Advancing gender diversity in the bike industry is one big way we can expand ridership. That’s why, each year, QBP sends a cohort of gender-diverse mechanics to a professional bike mechanic class. We sat down with one QBP Bike Mechanic Scholarship recipient to see how attending this class impacted her career.
Year in Program: 2016
Shop: Family Bicycles in Kansas City, MO
What kinds of things did you learn?
The most important thing I learned was how to sleep in a room with five other people! I snore and so did three of the others. The trick is to go to sleep first, not last!
I also learned how to service a fork, overhaul a bottom bracket, and true a wheel.
Why did you apply for the scholarship?
I own Family Bicycles and have several employees who do the mechanical stuff day-to-day. I wanted a better understanding of how some of the service is done so that I could do repairs at events.
How did the QBMS help you further your career?
The time spent at UBI gave me confidence, built friendships, and professional relationships…and helped me remember that I love bikes!
"I think most shop owners would benefit from this type of class. I have a better appreciation for what it takes to complete a tune-up and why sometimes a simple repair isn’t simple."
What would you say to someone who’s on the fence about applying?
Go ahead and apply. Just filling out the application will make you think about why you are in the cycling industry and will help you determine if you want to spend more time growing a career in cycling.
What were your classmates like?
All of the women in my class were thrilled to be at UBI and excited to learn a more about mechanics. There were three other shop owners, and the others wanted to become mechanics. It was a great mix of women from around the country. I still keep in touch with a few of them on Facebook.
What were the instructors like?
When I was at UBI, all the instructors were men. They were all excited and remarked that all of us worked hard and weren’t as competitive and show off-y as some of the men.
What was the most helpful thing you learned?
The most helpful thing was working with someone else and explaining how the process worked [to them]. It helped me to be able to better explain concepts to customers. Knowing how the mechanic and repair process works helps me interact efficiently with my employees and better explain processes to customers.
What was the most difficult thing you learned?
The most difficult task was wheel building. I have issues with directions! Seriously, it’s been a problem all of my life. Left vs. right and picturing how things fit together is difficult. I can do it, but it takes me longer. I barely completed the wheel build in the allotted time, but I did it. The process helped me realize that it’s okay to not be the best at every task and to appreciate and properly compensate those mechanics who can build a great wheel.