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Bike mechanic training

gallowayphantomgallowayphantom Posts: 36
edited July 2013 in Workshop
Hi All
for years I've tinkered with my bikes, doing all the basic maintenance and repairs, now I'm thinking of taking it up a notch and become a mechanic and maybe earn a few bob. There's cytech level 1-2 courses with various companies, then there's city and guilds level 2 with the Bike Inn and Downland cycles to name but 2. Any feed back on the best way forward would be appreciated.

Posts

  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    Hi All
    for years I've tinkered with my bikes, doing all the basic maintenance and repairs, now I'm thinking of taking it up a notch and become a mechanic and maybe earn a few bob. There's cytech level 1-2 courses with various companies, then there's city and guilds level 2 with the Bike Inn and Downland cycles to name but 2. Any feed back on the best way forward would be appreciated.
    I did the C&G course at the Bike Inn a few years ago and enjoyed it a lot and found the instruction very thorough, practical and useful. The wheel building part of the course was especially good.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,168
    Having recently retired I was thinking of doing the Cytech courses to give me an option of doing a bit of work from home. I understand the Tech 1 course is a bit of a teaching you to suck eggs but has to be done to progress to Tech 2. As for the Bike Inn courses; haven't C&G been replaced by NVQs or something now and if so, how does this affect their training validation?
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    I have to ask is it worth it?
    what do you actually need to know?

    or do you just want the bit of paper?

    the only thing that can be usful and is easier to be taught than to learn is wheel building but even then with a good taining manual that is not to hard.

    all the specs for and service info for can be found on the makers sites and is more current than any "book" or course.

    to take your tinkering up a level read Parktools webby. to go of on a tangent and above read Sheldons pages.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    It is certainly true that one can learn a hell of a lot on the net, via You Tube or websites such as Park Tools' or the (alas no longer updated) Sheldon Brown's site, but it is also true that we live in a highly litigious society and if you are planning to go into a business, and earn money from wrenching, you will do well to have some kind of recognised certificate of competency both in terms of your own liability insurance and in case something goes wrong and you find yourself at the pointy end of a lawsuit.

    If somebody gets hurt as a result of a repair job (whether it's your fault or not) and you get sued do you really want to sit there on the witness stand and tell the court how you learned it all on You Tube?
  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 81,520 Lives Here
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    (alas no longer updated) Sheldon Brown's site,
    not visited it recently then.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,478
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    It is certainly true that one can learn a hell of a lot on the net, via You Tube or websites such as Park Tools' or the (alas no longer updated) Sheldon Brown's site, but it is also true that we live in a highly litigious society and if you are planning to go into a business, and earn money from wrenching, you will do well to have some kind of recognised certificate of competency both in terms of your own liability insurance and in case something goes wrong and you find yourself at the pointy end of a lawsuit.

    If somebody gets hurt as a result of a repair job (whether it's your fault or not) and you get sued do you really want to sit there on the witness stand and tell the court how you learned it all on You Tube?

    It makes not a jot of difference where you learned your trade - if you make a mistake you make a mistake. Training cannot possibly cover every single combination of installations and what needs to be done in every eventuality - you have to work to the best of your knowledge - liability insurance should cover you for any genuine accident - be than an oversight or un-trained error - not that it should substitute for a mech knowing his/her own limits.

    I'd rather an experienced mech worked on my bike that someone straight out of training ...
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    slowbike wrote:
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    It is certainly true that one can learn a hell of a lot on the net, via You Tube or websites such as Park Tools' or the (alas no longer updated) Sheldon Brown's site, but it is also true that we live in a highly litigious society and if you are planning to go into a business, and earn money from wrenching, you will do well to have some kind of recognised certificate of competency both in terms of your own liability insurance and in case something goes wrong and you find yourself at the pointy end of a lawsuit.

    If somebody gets hurt as a result of a repair job (whether it's your fault or not) and you get sued do you really want to sit there on the witness stand and tell the court how you learned it all on You Tube?

    It makes not a jot of difference where you learned your trade - if you make a mistake you make a mistake. Training cannot possibly cover every single combination of installations and what needs to be done in every eventuality - you have to work to the best of your knowledge - liability insurance should cover you for any genuine accident - be than an oversight or un-trained error - not that it should substitute for a mech knowing his/her own limits.

    I'd rather an experienced mech worked on my bike that someone straight out of training ...
    You might not think it makes a jot of difference if you are informally trained or if you have some sort if formal qualification, but if you get into trouble and more particularly into court lawyers and insurance underwriters will think otherwise and they can make it stick.
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    nicklouse wrote:
    Hoopdriver wrote:
    (alas no longer updated) Sheldon Brown's site,
    not visited it recently then.
    No I haven't because for quite some time it had not been updated. If they are updating it now, great. That still does not change the validity of the point I was making with regards to the potential legal and insurance issues that go with setting yourself up as a professional mechanic.
  • migrantwingmigrantwing Posts: 385
    :roll:
    Ghost Race 5000 (2011) Shimano 105 Black
    Carrera TDF (2007)

    http://www.bike-discount.de/#

    http://www.bike24.com/
  • I learned a lot off the web and books and just stripping the bikes down but I would prefer a piece of paper to show I've done some formal training. I here the Cytec course is over priced and the c&g course id just as good and cheaper. My plan is an home based/mobile business.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,168
    I'd agree that I'd rather have a document that proves I've attended and passed a recognised qualification than risk a settlement based on my supposed ignorance. Having previously had my bikes "serviced" or "Set up" by my LBS to an appalling standard, I wouldn't use them again preferring to learn to do it myself. Having gained that knowledge and experience, you do realise there are owners out there without the time or wherewithal to be in a position to do their own maintenance and keep going back to the LBS for in my experience a shoddy service. My LBS has been around for decades so you'd assume they know what they're doing and have the experience to do it. Clearly not.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,168
    For me that document loses all credibility due to the appalling spelling and grammar. The author may be advocating the attendance of various courses, but I gave up after the first few sentences.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 24,647
    nicklouse wrote:
    I have to ask is it worth it?
    what do you actually need to know?

    or do you just want the bit of paper?

    the only thing that can be usful and is easier to be taught than to learn is wheel building but even then with a good taining manual that is not to hard.

    all the specs for and service info for can be found on the makers sites and is more current than any "book" or course.

    to take your tinkering up a level read Parktools webby. to go of on a tangent and above read Sheldons pages.

    I second Nicklouse... there is no need whatsoever for the piece of paper unless you want to go and work as a mechanic in a shop, which is hardly the best job in the world (not the worst either).
    There is nothing they can teach you that you can't pick up yourself free of charge and take it to the next level. When I compare the work I do on my bike with that I have seen done by professionals boasting certificates, any difference is in my favour... :wink:
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,168
    nicklouse wrote:
    I have to ask is it worth it?
    what do you actually need to know?

    or do you just want the bit of paper?

    the only thing that can be usful and is easier to be taught than to learn is wheel building but even then with a good taining manual that is not to hard.

    all the specs for and service info for can be found on the makers sites and is more current than any "book" or course.

    to take your tinkering up a level read Parktools webby. to go of on a tangent and above read Sheldons pages.

    I second Nicklouse... there is no need whatsoever for the piece of paper unless you want to go and work as a mechanic in a shop, which is hardly the best job in the world (not the worst either).
    There is nothing they can teach you that you can't pick up yourself free of charge and take it to the next level. When I compare the work I do on my bike with that I have seen done by professionals boasting certificates, any difference is in my favour... :wink:

    Read the posts from interested parties. This isn't about getting a certificate to do your own servicing and repairs but possibly going in to business.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,890
    I'm curious, so how it a certificate going to help you go into business as a cycle mechanic? Do you mean get a job in the trade or setup yourself, surely it's about reputation in the trade as well as having the qualifications. Wouldn't you have to work in the trade at a LBS for a while before going self employed?
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    giant man wrote:
    I'm curious, so how it a certificate going to help you go into business as a cycle mechanic? Do you mean get a job in the trade or setup yourself, surely it's about reputation in the trade as well as having the qualifications. Wouldn't you have to work in the trade at a LBS for a while before going self employed?
    To be sure it would be a good idea - probably even essential - to work in a shop before going solo to gain as much hands-on experience as possible.

    The usefulness of a certificate would be for insurance purposes and for possible legal/liability issues should something go pear-shaped and you find yourself in court.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    There a good mechanics and bad ones no matter the piece of paper they have. At some point I will have to employ a mechanic and a qualification will not help them get that job there skills will and problem solving abilities will.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,168
    My intention is not to go self employed on a large scale but more of a word of mouth cottage industry. I'm retired now and don't need to work for financial security. I need to work a little to keep the grey matter and me active. My old work has enough people interested in a service and in this day and age, a piece of paper that says I attended and successfully passed a recognised training course will provide protection against litigious claimants in the event of an accident where procedure has been followed correctly but a part has failed.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    A bit of paper will not stop a claim as you will have to prove that you followed proper proceedures. Liability insurance is must for anyone doing commercial work. The qulaification is there as it will reassure some customers and say to a prospective bike shop your skill are to a certain standard. Working in a shop or doing repairs yourself though commercailly is different to Cyctech 2 or 3 and you will encounter stuff you have never seen before. I am sure you are aware of this. Everyday can be a school day. Did a Klein quantum press fit BB a couple of weeks ago for the first time, there are special unobatainable tools to remove the bearings but I had to make one up using some other tools I have, and it worked surprisingly well. Pressing the bearings in is no problem.

    When I opened my shop I spent £4k on tools (that just got me started) and I am still buying more 2 years later. I am not trying to put you off but the bike trade is an expensive one to be in. Also minium orders from most suppliers are £100-£150 for carriage free with a trade account this means you will have to stock up on allot of things. Before you know it you will have a shop. Also many will not touch the mobile/home mechanic leaving the bread and butter distributors. I can let you know a couple of names if you like as finding them can be difficult. You do not want to buying stuff at retail prices as you will make no money at all.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,168
    Well aware that liability insurance is required, but the certificate helps if someone is trying to say you've guessed how to do things rather than been trained. I've no intention of advertising for work as all I want is something to keep the grey matter going and keep me active in retirement. If I end up doing more than 3 days a week of work maximum, I'll be pissed off. Some of those supplier details would be beneficial though thank you. I'm only 52 this year so a long way to go yet before I'm ready for the scrap heap.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • onbike 1939onbike 1939 Posts: 708
    philthy3 wrote:
    Well aware that liability insurance is required, but the certificate helps if someone is trying to say you've guessed how to do things rather than been trained. I've no intention of advertising for work as all I want is something to keep the grey matter going and keep me active in retirement. If I end up doing more than 3 days a week of work maximum, I'll be pissed off. Some of those supplier details would be beneficial though thank you. I'm only 52 this year so a long way to go yet before I'm ready for the scrap heap.

    If your motivation is to keep your brain active then why not work as a volunteer in a Bike Co-op? No start-up expenses needed and a variety of work. If you have a fair degree of experience then you will be welcomed I'm sure. I found the whole experience very gratifying and would still be there if not for my bad health.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,168
    No intention of working for anybody else again if I can help it and do enough charitable activities elsewhere.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,890
    philthy3 wrote:
    Well aware that liability insurance is required, but the certificate helps if someone is trying to say you've guessed how to do things rather than been trained. I've no intention of advertising for work as all I want is something to keep the grey matter going and keep me active in retirement. If I end up doing more than 3 days a week of work maximum, I'll be pissed off. Some of those supplier details would be beneficial though thank you. I'm only 52 this year so a long way to go yet before I'm ready for the scrap heap.
    hmmm something tells me it will be more full time than that, just to get going. This is something I have been thinking about funnily enough, there should be call for a good (mobile) bike mechanic service work surely.
  • maringirlmaringirl Posts: 194
    See this - there are now quite a lot of us around the country - all qualified and insured:
    http://www.cyclefix.net/p/map-listing.html
    My business has been running for over 8 years now - when I started there were a handful of outfits now there are loads and we are very, very busy - could be 24/7 if we wanted to be.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,168
    giant man wrote:
    philthy3 wrote:
    Well aware that liability insurance is required, but the certificate helps if someone is trying to say you've guessed how to do things rather than been trained. I've no intention of advertising for work as all I want is something to keep the grey matter going and keep me active in retirement. If I end up doing more than 3 days a week of work maximum, I'll be pissed off. Some of those supplier details would be beneficial though thank you. I'm only 52 this year so a long way to go yet before I'm ready for the scrap heap.
    hmmm something tells me it will be more full time than that, just to get going. This is something I have been thinking about funnily enough, there should be call for a good (mobile) bike mechanic service work surely.

    Not at all. You can be as busy as you want to be. As I say, I'm retired and don't want to do this for any perceived profits or to build a successful business. I'm not going to be working at a loss, but I won't have the time margins of a LBS who may give an hour or two to service a bike whereas it would take as long as it takes to be done thoroughly by me. There's no thought process of having to get this one done so I can move on to the next one so I'm turning over so much each day. One bike a week is fine by me and probably the customer who will know their bike has my full attention instead of it being in a pile of things to do today. I've no intention of leaving a legacy behind me when I stumble off this mortal coil.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
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