Professional Development

During the last two weeks of January 2019, RBP Mechanic Educator Dave Barto attended a comprehensive, two-week professional level bicycle mechanic class at United Bicycle Institute (UBI) in Ashland, Oregon. We asked him to share about the experience and what he took from it. Dave begins, “Although I have worked as a bike mechanic since 2009, I believed I would benefit from formal classroom training. I have been wanting to attend this class for the past 10 years.”

The class structure was short lectures and a large amount of time for hands-on learning of all systems, on different types of bicycles. The class was limited to 15 students. Three different instructors alternated through lecture topics, and during hands-on portions, all three were available to answer questions, provide guidance and evaluate progress. The class met Monday through Friday for eight-hour classroom instruction periods. Students also had an opportunity to attend four, two-hour evening sessions to work on class exercises or personal bike projects.

Students in the class ranged in age from 18 to 65. Most either currently work as mechanics or want to open their own shops. A few students were not currently employed as mechanics but were taking the class to develop skills to perform professional-level service on their own bicycles. One other mechanic was employed in a community bicycle shop.

At the end of the classroom training all students had the opportunity to take a written exam to receive certification as a “Bicycle Technician.” I was one of 12 students in my class to pass the exam and receive this certification.

During the class, I learned new techniques in wheel building, hydraulic brake systems, bicycle fit, and suspension service and setup. This class was my first opportunity to fully service a bicycle suspension system. One of the most important things I learned is that each manufacturer provides a large amount of technical information specific to their equipment. This information is available and should be reviewed as necessary before repairs and final adjustments are completed.

The new techniques and repair methods I learned at this class will help me become more efficient with my time on each repair. I would encourage my co-workers to consider attending this training.

Thanks for the yarn, Dave! In fact, we do have one other staff member currently attending the same courses in Portland on a QBP Women’s Bike Mechanic Scholarship. We are looking forward to hearing from Bridget about her experience, next.

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