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20th May 2024

Race Mechanic work!

So what is the differance between a shop mechanic and race mechanic? We catch up with Rik Van Velzen and GT Kursh Tunap and find this out at last month UCI Czech stage race

  1. What jobs do you have to do as a race mechanic? A full check of race and spare bikes is imperative e.g. checking gears, brakes etc. Placing the race numbers and checking tyre pressure is correct for the conditions and weather the riders will encounter during the race. The next slightly tricky bit is placing the spare bikes in the correct order on the car; if you have a GC rider or ride going for a win you want to access their bike quickly if they need a bike change so you might put that bike rear right, above where the mechanic sits during the race. 

    During the race:

       Changing wheels in the event of a flat tire, changing bicycles in the event of mechanical problems or a crash. Indicate water bottles from the car. Constantly keeping an eye on riders who are between the cars. Giving instructions/warning the sports director if dangerous situations occur during the race.

       After the race, wash the bikes, check them and prepare them for the next day.

  1. How is it different to be a race mechanic than to work in a shop?  As a race mechanic, you don’t have fixed working hours. You’re the first to start the day and the last to finish. You’re not done until all the work is done, because you can’t postpone anything until the next day, the bikes have to be 100% good again. In a store you finish working when it’s time, the next day you can continue with the job. Also, you don’t have a complete workbench with all kinds of tools at your disposal as a race mechanic. You have all the necessary tools with you in a suitcase and you work in the open air with the bike on a mounting stand. If you’re lucky, the weather 😉 will be nice.
  1. What is the most stressful thing about working as a race mechanic:  Time pressure plays an important role in life as a race mechanic. The bikes have to be ready properly and on time. The race waits for no one, so the bikes have to be top again well before the race. Solving “last minute problems” before the start of a race. If riders come at the last minute with a problem with their bike, you have to be able to stay calm and switch gears to analyze the problem and come up with a solution to the problem at the same time. During the race, the quick change of the wheels or the bike when a rider is in a big crash.
  1. What’s the best thing about being a race mechanic? I am happy when the girls are happy with their bikes. If the bikes are 100% good before the start and the ladies can race the whole race without mechanical problems, that makes me happy, because then I have done my job well.  No 1 day is the same. Every time it’s a different match, so it’s a different environment. You never know what to expect, because no two races are the same. Sometimes you have a lot of work to do and sometimes you can stay in the team car without having to take action during the race. In a store, it’s the same work and the same workplace every day. Drilling 🙄
  1. What tools do you use the most as a race mechanic?

       The most important thing is a set of good Allen keys, because with them you can loosen, tighten and adjust almost everything, such as:

       Adjusting/centering brakes

       Adjusting derailleurs

       Adjusting headset clearance

       Adjust/straighten the handlebar

       Securing the saddle/seatpost

 

  1. Bonus question: What do you need as a race mechanic? Enough technical knowledge to know everything about the bikes you work with. For all possible problems, you need to know the right solution. You also need to know how the bike is put together from A to Z and you need to know how to adjust all the parts. You need to be able to plan ahead. Which bikes and materials are needed when and when do they need to be ready. Never do things at the last minute that you could/should have done earlier, always work ahead so that you have time to spare instead of running out. You have to be able to switch quickly and well from a problem to the solution of the problem and also be able to solve it quickly.  Always stay calm, stress is not good for yourself, but also not good for the riders. They shouldn’t have to worry about their equipment, that’s what the race mechanic is for, they need to be able to rely on.

2nd May 2024

Female Cycle Mechanics! 

We are so proud to hear Shavari, one of our Bike Inn graduates discussing all things Female Cycle Mechanics on the BBC  World Service: 

 

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3ct5zbs

April 2024

Bike Inn Bike Fit:

 

The Bike Inn is now offering Bike Fit’s to clients to allow for optimum conform or performance.

I recently had a bike fit with Fiona at The Bike Inn, Appleby. I wanted to order a new gravel bike so decided to get fitted to make sure I got the correct size bike, as I have made the mistake before of buying the wrong size bike and being in a lot of discomfort while riding. The Bike Inn staff were very welcoming, and the coffee was flowing from the minute I got there. I had a consultation with Fiona to give her an idea of what I wanted to get out of the bike fit, she left no stone unturned with her questions, my main goal was to be as comfortable as possible in order to be able to do some longer distance cycling.

 

The Bike Inn happened to have a demo bike of the bike I wanted to order, this meant I could be fitted on that bike. Fiona was extremely thorough in getting me in the best position possible and her knowledge of bike fitting was excellent, she is also a qualified bicycle mechanic so was able to do all the adjustments needed. After getting the bike set up, I had the opportunity to take it out for a spin on the local roads, I couldn’t believe how comfortable it was riding a bike set up properly for me.

 

I highly recommend anyone looking for a bike fit to head down and see Fiona at The Bike Inn.”        Chris Gracie November 2023