How To Get A Job In The MTB Industry | Mountain Bike Careers

How To Get A Job In The MTB Industry | Mountain Bike Careers


– We’re quite lucky here at GMBN that we’ve been able to turn our passions about mountain biking into our jobs. But how can you do it? And what sort of jobs
can you look at getting to make your life all
about mountain biking? Well, you’ll be surprised
just how many opportunities there are, let’s have a look. (relaxed electronic music) So first off, where do you even begin? Well, if you’re still in school, then you can think about
the sorts of skills and education you’ll need
to get the right start. Photography and writing are solid skills for the media side of things, otherwise, if you want to race professionally, then racing and getting great results will lead to opportunities. And for design and engineering, make sure your maths is up to scratch. What about looking for jobs? You can start a normal
job website, of course, and search for industry jobs, but oftentimes the right
positions aren’t that searchable on those types of sites. Fortunately, there are some
dedicated bike job websites that offer far more opportunities. A great resource in the UK is BikeBiz and in the US, Bicycle Retailer. There are jobs ranging from shop mechanics to sales, to brand managers
and even journalists. Other resources are brands themselves like SRAM, Shimano, and
Santa Cruz for example. You can often find jobs
and even internships being advertised on their
own dedicated job websites. Otherwise, your local
bike shop and bike paths are always looking for helping hands, especially during the high-season. For some of the resources we found, check out the description down below. The first port of call for most riders looking to make a living
out of mountain biking is by getting sponsored for riding itself. It’s pretty much the dream because who doesn’t want to get paid for riding and get free equipment at the same time? It’s brilliant. However, it’s easier said than done, you really need to be fast, stylish, or very very good at getting
noticed, but it’s doable. Though a couple of other ways are to build up your style points
and social media following to become an ambassador
or a lifestyle athlete or an influencer. Another riding-based way to get paid is to ride and become a
skills coach or a guide. You’re paid to be outside on your bike and all without chasing
sponsors or followers. Yet another way to get paid to ride is by teaching others. Skills coaching allows you to get paid to be out on your bike
while also helping others to become better riders themselves. A really rewarding career that is still very much about the riding. – My name’s Neil, I’m an
ex-professional downhill racer. And an ex-professional
mountain bike skills coach. And I got into it, if
I’m completely honest, ’cause I was at a bit of a loose end. When I finished racing downhill, I wasn’t sure exactly
what I wanted to do next. And skills coaching felt
like quite a natural thing to be able to do. I’d still be able to ride my bike, and actually from there,
I got back into racing so I then started racing enduro. Again, sort of turned professional, got some good sponsorship,
so I was then half coaching, half professional enduro racer. I think my advice would be to get some good training, to be honest. I did it early on with an organization in the UK called the CTC. And it definitely taught my how
to look at someone’s riding. I’d been a pro rider for 10 years, but actually pulling apart
someone else’s riding definitely takes a bit of skill and you might need a
bit of help with that. And then it’s all about experience. I used to coach an awful lot, quite often I’d see 30
or 40 people a week. And actually over a year or two, it really builds up your skills base. So you can watch someone ride, video them, and really pick apart what
you think they’re doing well, which can help with their confidence, but also what they could do better. And sometimes it’ll be just two
or three really small things can actually make a big
difference to their riding. Whether it’s getting
their foot position right, changing a bit of bike set-up, or just looking at a specific bike skill that should really translate
to improving all their riding. And it is a really rewarding thing to do. It can be a really fun thing to do. I would say, the disadvantages are that sometimes it looks
like you’re riding a lot but actually you can go and stand in the same place every day and talk people through a similar problem, something you saw the other day. So, it can sometimes be a bit repetitive. But at the end of the day, if
you’re really helping someone improve their riding, and you’re getting to ride your bike yourself,
then it can be great. (upbeat ska music) – By far the easiest way to
get a job in the bike industry is by working at your local bike shop. It’s probably the best entry point and allows you to get behind the scenes, looking at how a lot of it works. You’ll also get some inside information and may even meet some pretty
cool people along the way. Meet the right people,
and you can probably get the opportunity to move
into a more interesting role in the industry itself. Many of the bike journalists
and race mechanics started out wrenching in their local shop. So, it’s a great place to begin
your career in the industry. Notable bike mechanics
include Danny MacAskill and our very own Henry on Tech. Who was, until recently,
a very well renowned, World Cup race mechanic. So let’s get a bit more
insight directly from him! – I’m Henry, I’m 27 years old, and originally from the West Midlands. My position has always
been working as a mechanic starting off in shops before eventually progressing into race teams. I got into it by, I’ve always
loved working on bikes. And it seemed a bit of a goal of mine to work out how to get paid
for it when I left school. Started off just working in local shops and then decided to travel,
chased the summer seasons. That was really good,
it meant I got exposed to a lot of fantastic
mechanics to learn from as well as a lot of different places. Got to ride my bike,
meet a lot of cool people who also do the same thing,
and eventually fall into sync with the racing season. I got into the bike industry, well, out of school,
I just wanted to learn how to make money from my passion. Originally started working in local shops, before deciding to start chasing summers and going between the Northern
and Southern Hemisphere, riding my bike all year round. This was really good as
I not only got to meet loads of like-minded people,
but I also got to learn from loads of really
really good mechanics. If I had to give somebody advice on how to get into a similar job, it’d probably be not be
afraid to take some risks or do things, perhaps,
slightly unconventional. When I was 18 or 19 years old and all my friends were off to university, I just said, well actually,
I want to go ride bikes and that’s how it worked out. Definitely took some risks, some stuff didn’t work
out, some stuff did. But always fine in the end. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, that’s my saying when traveling. I always went over with a
reasonable amount of savings, although sometimes, I remember one time I got down to five New Zealand dollars, and that was everything. But then it somehow turned out alright so I was very lucky, I guess. But certainly took some risks, especially when going between
France and New Zealand. Sometimes I went for jobs
that I thought I could rely on and they didn’t quite materialize. But on the contrary,
sometimes I just fell in to really really good jobs without any expectation on my part. Why do I love it? Well, I just feel so
lucky to be able to work with a thing that I’m
really passionate about. For me it’s always a really cool process learning a new skill, especially
around bikes and mechanics. And, working with some people that you really really really respect. Some of the shops I’ve worked in, the mechanics have been so good. And to be able to learn from them was always hugely satisfying. When I left school I always just thought being a bike mechanic was the dream. I just thought it was
amazing to get paid for it. And to eventually, not only
learn, but then also teach, it was a really cool thing for me. Working on World Cups was
something I always wanted to do. And it was a real satisfying
of an ambition of mine to eventually get to that level. – Working in the media
side of the bike industry is another potential dream
job for a lot of riders. You already read the reviews
and watch all the videos and you think you can
do the riding yourself. Well, you know what? You could do this role, there
are quite a few opportunities around that will get you
right into the middle of the MTB media scene. They mostly involve writing,
filming, social media. But vary in the actual roles quite a bit. Here at GMBN, we pretty much have the whole spectrum of media jobs. You may not think you’ve
got the outright skills and talent to race professionally,
I mean, not many have. But you can still get paid to ride, right? Writing about bikes allows
you to get your hands on some of the newest and
most exciting bits of kit long before the public, and
riding that kit’s pretty cool. Knowing that precious few
riders have even seen it. But let’s hear from someone
who’s done his fair share of mountain bike journalism. – My name is Andrew Dodd,
some people call me Doddy, in fact, everyone calls me Doddy. It’s a bit weird, just call
me Andrew, to be honest. I’m director of tech, actually,
on the GMBN Tech channel. To you and me, that just
means I’m a presenter and do a bit of organizing. Well, I’ve been a bike journalist for most of my working
life, since 2001, in fact. Working on one of the biggest
mountain bike magazines out there, called Mountain Biking UK. I used combinations of photography stuff and media stuff that I’d studied. English skills doing that,
and obviously that transferred into the written word a touch. And as things started changing, going towards moving image,
it became a logical choice for me to come and work here, really. Transferrable skills, I know
how to talk about bikes, I understand bikes,
it’s the same in writing so it’s the same format really. Or similar, at least. Study hard, enjoy what you do, as well. If you’re not enjoying it. (both riders laughing) I couldn’t even be serious! I was just, out of control the whole way! – [Blake] How much fun is that? – You need to have a reconsider
about what you’re doing. You obviously need good basic skills, what I mean by that is
good English skills, being able to write and speak correctly. – In Frejus, it’s held
between Frejus and Roquebrune, Roquebrune, Roquebrune-sur-Argens. Roquebrune, Roquebrune-sur-Argens. Roquebrune-sur-Argens. – Know your way around a bike, really, so working in the bike
shop part time, perhaps, at weekends, that’s a great way to build up those mechanical skills and things like that, and do
some filming with your friends. You don’t need any fancy equipment, you can just do it with a phone. The phone that you might be
watching this on, in fact. And the bike industry is a
surprisingly small place. Full of people that I love
and know very well, so, from that respect, that’s why I love it, but also bikes are my number one favorite thing in the world. They always have been. I first got into bikes
reading the first ever copy of Mountain Biking UK, October 1988. So I’ve been into bikes a long time, so why would I want to do anything else? – Internships are becoming more common along with freelance opportunities. This route, you may not be jumping right into a full-time
career in MTB journalism, but you can build it
up and it’s a great way to meet people in industry
and make important contacts. What about something for
the more visually creative? Well, creating videos can
be the ideal situation. We all love mountain bike edits and having the chance to
create and craft videos that everyone wants to see is super cool but enough from me, we have
enough video creators here that know far more about it than I do. – I’m Tom Grundy and my
current position is a creator, or otherwise known as
a filmmaker, I’d say. Film and edit the videos here at GMBN. So originally I got into filmmaking and making films about
bikes through riding bikes, I’d go out and ride bikes with my friends, and I thought, this would be good to film, or at least take photos of. So I used to sneak my
mum’s camera out the house and make little videos with my mates, put those on the internet, and it spiraled out of control from there. I realized that I really
enjoyed doing this and this is something that I
might want to do with my life and so, I went from there and pushed on, focusing on doing that
and making more videos and learning the craft of filmmaking, and putting those films on the internet. So my advice for someone who
wants to get into the industry would be you’ve got to
love it first and foremost because you’re going to spend all your time doing this, hopefully. And it takes a lot of commitment, I’d say. Getting out there, going to events, going to races, that’s
how I did it first of all, going to national downhills
and then World Cups. And getting myself out
there and making stuff. Forcing yourself to make that stuff, maybe giving yourself a deadline, I’m going to make a film a week, I’m going to make a film a month, and forcing yourself to make more stuff and put it out there. And show people you’re committed. You’ve got to love it, though, I think that’s the most important thing because you’re going to be spending a lot of your time doing this and so it’s got to be a passion of yours. I think because there’s
so many different sides to filmmaking, here at GMBN, you go out and you film, or you
concept and then you film and then you’re out in the woods and you’re out there being creative but also riding your bike. Coming up with ideas and concepts and then working with other people. And then when you get back, you come back and you edit, and it’s a whole
different side of things, then, you’re crafting this
piece with ideas that you had, ideas are still constantly
changing throughout. And then you get to see it
go out there to the world and see what people think of it and maybe learn from that and then start the process all over again. And that whole process
and the changing elements within that process, it’s just varied and fun,
creative, interesting, and a bit technical, there’s
so many different elements to filmmaking which is
why I think I love it and it keeps it interesting. (upbeat electronic music) – There are quite a few different jobs to make up a brand, it’s
not just the top guys making all the big decisions. Everything from engineers and designers, to sales and marketing,
brands are just companies. And they need all the
normal roles to be filled. And they’re also a perfect place to find your way into the industry. Now maybe you think that the
bikes on offer these days aren’t quite what you’re
after, they’re all wrong. And you think you could do better, so why not just make the bike you want? We did look briefly into
building your own bike frame on the Dirt Shed Show recently, and I’ve done it in the past. So what about going a bit further? The bike industry is rife with designers and engineers doing their magic to make our rides better and better. And this is one of the best ways to both make a mountain bike a lifestyle and make a big difference
in the sport itself. The most common way to get
into this side of the industry is through studying design
or engineering at college. From there you can see if
there’s any internships around. Most brands advertise
these jobs on their sites, but it’s probably worth contacting them to see if there’s other
ways to work in the industry whilst you’re at college so
you can get a foot in the door. – My name’s Ken Avery, I’m the vice president
of product and marketing at Vittoria Industries North America. I get to basically handle
the offered categories for Vittoria globally as
far as product design goes. I grew up mountain bike racing. And I started racing
when I was 11 years old which was about 30 years ago. Bikes were a lot different then. But basically, passion was the same so, I was at a race one time
and I got a flat tire. And a notable pro gave me an inner tube because I didn’t have any inner tubes. And it was the 90s, so
people used inner tubes. And, saved my race, basically,
because I didn’t have anything extra at the time. And I was so grateful, that
basically after that race, I went and bought one and
gave it back to this person. And we became friends. And so, I was in high school at the time. And in study hall, I would
just obsess about tires. And I would just draw
tire treads in study hall. And I would start faxing them to this pro! And they were kind of like, whoa, this is crazy, but they
started, just as a favor, sending them to the tire company to see what they thought. And inevitably, they started
paying attention a little bit. And all I was trying to
do was help out, really. And around that same time, I
earned a UCI license as a racer so I had a bit more
credibility on the race side. And after university it turned into a job, and 20 years later, I’m
still in the tire game. And loving it. Show gratitude. That was my open door, you know? You’re going to meet a lot of people, there’s opportunities
around you all the time. And if you can help other people, it could be anything, it could
be how to change a flat tire, it could be how to set your bike up, it could be how to set your suspension up, how to get over this log, whatever, it’ll come back to you,
I really believe in that. You know, it’s the kind of thing where, ride your bike a lot, go to some events, talk to some people, see
how you can help out. And that’s the best way
to get in this industry. (relaxed electronic music) – Now what about if you align particularly with a brand, and feel like you’d be the best person to represent it? Then why not do just that? Brand managers are often
the first port of call for the media to get hold of the brand and get the necessary
information about products. You’re often required to
take people out on rides, and often show off the products and you need to know the brand inside out. It’s not an easy job, but it
can be extremely rewarding especially if you love that brand. Thanks for watching, and let us know in the comments section down below what job you’d like to
do in the bike industry, don’t forget to check out the links in our description as well. If you’d like to see
more videos from GMBN, then click just here or here,
hit the globe to subscribe, give us a thumbs up like
and I’ll see you next time.