Becoming a successful bike mechanic requires bike repair know-how. So whether your goal is to become the go-to bicycle mechanic guru or you’re just looking to save on expensive bike shop repair fees, you need to know more than how to turn a wrench. You need training, and you have a few choices.
About Bike Repair Schools
School types vary from industry-respected trade schools with courses offering bike mechanic certifications upon graduation to local bike shop schools and organizations offering simple how-to training classes. Let’s explore those choices, things to consider, along with the positives and negatives of each.
Bicycle Maintenance Schools
There are a number of schools that offer training in bike repair and maintenance. These schools may offer both hands-on training and classroom instruction in topics such as bike mechanics, bike fitting, and customer service. Many of these schools are affiliated with bike shops or other organizations in the cycling industry, and may offer internships or job placement assistance to graduates. Courses usually range from an introduction to bike repair to the more advanced bike classes such as frame building and welding classes.
Bike mechanic trade school certifications are like the equivalent of a college degree in the biking industry. If you are looking to land a job as a bicycle mechanic or add impressive qualifications to your resume, a bike mechanic certification will make the most significant impact.
You may also want to consider the length and cost of the program, as well as the reputation and experience of the instructors. It is also a good idea to ask about job placement assistance and the availability of internships or other practical experience opportunities. Depending on the course’s length and the number of courses you select, you often attend anywhere from a couple of days to two weeks or more.
For example, two of the largest and most popular biking building and repair schools are the United Bicycle Institute (UBI) and Barnett Bicycle Institute (BBI). These facilities are dedicated to bike building and maintenance.
Both school’s costs are very competitive. For example, attending the 5 day/40-hour Introduction to Bicycle Maintenance Course at UBI runs about $950.00. Over at BBI, their introductory course Bicycle Assembly and Maintenance, a comparable introductory course, is also 5 days, or a 40-hour course is around $999.00.
So choosing between the schools may be less of a cost consideration and more of a geographic decision. Make sure to consider the cost of attending the school and required books and materials, plus the cost of travel, housing, and food expenses while you are away from home. So unless one of these schools is right in your backyard, most likely you’re coming out-of-pocket a couple thousand when it’s said and done.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. If you can spare a week and have a couple of thousand dollars to cover the expense of attending a bike mechanic school, I highly recommend it. It’s worth the investment.
Bike Shops and Local Organizations
Local bike shops and community organizations are usually less structured and may offer completion of training certificates for simply attending. It isn’t easy to gauge the quality of the instruction, as it will vary. Usually, their classes cost less, and odds are you have one local, which reduces travel costs as you can return home daily.
Costs can range from a few hundred dollars or less at a bike school. Often you can find local biking enthusiasts putting on a training class or public events at community centers offering classes for very little. They are usually available after hours or on weekends. For those of us on a budget and with busy schedules, these may be a great option.
Bicycle Maintenance Schools, Courses and Classes
|State,School Name,Website,Phone Number,Address|
|Arizona,Bicycle Mechanics Institute,https||//www.bikepros.org/,(602) 253-4515,1625 E. Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85016|
|Arizona,Bike Saviours,https||//bikesaviours.org/,(480) 219-9009,1936 E. University Drive #11, Tempe, AZ 85281|
|California,Barnett Bicycle Institute,https||//www.bbinstitute.com/,(800) 793-5850,2724 Del Prado Blvd S, Suite 101, Cape Coral, FL 33904|
|California,Bicycle Mechanics Institute,https||//www.bikepros.org/,(714) 914-5448,533 W. Commonwealth Ave, Fullerton, CA 92832|
|California,The Bicycle Kitchen,https||//www.thebicyclekitchen.com/,(323) 662-2776,4429 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029|
|California,UBI Frame Building and Repair Courses,https||//framebuilding.com/,(541) 488-1121,3961 Crater Lake Ave, Medford, OR 97504|
|California,SLO Bike Kitchen,https||//slobikekitchen.org/,(805) 547-2055,860 Pacific St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401|
|Colorado,Community Cycles,https||//communitycycles.org/,(303) 413-0228,2805 Wilderness Place, Suite 1000, Boulder, CO 80301|
|Colorado,The Recyclery,https||//therecyclery.org/,(970) 776-7198,4031 S. Mason St, Fort Collins, CO 80525|
|Florida,American Bicycle Education Association,http||//www.abae.us/,(239) 220-0208,11709 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs, FL 34135|
|Georgia,Atlanta Bicycle Coalition,https||//www.atlantabike.org/bike101,(404) 881-1112,50 Hurt Plaza SE, Suite 425, Atlanta, GA 30303|
|Illinois,West Town Bikes,https||//westtownbikes.org/,(773) 772-4870,1147 N. Campbell Ave, Chicago, IL 60622|
|Illinois,Working Bikes Cooperative,https||//www.workingbikes.org/,(773) 847-5440,2434 S. Western Ave, Chicago, IL 60608|
|Maine,Bicycle Coalition of Maine,https||//www.bikemaine.org/,(207) 623-4511,34 Hutchins Dr, Manchester, ME 04351|
|Massachusetts,Bikes Not Bombs,https||//bikesnotbombs.org/,(617) 522-0222,284 Amory St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130|
|Massachusetts,The Broadway Bicycle School,https||//www.broadwaybicycleschool.com/,(617) 776-1835,351 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139|
|Michigan,Kalamazoo Bike School,https||//www.kalamazoobikeschool.org/,(269) 220-0525,345 N. Burdick St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007|
|Minnesota,Quality Bicycle Products,https||//qbp.com/quality-bicycle-mechanics-school,(800) 346-0004,6400 W. 105th St|
Bike Repair Books
There are some really great bike repair books available to purchase. While books and manuals are great for reference, nothing beats seeing the procedure in action.
Online Bicycle Repair Videos
As with anything else in life, decisions often come down to cost and free time. If either of those is a factor, bicycle repair classes may not be an option. However, don’t give up hope. There is no reason you can not be self-taught.
With instructional videos, you can learn what you want when you want, at your own pace, all from home. In addition, videos have the advantage of viewing them in action as often as needed. Dave Delgado of DIY Bike Repair put together one of the largest and most incredible collections of quality instructional bike repair videos and manuals available online.
He covers topics from introductory bike maintenance to advanced repair topics. There are over 200 instructional bike repair videos. You can scour the internet for bicycle repair videos all day long, but you will not find a more comprehensive and complete set compared to what he offers. It’s over 10 hours of instruction and covers hundreds of topics.
Dave’s DIYBikeRepair Sample Video:
After viewing these bike repair training videos, you should feel confident doing day-to-day preventative bike maintenance, tune-ups, and even advanced repairs.