Ask Nick: The mechanics’ manifesto
After questions on tire pressure and my favorite chain lube, the most popular question I’m asked is how to become a pro team mechanic. There is no simple answer because it’s a combination of calling, personality and skill.
I could write a treatise on the subject but instead, in honor of the Amgen Tour of California, I’m going to let my camera do the talking. Some of the best mechanics in the world are here. So far they’ve worked in far-less-than-ideal conditions. For the WorldTour teams the combination of rental trucks and poor weather has made it particularly tricky.
I’ll add only a few words of wisdom to the images. For those of you aspiring to join the pro ranks as a mechanic, listen up. This is the CliffsNotes version of my mechanic’s manifesto:
• Focus on the things you can control and do them well. For the rest, go with the flow.
• Pay attention and learn to listen. You’ll earn respect and improve more quickly.
• Work hard, really hard. But make sure to have some fun.
• Pack light.
• Remember that it’s not about you, it’s about the bike racers.
• There isn’t much room for ego among staff members (nor is it helpful).
• Above all else look out for your riders’ safety and your sponsors.
That’s it. It’s not rocket science. But it isn’t easy either. If you get homesick easily or if you’re particular about food and other creature comforts, stay home. But if you want to see parking lots all over the world, this could be the job for you.
Talk to local pros about helping out. You’ll have to give away a bit of work to build a reputation, but make sure you draw a line. Do not volunteer to work for a team. By doing so you undermine the earning power of established mechanics. You deserve to get paid for the work you do. Then just keep at it. Best of luck!