#mechanicmonday honors Paul Dunlap
Happy Mechanic Monday, everyone! We are excited to introduce you to this week’s honoree, Paul Dunlap of San Diego, California!
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.
Paul is a California native, but his cycling story has roots all over North America. A software engineer by trade, Paul was a bike commuter for many years before he made the switch to full-time bicycle mechanic. It’s a pretty drastic switch, but Paul pulled it of seamlessly; he identified a need in the SoCal cycling market, and he set out to meet that need – and he is now the proud owner/operator of VeloFix San Diego! Of course there is more to Paul’s story than a spontaneous career change, but we will let him share that with you in his own words!
PBMA: How did you become involved in cycling and/or cycling mechanics?
PD: I've always been a cyclist and had a renewed appreciation/interest in the last 10 years. I commuted by road bike to a software job for 8 years and put in at least 150 miles per week. I had many times where I'd get to work and have a broken spoke, broken component, etc. I thought it would be very convenient if I could have a mobile bike mechanic come service my bike while I was at work. Thus, I reached out to Velofix in Vancouver, BC and worked to bring Velofix to North San Diego County.
PBMA: Do you have a favorite moment or story from your time in the cycling industry?
PD: One of my favorite stories has to do with my discovery of Velofix. My younger son and I made a habit of riding every mountain stage of the Tour of California the morning of the stage. In 2015, we climbed Mt. Baldy, arriving a couple hours before the pro teams. There was snow surrounding the roadway and it was very brisk at the top. We bought many coffees from the 10 Speed coffee trailer, but kept trying to stay warm. The best way to do this was to do hill repeats up and down the final (steep 15% gradient) 2k of the climb. We kept passing a Velofix demo van that was parked on the side of the road/route. I kept seeing the van and it made quite an impression. Fast forward 6 months and I was a Velofix territory owner!
PBMA: What motivation or advice would you give to aspiring professional bicycle mechanics?
PD: Being a bike mechanic has never been a better opportunity. The days of the bike mechanic being stuck in the back of the shop are slowly waning. With electronic shifting, high tech suspension systems, and bike customization opportunities, a solid bike mechanic is becoming a specialist role. With this comes increased responsibilities and monetary reward. Take advantage of industry training, vendor training, and stay up to date on any new technologies. The bike mechanic is one occupation that will not be replaced with machine!
PBMA: What is your favorite tool?
PD: My favorite tool has to be the Park Blue CP-1 Cassette Pliers. I work a lot of races and organized rides (Gran Fondos, centuries, etc.) and this tool is so handy to quickly remove cassettes for replacement, spoke repairs, and freewheel/pawl repairs.
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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