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How many CVers here were bike mechanics or bike manufacturers in your previous life?

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How many CVers here were bike mechanics or bike manufacturers in your previous life?

Old 06-12-21, 03:58 PM
  #1  
jdawginsc 
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How many CVers here were bike mechanics or bike manufacturers in your previous life?

Just curious about the background of some of the most knowledgeable folks out there...

I know a few from posts about Trek, working with SunTour etc...posting about previous experiences managing/working in bike shops...

itís fascinating to me...

My colleagues were amazed at the bikes I put together for students and I kept saying ďtrust meĒ I donít know much...I am about at Tier 3.5 to 4 of 6 tiers of expertise...some of you guys are high sixth or even seventh tier!!!
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1987 Crest Cannondale, 1987 Basso Gap, 1992 Rossin Performance EL, 1990ish Van Tuyl, 1980s Vanni Losa Cassani thingy, 1988 Faggin Matrix with not Matrix tubes, 1990ish MBK Atlantique, 1982 Rossin Record, 1987 Trek Elance

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Old 06-12-21, 05:11 PM
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Well dawg,
I worked in the shop industry from 1976 to almost 1990. And spent a few years volunteering in out co-op lately. Now I am a retired curmudgeon and only play with the bikes I like. But they are all C&V! Smiles, MH
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Old 06-12-21, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
Well dawg,
I worked in the shop industry from 1976 to almost 1990. And spent a few years volunteering in out co-op lately. Now I am a retired curmudgeon and only play with the bikes I like. But they are all C&V! Smiles, MH
Thanks for jumping in! Thatís pretty extensive!
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1987 Crest Cannondale, 1987 Basso Gap, 1992 Rossin Performance EL, 1990ish Van Tuyl, 1980s Vanni Losa Cassani thingy, 1988 Faggin Matrix with not Matrix tubes, 1990ish MBK Atlantique, 1982 Rossin Record, 1987 Trek Elance

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Old 06-12-21, 05:48 PM
  #4  
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I was a volunteer mechanic at a couple of non-profit bike shops for about 8 years. Not sure that would qualify me as a mechanic or not.
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Old 06-12-21, 06:14 PM
  #5  
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I built Raleighs, Schwinns, Batavus, Peugeots, Zielemans, and assorted Italians for two shops in the early 70's through 1976.

Box after box.

Raced crits for two teams locally until Honda Elsinores took over my life.

Steve McQueen became my hero.

No, I was not a very "good" mechanic.

I grew to hate building "crappy" bikes.

Way too many boom bikes stunk.
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Old 06-12-21, 09:54 PM
  #6  
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Well, it's been 7 years since this was posted, so I suppose it's time for a new thread!

Rather than have you click back and find my post,

Orinda Spoke and Pedal, Orinida, CA 1980-81 (wrench and sales)
Diablo Bike and Repair, Walnut Creek, CA 1981-83 (wrench and sales)
The First Tri, Berkeley, CA 1983-85 (Manager)
Sales rep in the Bay Area (KHS, Puma, Veltec-Boyer, Plumline) 1985-1988
Garner's Pro Bike Shop, sales, Redwood City and Palo Alto, CA 1988-89 (summers in between getting an engineering degree)
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Old 06-12-21, 10:08 PM
  #7  
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.
...if your bike is on fire, I'm probably best qualified to extinguish it for you. It's a limited area of expertise, but with guys like gugie hanging around, you never know. I was the Saturday manager guy here at the local Bike co-op for five or six years, after I retired. Then I just got too crabby to be around people any more. If it's newer than the late 1980's, I'm probably the wrong person to ask.

A man's got to know his limitations.
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Old 06-12-21, 10:18 PM
  #8  
Jeff Wills
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B&H Cycle, South Pasadena, 1979 - 1984. Schwinn shop, where I learned the trade and read the repair manuals during my lunch breaks.
Euro-Asia Imports, La Crescenta, 1987-1989. Wholesale warehouse, specializing in high-end Shimano and Campagnolo. I learned about the inside of the bike business.
Bike'alog, Goleta. 1989-1992. Cataloging/database service for bicycle shops, where I learned database architecture and met my wife. She convinced me to get out of the bicycle business and into computers.
After a minor-league career doing software testing at Intel and Hewlett-Packard, I transitioned to being a pharmacy technician. I work in a hospital pharmacy where I'm the administrator for the automated dispensing machines.
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Old 06-12-21, 10:47 PM
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C&v cv

While slowly working my way through school, I wrenched on heavy construction equipment, worked as a millright in a steel mill, German car mechanic and ended up working on heavy trucks before I got into bikes.

Spent the 70's in Albuquerque, NM where I worked at 2 shops. At the 2nd one, we got into importing bikes and components (mostly French), wholesale distribution, mail order and frame building. We also explored setting up a frame and bike manufacturing operation like Trek.

When I left the bike business, I got into industrial sales as a manufacturing and cutting tool engineer. Moved to the Silicon Valley.

Traveled all over the US during the ensuing 40 years. From time to time worked with the likes of: Phil Wood, White Industries, Fox Factory, Rock Shock, Cannondale, Ibis, Salsa, Paul Components, Avocet, Specialized and many more to solve manufacturing problems. Sometimes directly, sometimes working with the manufacturers/machine shops that did subcontracting or supplied small parts.

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Old 06-13-21, 12:00 AM
  #10  
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Fuji Cycle Center of NJ '80-'83
Suntour USA '85-'88
Suntour Japan '89-90
Trek Japan '90-'99
Fuji America '99-'01

Hey Jeff, Euro-Asia was my account at Suntour USA, and Bob Hansing would always call me in Jersey late in the day, and want his orders shipped to Cali the same day. We had a very surly warehouse mgr who'd make me pack/box my own pain-in-the-rear rush orders ("I don't care what Bob Hansing wants, I ain't packing it. If you want it out today, box it yourself."). One particular rush order I was low on boxes, UPS was waiting, so I packed 4 or 5 smaller boxes to get it out the door. Bob called me after the order arrived, "What idiot packed my order? Do you know how much extra I had to pay for all those boxes?!?" I said: "That idiot was me, Bob. That's what happens when you call me that late." There was silence for a bit, then "Oh....," no more yelling, no apology, but he start calling earlier in the day. RIP.

As for gomango's comment about janky bikes, I don't know if all ex-mechanics feel the same, but it's really, really hard for me to work up any excitement over anybody's post-'70ish heavy-azz steel-rim bike with cottered steel cranks, nutted hubs, extension levers, cheap-azz saddles and such. Doesn't matter how old it is, doesn't matter how clean it is, I built enough damn Fuji Sport 10s that those heavy sleds can not make my heart race. Don't get me wrong, all bikes are good bikes, and better to be riding a Sports 10 than not riding, and if a Sports 10 was all I could get my mitts on, I'd happily ride it. But those things themselves, on an enthusiasm scale of 1-10, well, they don't get very high on that scale for me.
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Old 06-13-21, 05:14 AM
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California Bikes, Palo Alto, CA, 1986-1989: Small, family-owned shop where I did a bit of everything while I was getting my masterís degree at San Jose State. Itís where I learned to overhaul Sturmey Archer 3-speed hubs and dread when someone would bring in a Firenze for repair. The first year or two we actually patched flatted tubes for $5 while the customer waited. Carried mid-level Nishikis and one or two other brands that I donít remember. They had just about gone out of business when I left after completing my degree, and the owner, Fred Morse, moved to Napa, where he became a painter/artist.

Garnerís Pro, Palo Alto, CA, 1989: Hired as the service manager shortly after finishing my degree (an MA in English/creative writing and a high school teaching credential). My first full-time, salaried job with benefits at $20k/year. Two weeks in I got a call to pick up a couple of classes at a community college in San Jose. Thought about it overnight and gave two weeks notice the next day. And for the next two weeks started my teaching career with two classes at the CC, another section at SJSU, and full-time at the bike shop. @gugie and I missed overlapping (though he was at the Redwood City location) by a few months. I remember assembling a million Specialized MTBs and remarking that this mtn bike thing would never take off.
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Old 06-13-21, 06:13 AM
  #12  
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Always wanted to work in a bicycle shop...was going to go to school for metallurgical engineering toward designing bikes...

Educational Darwinism took care of that one...

instead, from the time I was 11 or 12 I just tinkered...probably picked up a lot of bad bike wrenching habits there...used wd40 and winded to clean bike parts...could never get bearing adjustments perfect...made me jealous of those who could get them just right...

...about 5 years ago, I picked it back up...this time with money...found this place and learned I was not the only one with an addiction and gaps in ability!!! But then some of you guys are encyclopedias...
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1987 Crest Cannondale, 1987 Basso Gap, 1992 Rossin Performance EL, 1990ish Van Tuyl, 1980s Vanni Losa Cassani thingy, 1988 Faggin Matrix with not Matrix tubes, 1990ish MBK Atlantique, 1982 Rossin Record, 1987 Trek Elance

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Old 06-13-21, 06:42 AM
  #13  
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Started working in a bicycle store in 1974/5.
First job out of college was as a bicycle rep.
Second was a manager for a fairly large bicycle retailer(7 stores at that time).
Third was a Diamond Back /Centurion rep.
Next as a sales manager for same.
And on it goes......
Operations manager for a large bicycle oriented ebay retailer.
Marketing manger for a bicycle start up.
Electric bicycle national rep.
Never left the industry, really.
Now semi retired and still doing bicycle stuff(classic and vintage focus)
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Old 06-13-21, 06:57 AM
  #14  
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I worked for a Schwinn Shop from 1984 to 2000 on Long Island, NY. I got my Schwinn Training at their New Jersey warehouse (was it in Cranbury?) It was great to be part of the industry then - the BMX boom was happening and it was the relatively early days of Mountain Bikes. I still have and Ride the Bianchi Road and Cannondale mountain bikes I built. I got to go to Trade Shows in Atlantic City ans Philadelphia, and to additional training events from Trek, Cannondale, Kestrel and Oakley. We did Mechanical Support to an annual Benefits Ride. The own was great - it was a family business - and he was very accommodating with hours when I returned to school. It was a great part of my life... oh, and I got Employee Discounts!
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Old 06-13-21, 08:28 AM
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I worked part-time as a bike shop mech from '96 to '99.

Funny story: sometime eight years ago I was laid off from my full-time job and got the idea of working in a bike shop again. In an interview I had with a chain shop they asks me about the latest trends in cycling seeing how much you are "with it". I think I was trying to show how much I knew about bikes saying something like the Trek 5000 series (one-piece carbon fiber frame) was somehow the "latest technology" which actually has been around for quite some time. Oops. While I totally flubbed up that interview I suspect they just want the young "cool kids" working at their shops, not old codgers like me. And, of course, they don't have to pay them much, either.
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Old 06-13-21, 09:18 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by smurfy View Post
I worked part-time as a bike shop mech from '96 to '99.

Funny story: sometime eight years ago I was laid off from my full-time job and got the idea of working in a bike shop again. In an interview I had with a chain shop they asks me about the latest trends in cycling seeing how much you are "with it". I think I was trying to show how much I knew about bikes saying something like the Trek 5000 series (one-piece carbon fiber frame) was somehow the "latest technology" which actually has been around for quite some time. Oops. While I totally flubbed up that interview I suspect they just want the young "cool kids" working at their shops, not old codgers like me. And, of course, they don't have to pay them much, either.
And those young 'cool' kids can then talk to you like you know nothing. I've never run across bigger blowhards than the cool kids in bike shops. Rant over.
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Old 06-13-21, 09:27 AM
  #17  
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What bike shop? During my LI years of riding, I basically lived at Vicentin, and some cool bike shop on Sunshine Highway maybe, that I saw the most beautiful bike in Pink...a Lotus Supreme maybe. Never did get to buy it...I DID buy my Bianchi Randonneur there in 1981, 1982.

To this day, I donít remember where I bought my Peugeot in 1978? I just remember it being near Huntington...I was 12 and it was the first real bike I owned.

Originally Posted by Bianchi84 View Post
I worked for a Schwinn Shop from 1984 to 2000 on Long Island, NY. I got my Schwinn Training at their New Jersey warehouse (was it in Cranbury?) It was great to be part of the industry then - the BMX boom was happening and it was the relatively early days of Mountain Bikes. I still have and Ride the Bianchi Road and Cannondale mountain bikes I built. I got to go to Trade Shows in Atlantic City ans Philadelphia, and to additional training events from Trek, Cannondale, Kestrel and Oakley. We did Mechanical Support to an annual Benefits Ride. The own was great - it was a family business - and he was very accommodating with hours when I returned to school. It was a great part of my life... oh, and I got Employee Discounts!
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1987 Crest Cannondale, 1987 Basso Gap, 1992 Rossin Performance EL, 1990ish Van Tuyl, 1980s Vanni Losa Cassani thingy, 1988 Faggin Matrix with not Matrix tubes, 1990ish MBK Atlantique, 1982 Rossin Record, 1987 Trek Elance

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Old 06-13-21, 10:06 AM
  #18  
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Guilty as charged... I worked in a Mom & Pop Schwinn Shop from 1985 to about '87. Mostly as "salesman", but when the floor was quiet, I helped out with bike prepping and repairs. I think I was a better mechanic than the other young cheap help they had hired, but that's not really a high bar to clear. They let me go at the end of the summer, when I said something they didn't appreciate (aka, "that I should be looking for a REAL job"). I'd graduated college, and probably said that over my own anxiety and out of frustration of a lackluster economy and job prospects, more than a knock on the shop. Anyways, I liked bicycles before getting the job, and the job just help cement my lifelong connection to them.
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Old 06-13-21, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
What bike shop? During my LI years of riding, I basically lived at Vicentin, and some cool bike shop on Sunshine Highway maybe, that I saw the most beautiful bike in Pink...a Lotus Supreme maybe. Never did get to buy it...I DID buy my Bianchi Randonneur there in 1981, 1982.

To this day, I donít remember where I bought my Peugeot in 1978? I just remember it being near Huntington...I was 12 and it was the first real bike I owned.
Hi, it was Byron Lake Schwinn in Bohemia. We had a second store briefly in Patchouge.
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Old 06-13-21, 11:05 AM
  #20  
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Another Garner's alumnus here. I'm a little fuzzy on the dates after all these years but I worked for them very part time in the original location when they had just graduated from the shop in their mother's garage, maybe 1972?

Stanford Bike Co-op 1973-74? We rented a lot of bikes to Stanford students. At the job interview the owner of the shop handed me a paper bag containing all the parts of a completely torn down Sturmey Archer hub and asked me to assemble it. When I had no problem putting it back together he hired me on the spot... or at least that's how I remember it!

The Bicycle Center, Santa Cruz, CA 1977-1978. My introduction to working on top quality bicycles other than my own. We had frames from Hetchins, Hurlow, Eisentraut, Bruce Gordon, Main D'Or (Kessels), Mercian, Trek, Dean Hovey, and Keith Lippy; but our bread and butter was Centurion. We also sold mopeds so I worked on both bikes and mopeds.

Then worked as service manager for The Marvelous Moped in San Francisco while attending graduate school from 1978 to 1980.

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Old 06-13-21, 03:32 PM
  #21  
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I worked in a few shops. I wasn’t strictly a mechanic though, at some shops I was mechanic, salesperson, cashier, inventory control, others just a service writer. At one shop I was our team mechanic, mostly because I was willing to stay late Fridays and work on bikes. I went to Killington nice as the driver/mechanic/cooler filler upper and actually got a chance to ride in a neutral support vehicle. The coach wanted me to go to Greece with the men’s junior team but I couldn’t get my UCI license soon enough.
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Old 06-13-21, 04:28 PM
  #22  
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Whoa didn't realize how experienced everyone was...

...first bike job was the winter '93-94 at the Bike Rack in Overland Park, KS at 15 building bikes. I was supposed to work that summer, but the owner didn't tell me otherwise until a couple weeks before summer that he didn't have anything for me. I still have and still use the tri-tool that was first given to me to assemble those bikes.

That summer I ended up hanging around Waldo Bikes in KCMO and attempted to convince the owner I could help. He and I made a bet that if I sold a bike to the next person who walked in the door, then I could work there. A couple walked in through the door right after. I proceeded to sell two bikes, two helmets, two locks, two water bottles, and two bike bags to the pair. He gave me 20 bucks and a job. I work part-time and full-time for him through my first year of college after. That was summer of '94 through '99 or so. Worked as both a mechanic and a sales guy. Small shop, learned how to build wheels there on my own. Afterwards worked at a machine shop part-time while learning mechanical engineering in college. And then a life as a factory engineer in some form or another since.

I guess I should say I did build two different human-powered vehicle projects while at school. Lots of welding and carbon fiber cowling development. I believe the year I competed for ASME HPV competition I came in as the 15th fastest male and through a mistake the 6th fastest female 🤣.

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Old 06-13-21, 04:37 PM
  #23  
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During the Summer of Ď74 I worked in Redmond Cycle in Redmond, WA. This was the height of the bike boom and I repaired countless Schwinns and Peugeots. The owner loved making fun of my unreliable Lambert. There was a red Paramount P-15 on display that I dreamed of owning someday.
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Old 06-13-21, 08:25 PM
  #24  
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How many CVers here were bike mechanics in a previous life?
​​​​​​I want to say I wasn't, but I should consult Shirley MacLaine first. You never know, and I don't want to live by absolutes.
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Old 06-13-21, 09:16 PM
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jjhabbs 
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Yes. Went to Schwinn Service School in 1983. Managed a shop till 89. Was the GT Factory Rep in Chicago from 89-99.

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