#mechanicmonday honors Anait "Ana G" Garushyants
A new week means a brand new Mechanic Monday feature to share! Today we are excited to introduce you to Anait “Ana G” Garushyants of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania – by way of Uzbekistan!
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.
Ana G is, literally, living her childhood dream of being a professional mechanic. Her journey into the cycling industry began in her father’s auto body shop, and has taken her across continents and introduced her to some of her greatest unexpected mentors. We were fortunate to catch up with Ana recently, and we are excited to share some of her story with you today, in her own words!
PBMA: How did you get involved in cycling and/or cycling mechanics?
AG: My dad was an auto/moto mechanic, and he also raced cars and motorcycles. When I was a kid, he often would take me to his shop, and I loved it! Cars, bikes, and tools fascinated me and took over my imagination. Besides cars and motorcycles, my dad also loved to ride his road bike, and I enjoyed riding with him. He passed away when I was 12, and I said to my 12-year-old-self that I want to be a racer and a mechanic when I grow up. Time was going by, and I was consumed with all the usual teenager’s problems: Growing up without having parents around, moving from one country to another, and trying to find myself in the midst of it all. A couple years after finishing high school, my passion for vehicles and mechanics came back. In 2003, I met a great group of people who were into bike trials. They helped me to build my first trial bicycle on a beautiful Monty X-lite frame, and I started riding again.
Inspired by videos like JIB, I started learning different tricks, and my bike started breaking! Since I wasn’t well off financially, I had to learn how to fix it by myself. Meanwhile, a new bicycle store opened just across the road from my apartment. I applied for a job there and got it! I learned about different types of bikes and disciplines. I moved from trial to MTB – mostly DH and 4X – and that’s when I seriously fell in love with cycling and bikes. And who wouldn’t? I mean, bicycles give you the type of freedom that nothing else does!
I worked at the same shop from 2004 to 2013, making my way up to the store manager position. In 2013, I received my green card and moved to the US. It has been a serious challenge for me, especially because I barely spoke English five years ago. I had to find a job, and the only thing I could offer to a prospective employer was my experience, knowledge, and passion for bikes. I went to ask for a job at a local bike shop – Abington Wheel Wright Bike Shop – because the shop was recommended to me as the best in the area by a guy from Pinkbike forum. (That guy is my good friend and a customer now!) I got the job as a mechanic, and I realized that it is something that makes me genuinely happy. I always loved to fix things, I always loved bicycles, and I was able to combine both at the same time!
My employer at Abington Wheel Wright, Miko, was a great teacher. He is a very talented engineer and mechanic, and an awesome person overall. I was lucky enough to get the job at his shop and to meet a few great people there, including my partner Adam. Unfortunately, Miko’s shop closed in 2015. I had to get some boring office job that made me completely miserable. But after a couple of months, Adam and I decided to open a small bike shop, Circle Cycle Bike Shop. On June 1st 2016, we opened our doors to our cycling community (on a shoestring budget). These past two years haven’t been easy, and we just broke even on our second year. But I am positive we can make it work, and I am optimistic about our future.
PBMA: Do you have a favorite moment or story from your time in the cycling industry?
AG: There have been a lot of great moments and stories, and it’s hard to pick just one. But if I must, it would be a hand-made card that we received from a female NICA athlete. Our shop has been sponsoring SoMont Youth MTB team, part of PICL and NICA, for several years. Often, we travel “pro bono” to their races to provide mechanical support for the team. After our first season with them, one of the athletes drew a “thank you” card for supporting the team and for working on her bike. That melted my heart, and it also brought me to the realization that I am exactly where I should be. Seeing smiles and happiness on the kids’ faces is the best reward for me, and seeing how passionate they are about cycling makes me happy! I’m glad that I have the opportunity to be a part of it.
PBMA: What motivation or advice would you give to women who aspire to be professional bicycle mechanics?
AG: My advice would be to not get scared because you don’t know something, because nobody does, and we all learn something new every day. Be prepared to learn and never stop. Do not be afraid to ask questions and to ask for help when you need it.
What can be more motivating or rewarding than the end result off diagnosing and solving a mechanical problem? That’s what motivates me. I know that I can do it, and I can do it well! Believe in yourself and follow your passion. If you love the concept of a bicycle and mechanics of it, you’ll do great.
PBMA: What is your favorite tool?
AG: Honestly, I don’t think I have just one favorite tool. I love them all! But if I must to choose only one, I’d hold on to my Crank Brothers multi-tool that I always carry with me wherever I go. Picks are great too, though, and so is my Park Tool hammer. Oh, that’s a really tough question!
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!
This page is a collective of articles relavant to consumers, enthusiasts and the whole of the cycling industry in general.