#mechanicmonday honors Rawny Semba and Mary Elizabeth
We are back after what seemed like a far-too-short weekend, and we are especially excited to share our first-ever double-feature Mechanic Monday with you! This week’s honorees are two of the coolest and kindest people in the entire Midwest cycling scene: Rawny Semba and Mary Elizabeth of Chicago, Illinois!
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.
Rawny and Mary were nominated as a couple, but we want to emphasize that they are each a talented mechanic in their own right. We reached out to Rawny and Mary separately and received their approval to feature them together. And we’ll be honest – theirs is one of the most fun interviews we’ve done so far for this series!
Rawny is primarily a race mechanic; he works with LOOK Neutral Support during road season and the Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com pro team during cyclocross season. He focuses his time on road and ‘cross now, but Rawny’s first love in cycling was BMX as a kid. As he grew up, he took on more challenging adventures in bike touring and camping. Some combination of BMX tricks and camping in the dirt must have helped Rawny develop a special skillset for cyclocross – he is a favorite mechanic of the Cannondale team, and was an integral part of Stephen Hyde’s two National Championship wins in 2017 and 2018.
When he’s not on the road, Rawny can be found turning wrenches at Tailwind Cycles in Chicago. Rawny enjoys his time at the shop just as much as his time on the road; he uses each one to refine his skillset for the other. For example, Rawny works with new cyclists and Juniors at the shop, and he applies that “mentoring” experience to support the Cannondale development team during ‘cross season. Likewise, Rawny’s work on the race circuit has taught him an unparalleled level of attention to detail, and he brings that same professionalism and skill to his day-to-day work at the shop.
Mary is the go-to mechanic at Boulevard Bikes in Chicago, where she’s worked for the past eight years. Eight years can seem like an eternity in an industry with such high turn-over of service staff, but Mary’s perspective on life in a bike shop is something that even the most veteran mechanics can learn from. Simply put, she “[takes] great pleasure in making peoples’ bikes feel great, whether it’s setting them up to crush a race or overhauling their old touring bike.”
Mary is also a race mechanic with LOOK Neutral Support. Her favorite events to support are criteriums, but she’s the first to admit that it’s hard for her to sit on the sidelines (even as a mechanic in the middle of the chaos) and not be out in the field racing. And Mary is a pretty great racer – even if she is pretty modest about her success! She started racing around the time she was volunteering with a bike co-op that eventually hired her as a full-time mechanic. The bike co-op is also where Mary learned “how to make stuff work with limited resources” – a skill that has proved invaluable to her as a race mechanic.
The “favorite tool” debate with these two is a tough one to settle, so we’ll call it a draw for now. Rawny didn’t hesitate to call out the EV3 Mulfinger because it makes lacing up wheels much easier. Mary couldn’t decide between her VAR16 lockring tool and her Felco cable cutters. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the three they picked!
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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