Bike Repair Goes to College in Minnesota

Casey Coughlin teaches bicycle repair at Minneapolis College in Minnesota, one of only two colleges to offer a certificate program in the subject. While applying to graduate school she worked as a bike repair tech and later as a manager at Erik’s Bikes in Rochester.

We ask Casey:

  • What are some of the ways professional bike mechanics learn the trade? What’s the most common path to getting a job in a bike shop?
  • Why do you think the demand for bike mechanics is projected to increase over the next few years? Is this related to the Covid bike boom?
  • When learning to become a bike mechanic, what is the first repair you start with? Why?
  • Is problem solving something you can teach bike mechanics?
  • What does your prospective student look like?
  • Is there any sort of continuing education for bike mechanics?
  • Do today’s bike mechanics need additional skill sets to deal with more complicated systems like e-bikes?
  • Beyond being able to work on bikes, what sorts of skills do shop employees and future managers need to develop?
  • Are there certain repairs that are more fun, or satisfying than others? Are there jobs no one wants to do in the shop?
  • What makes working in a bike shop, or in the bike industry, a good career?

Learn more about the Bicycle Assembly and Repair Technician Certificate at the Minneapolis College website.

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