#mechanicmonday honors Michael Gavagan
Regardless of how you feel about Mondays, today is a good one because we are back after a two-week break with a brand new Mechanic Monday interview and feature! This week’s honoree is Michael Gavagan of Boulder, Colorado!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with PBMA’s Mechanic Monday series, this is where we feature one mechanic each week who is chosen randomly from the pool of nominations that we receive. Mechanic Monday is all about mechanics supporting fellow mechanics, and we are proud to partner with Abbey Bike Tools, Cycling Industry News, and People for Bikes to share these great features with you.
Michael Gavagan got his start in the industry by working countless hours in local bike shops and worked his way into to the world of race mechanics through skill, determination, and savvy networking. He volunteered with all the major neutral support programs, worked as the head mechanic for a U-23 World Tour team (Garmin-Cervelo), and spent six years working with Pro Continental (Optum) and World Tour (Drapac) teams. Now Michael owns his own service-only bike shop in Boulder, Colorado; he’s on the road a lot less, but he’s still very much in-touch with his fellow race mechanics and his former teams’ athletes.
PBMA caught up with Michael for a quick interview, and we’re excited to share some of his story – and his valuable advice for aspiring Pro Mechanics – with you in his own words!
PBMA: How did you become involved in cycling and/or cycling mechanics?
MG: I bought a Trek 8500 LT in 1999. I kept breaking things and wanted to learn how to fix my bike. I went to the local bike shop and hung around long enough until they gave me a job. The head mechanic took me under this wing and taught me how to work on bikes.
Fast-forward 12 Years. I managed three shops’ service departments and started becoming interested in becoming a Pro Mechanic. So I flew to Colorado Springs for the Bill Woodul Race Mechanic Clinic and received my USAC mechanic’s license. While I was there, I networked with SRAM Nuetral Support (now NRS & Events LLC p/b LOOK), Mavic, and Shimano. I volunteered for all three that summer.
I worked with SRAM NRS (NRS & Events LLC p/b LOOK) a majority of my weekends over the next few years. After working the 2nd edition of Grand Prix Cyclistes in Montreal with the SRAM crew, I ended up splitting a cab to the airport with a director from Garmin-Cervelo. It turned out that they needed a mechanic for the U-23 development team. Two months later I was in Boulder, CO building bikes for Australian National Championships and team camp. A month later, I was living in a farmhouse in southern France with the team, building out a service course, traveling to races, and hiring temporary staff/mechanics. At the end of the season, the team folded and I spent the next few years working for Optum Pro Cycling (Rally), Specialized, SRAM, and Drapac Pro Cycling.
After six years, thousands of highway miles, and countless hours in airplanes, I opened a service-only bicycle repair shop in Boulder, CO. Owning my own shop allows me to continue to work with my former team’s athletes, new athletes, and bicycle industry professionals.
PBMA: Do you have a favorite moment or story from your time in the cycling industry?
MG: My favorite moment in cycling was working the 2012 Paris-Roubaix Espoir race. The week of recon, equipment testing and hard work resulted in a 3rd and 4th placement. The Philly race also has a special place in my heart. It the closest thing America has to a Classics race.
PBMA: What motivation or advice would you give to aspiring professional bicycle mechanics?
MG: If you’re an aspiring race mechanic, you need to volunteer at races with a neutral service program, manufacturer, bike shop, team, or whatever. You need some unpaid experience. Eventually, you’ll find a paying gig if you are a hard worker. [It’s all about] networking! Never stop networking. You never know where a simple conversation could lead to.
PBMA: What is your favorite tool?
MG: My favorite tool is my Snap-On ¼” drive ratchet wrench with allen and torx bits. It’s 4”long, bomb proof, and it’s been with me around the world.
That’s all for this week! Thank you for following along with our series and sharing our support for our fellow mechanics. We’ll be back next week with a new feature. In the meantime, we are still in need of nominations!! You don’t need to be a PBMA Member to nominate or be featured! (All that we ask is for no self-nominations, please.) Click here to learn more about our 2018 Mechanic Monday series, and here to learn more about how to nominate your favorite mechanic!
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