varied levels of training for mechanics within the cycling industry. An additional outcome will be the formation of the initial Bicycle Technology Council, a committee focused on industry technical education.
PBMA’s President James Stanfill says: “we want to create a safe space for competitors to come together and collaborate. Chemistry teachers from Stanford and NYU certainly get together and share ideas, theories, successes and failures, why can’t we do this in our industry? We’ve reached out to key partners such as Quality Bicycle Products to help us bring the industry together.”
The Summit kicks off with a welcome reception on Monday January 14thfollowed by a full day of talks on the 15th, concluding with CABDA West’s opening reception the evening of the 15th.
Key presentation topics include:
Continuing Education for Mechanics Industry Professional Development
Understanding How Mechanics Learn Leveraging Education for Success
Manufacturer Direct Training Industry Standards
Firm commitments to attend have already been received from Quality Bicycle Products, Barnett Bicycle Institute and United Bicycle Institute who have each agreed to take part in key session discussions.
The cost to attend is $250 and includes a kickoff reception, breakfast and lunch. Attendees are invited to also attend CABDA’s Kickoff Reception following the conclusion of the workshop.
A complete schedule, topic descriptions and registration information can be found by visiting www.BicycleTech.org
A list of participating companies can be found at the bottom of the page.
Mechanic Certification Schedule for CABDA West San Diego
PBMA’s Bicycle Mechanic Certification was initially rolled out in September at Interbike with about half the participants achieving a passing mark. PBMA’s President James Stanfill said, “Our team had to sit down and debate whether the process was too hard. At the end of the day, and with input from education professionals, we agreed that our certification is based on process and safety and we are happy with where we are today.”
The in-person testing involves essentially the mechanic demonstrating their proficiency at safely assembling a bicycle. They are given a bare frame (custom-built compact units by United Bicycle Institute), a SRAM group, and all the Park Tools necessary to build up the frame with the main components of a road bicycle. Each element of proper installation, torque spec, and attention to detail are scored individually, with a particular emphasis on safety. A 90-minute time limit is given to complete the build, with a 92.5% or better required score to pass.
Overall, PBMA Bicycle Mechanic Certification is a two-part process. Members and Non-Members alike must complete an online exam with a passing score of 90% or better. The online exam is then followed up with an in-person practical exam conducted in front of PBMA instructors.
To start the certification process, interested mechanics should visit: https://www.probma.org/store/p49/PBMA_Certification_.html
PBMA Members receive $150 off the $200 cost to become certified.
PBMA is also hosting an educational summit during CABDA West with the goal to unite educators within the cycling industry and create a leadership platform focused on how technical education can be delivered and tie into generalized standards industry wide. Part of this summit is focused on training others on the PBMA Bicycle Mechanic Certification process. Details on the summit will be available next week for parties interested in attending.
Certification at CABDA is limited to 6 people per session with sessions being available:
Monday January 14th(9a, 12:30p, 3:30p), Tuesday January 15th(2p), Wednesday January 16th(6:30p), Thursday January 17th(10a, 1p, 4p), Friday January 18th(9a, 12:30p, 3:30p), and Saturday January 19th(9:30a). Future dates and times will be announced soon for PBMA’s Philadelphia Technical Workshop and CABDA Chicago.
CABDA is free to attend for dealers (brick and mortar, mobile and service-only alike). To register for CABDA, please visit https://events.american-tradeshow.com/CABDA
Brandon Hirokawa is no stranger to bicycles
Brandon Hirokawa is the Owner / CEO / President of Hirobel Cycling Solutions. You may of seen or heard of the Hirobel Frame Clamp.
We wanted to know a bit more about Brandon so here we go!
How did you get started in the cycling industry?
I hung out a Pauli's Bicycle and Lawn almost everyday for a year trying to learn what I could from the head mechanic. I was one of the few kids during the late 80's that was interested in bicycles rather than skateboards. Finally the owners wife gave me a job. Then I spend the next year cutting my teeth on Schwinn Sprnts and Aerodynes... the sight of that gold exercise bike makes me sick to this day!
What exactly is Hirobel?
Hirobel is a company with the mindset of innovation. Marc Bellet and I started the company with six solid products. We started off with the Frame Clamp because it would make the biggest immediate impact on how mechanics work today.
We ask everyone, because inquiring minds want to know. What is your favorite tool?
Using the Craftsman Portable Inflator with a Silca Hero Pump Head has been great for the last couple years... it's a time and arm saver at large events.
We understand that you get to visit a fair share of bicycle shops, what are you seeing that's good and what are you seeing that's bad?
I am seeing more space opening up for service or multi-use space being used for trainer events, fitting and even in-shop clinics. I have been more mobile service platforms or shop owners thinking about adding a mobile aspect to their brick and mortar shop.
On the flip side I'm seeing too many shops searching for the magic bullet to optimize their business. They aren't seeing that an optimized store layout, skilled mechanics and a functional service department are a golden goose. I have seen several shops spending a lot money in the service department to make it look amazing with new benches, tools, flooring and equipment, but pay the mechanics minimum wage and expect an instant return on investment.
Invest in people (mechanics) first! The IBD's that don't get it may soon have the best looking showroom floor at the local commercial auction!
How important do you think service will be in the future?
As direct sales become more popular with industry brands and big-box / e-retailers are growing... service will eventually become the cornerstone of the bicycle retail industry. Once those companies offering direct sales have time to realize thee is no amount of pre-box assembly that will replace a skilled mechanic, they will need points of service they can count on.
I do think both direct sales companies and "Service Oriented" IBD's will eventually be more integrated to the delivery of safe bicycles to the end users.
We heard you were back to riding again, What's your bike of choice?
I powder coated by Cannondale CAAD8 and put Shimano Ultegra Di2 on it. It's one fo the frames that I will never get rid of because it was built with a longer top tube back when Cannondale could whip out custom frames pretty fast!
When talking to mechanics, what are you hearing about the challenges they are facing?
I think being taken seriously as a skilled workforce is a big challenge. As bicycle service becomes more complicated the need for skilled labor will increase.
Unfortunately I see a lot of the really talented mechanics go to different industries so they can make a living wage.
What are the characteristics of a great mechanic?
Being able to communicate effectively would be first on my list. Be open to new ideas or products. Being able to see past the fad and recognize true innovation. Pay attention to the details. Details are very important to getting customers back in the door!
This week we meet Adam schmidt from golden colorado.
How Did you become involved in cycling and/or cycling mechanics?
I worked for a sandwich shop for about 11 years as a bicycle courier, but only during the fall/winter/spring months. Summers were spent in the commercial fishing industry in Alaska, working 120+ hour weeks 7 days/week for 4 months and coming home only to be physically exhausted, mentally drained, probably injured in some fashion but with a good chunk of cash. Every year I would use some alaska money to buy a new bike, which i would then destroy delivering sandwiches through Iowa winters. i Eventually got tired of paying someone else to fix my bike, i suppose I'm not totally sure exactly when the "Aha" moment was when i wanted to pursue wrenching much more seriously, maybe 7 years ago? That was my first UBI class out in oregon and i loved it, learned a lot, went back for their suspension/wheel building a year later. I'm always looking for a way to further my knowledge and experience, have gone to more clinics/training/certifications than i care to admit, and have a serious problem with working too hard. Thanks "Alaska"
Do you have a favorite moment or story from your time in the cycling industry?
Honestly working in the winter doing bike delivery was pretty miserable, but there was one year in particular that the store couldn't find any more people interested in biking in negative degree weather. SO it wound up just being me and one other guy Stephen as the only riders all winter. It was a pretty sloppy/icy/terrible year for weather, which only makes people order more so they don't have to go out in it. I can't tell you how many days we both HATED riding, like really despised it! I've gotten a fair amount of frostbite and nerve damage from it, and I really can't discourage doing that enough. Not exactly a "feel good story", but the moral is, don't do that.
What motivation or advice would you give aspiring professional bicycle mechanics
1) You don't know everything, guaranteed, I have been really blessed working with some highly skilled mechanics that were willing and able to teach me and pass on knowledge. I would strongly encourage anyone and every aspiring mechanic to know that value; absorb as much as you can and SHARE it. I am usually pretty eager to teach, and definitely comfortable telling someone "i don't know" followed shortly by "let's find out".
2) Be early. Punctuality is by far my biggest pet peeve. Early is On-time and On-Time is late. I can't stress this enough, a fast way to piss me off is to be like 2 minutes late.
What is your favorite tool
Man that changes too often. there's about 12 tools i couldn't live without, but my favorite at the moment would have to be Topeak's digital torque wrenches. They're extremely accurate, give a real-time reading, are waaay too expensive and "beep". I've found it particularly useful when a customer tells me "I torqued those bolts down" which usually means "I overtightened the shit out of them" or "i didn't put a wrench anywhere near that bolt" Either way, the real-time reading will tell how torqued you got.
Meet Daniel Acosta... aka Wampy. Daniel recently took the top step at the Interbike Mechanics Challenge, it's been happening 3 years and each year he has done better. Finishing to PBMA's Win Allen last year in an upset judgment decision. This year Daniel showed us how it's done with poise and class. This week he's the Mechanic of the Week!
PBMA: How did you get started in cycling?
I started in the cycling environment when I was 10 years old in BMX as a hobby. By the time I was 14 I started racing XC and one thing that always caught my attention was to repair and prepare my bicycle. When I turned 17 my older brother helped me to land a job in a local bicycle shop, and it was then when I discovered that I was really good repairing bicycles. I always try to be the best and work with bicycles with as much detail as possible si my customers leave really happy.
PBMA: Do you have a favorite moment in your cycling career?
I have always tried yo enjoy every moment I have spent in cycling, but bicycle repair has become my passion. About three years ago I competed for the first time in the mechanics challenge at the Interbike event. Since then I dreamt of winning the challenge, and now I have achieved that dream a few days ago in the mechanic challenge of the 2018 Interbike held in Reno, Nevada. That has become my favorite moment and it's something I will always keep pictured in my mind as an inspiration to become even better.
PBMA: What advice do you have for a new mechanic?
My best advice to any aspiring bicycle mechanic is that when someone takes a bicycle for you to repair it, do it with feeling, technicality and as much detail as possible as if it were yours. So, you can be proud of your work and know that when someone competes and wins a race you'll be proud knowing you gave it all and were the one who also helped to make it possible by preparing that bicycle.
PBMA: Everyone has a favorite tool, what's yours?
Adjustable torque driver
This interview was translated from Spanish by one of Daniels friends.
This page is a collective of articles relavant to consumers, enthusiasts and the whole of the cycling industry in general.