#mechancmonday honors Gal Alon
Our first Mechanic Monday honoree of April is Gal Salvador Alon, who comes to us from Minnetonka, Minnesota by way of Israel!
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.
Gal Alon is both a professional mechanic and a UCI official. He is relatively new to full-time work in the cycling industry, but has already been a part of several high-profile projects and worked with some of the very best people and programs in our business. Gal is a huge supporter of professional education for cycling mechanics – a core piece of PBMA’s mission – so we had a lot to talk about with him above and beyond his background in the industry. We are pleased to share some of Gal’s story with you today, in his own words.
PBMA: How did you become involved in cycling and/or cycling mechanics?
GA: I got in to cycling after my brother quit Tri racing due to a back injury. I’ve been a mechanic started before my Army service, and [my cycling industry career] took off the day after I was discharged, when I started working for the Cannondale dealer in Israel. In 2007, Shimano choose my company to be the sole distributor in Israel and I become the Tech Manager for Shimano Israel. I did that from 2007 until 2014, and then in 2014 I moved to the US.
PBMA: Do you have a favorite moment or story from your time in the cycling industry?
GA: I think its splits to two moments, one as a mechanic and one as a UCI official. The mechanic one is getting the keys for an ambulance from Pat Sorensen, the owner of Penn Cycle. I was in charge of converting the ambulance in to an event support rig. Pat just told me to “build it to the best I can” and it turned out to be my biggest project in the industry! Three months later, I got the rig set up with big help from Park Tool and Saris bike racks. The UCI official one is meeting Emily Betty and sitting on the floor talking about life and the industry. She is an amazing person to talk to!
PBMA: What motivation or advice would you give to aspiring professional bicycle mechanics?
GA: You’ve got to love this job to your core [because it is] exciting!! Being a pro bike mechanic is not the best job, as far as rewards or pay rate. I do it for the smiles and happiness when I see people riding their bikes. In 2015, I ran 80 events with the Penn Cycle ambulance, and I got to meet and see so many people just having a good time riding their bikes. The best part for me is the smile you get when you help someone to fix his [or her] problem and then meet him [or her] a week later in a different event and he [or she] tells you how much you helped with everything.
PBMA: What is your favorite tool?
GA: I am a serious tool junkie and always go after the best ones – the ones that make my job better, more efficient, and professional. I think of all the steel/plastic tools I have, my favorite one is my little Dell tablet. It is the best tool that gives me the access to all the knowledge I need to do my job. I believe in being ultra-portable so I have my tablet, keyboard, and mouse on me at all times. I set up all the software I need for Shimano DI2 and Bosch e-bikes, have organized folders and links to all the tech websites I need access to, like Shimano S-Tec, SRAM, Trek U, Cannondale, Thule, and many more. Knowledge is power, and access to it is a key to being a successful mechanic.
PBMA: Wow, well said! “Knowledge is power, and access to it is a key to being a successful mechanic.” We couldn’t agree more!
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, 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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