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Looking for a new career for the New Year? If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s don’t waste your time doing things that don’t make you happy. Life is too short! So why not switch gears and do what you love? If you’re reading this post, chances are you love bikes and are looking for some bike industry job opportunities.
Well, you’re in luck because there are a lot of great biking jobs out there. Whether you want to travel the world as a two-wheeled tour guide, build bikes in a local bike shop, or you love the idea of engineering the future of bikes, in this post I’ve rounded up the best jobs the industry has to offer.
*The average salaries are from ZipRecruiter & GlassDoor
1. Bike Mechanic
- AVERAGE SALARY: $17/hour
- EDUCATION: None, but a certification from a bike mechanic course would be helpful. Apprenticeships are also common.
- OPPORTUNITIES: Local bike shops, racing teams, tour companies with their own fleet of bikes, in-house mechanics for bike brands, retail stores that sell bikes such as REI, city bike-sharing operators, and many more!
Bike mechanics are in hot demand nowadays thanks to the growing popularity of cycling and mountain biking. Mechanics probably won’t earn a ton of money (although salaries are rising if you’re a good mechanic!), but you can live and work in world-class biking destinations if you so choose, not to mention save a ton of money in bike tune-up fees.
You will need some skills – either self-taught or professional – but if wrenching on bikes sounds like fun to you, then go for it!
You could also set your sights high and work toward becoming a professional bike mechanic for a pro racing team.
2. Suspension Service Technician
- AVERAGE SALARY: $22/hour
- EDUCATION: Suspension Technician course
- OPPORTUNITIES: Local bike shops, racing teams, in-house technician for suspension brands
Bike suspension brands like Fox, RockShox, DVO, etc… hire suspension technicians to service forks, rear shocks, and dropper posts that are sent back to be rebuilt. You’ll need to know the ins and outs of how bike suspension works, so taking a suspension course is highly recommended.
There are also independent suspension service companies like Dirt Labs in Colorado and some bike shops offer suspension service if they have capable mechanics.
3. Bike Tour guide or Trip Leader
- AVERAGE SALARY: $15/hour + tips
- EDUCATION: None. Hospitality experience is very helpful
- OPPORTUNITIES: Tour leaders, assistant tour leaders, trip prep specialists
I worked as a Trip Leader for Backroads Travel for a season and while I didn’t love it, it can be a great fit for some people. There are tons of different mountain biking and cycling tour companies out there to hand your resume off to. Here are a few:
4. Bike Shop Manager
- AVERAGE SALARY: $17-21/hour
- EDUCATION: Managers will need prior management experience.
- OPPORTUNITIES: Bike shops
Working at a bike retail shop is a great way to learn more about bikes and get industry deals on gear. You may even find yourself among a new group of friends that head out on lunch rides or post-work spins!
If you don’t have managerial experience, get your foot in the door by working on the sales floor.
5. Demo Van Driver
- AVERAGE SALARY: $15/hour
- EDUCATION: A driver’s license and some bike mechanic skills highly recommended
- OPPORTUNITIES: Bike event demo person, sales rep
Want to travel around the US in a van to different biking destinations to show off a fleet of awesome bikes? A demo van driver might just be for you! A lot of bike brands will hire demo van drivers to tour the US and attend a variety of events to set up demo stations so that people can try out their bikes.
Check brand websites for van driver openings (for example, I recently saw a van driver position for Pivot Bikes). Be prepared to spend at least half the year on the road, though.
6. Bike assembler
- AVERAGE SALARY: $18/hour
- EDUCATION: None. Some knowledge about building bikes is helpful
- OPPORTUNITIES: Bike shops, retailer warehouses, brand warehouses
This is an entry-level bike industry job that could get you in the door to some big-name brands like Santa Cruz or Specialized. Bikes don’t arrive at the warehouse all nice and assembled, so someone needs to partially or fully build them so that they can either be sold right away or shipped to other retailers.
Check for bike assembly jobs on bike brand websites or retailer websites like Backcountry or Mike’s Bikes (just to name two).
7. Bike coach or instructor
- AVERAGE SALARY: $18+/hour
- EDUCATION: Coaching certification
- OPPORTUNITIES: Schools, local clubs, skills clinics, private instruction, professional athlete training centers
There are lots of bike coaching and instructor opportunities popping up, so if you’re interested in teaching bike skills or helping athletes maximize their potential, this could be a great fit. You’ll need some credentials, though.
Below are a few bike coaching and instructing programs.
8. Bicycle industry designer or engineer
- AVERAGE SALARY: $25+/hour (varies widely depending on career)
- EDUCATION: At least an undergraduate degree in design or engineering
- OPPORTUNITIES: Bike brands including apparel companies, component manufacturers, and more
Bike gear, just like clothes or fashion, needs to be designed and updated year after year. This includes biking clothes, components, suspension, protection, and bike frames with updated geometry.
If you have a degree in design or engineering or an interest in making that your career, there are lots of bike industry job options for you. You’ll need at least an undergraduate degree in design and/or mechanical engineering.
9. Spin class instructor
- AVERAGE SALARY: $34/hour
- EDUCATION: None, although some studios may require a fitness instructor certification
- OPPORTUNITIES: Fitness studios, private instruction, cruise ships
Love your Peloton or can’t get enough of Zwift? Maybe a spin class instructor is the path for you!
There are spinning instructors who actually make a lot of money, so if this is your passion, go for it! One perk is that you’ll always be in great shape.
10. Bike industry warehouse shippers
- AVERAGE SALARY: $7.25+/hour (most likely minimum wage which will depend on what state you’re in)
- EDUCATION: None
- OPPORTUNITIES: Bike brand warehouses, bike retailer warehouses
This may not be the most glamorous bike industry job, but bikes and gear need to be shipped from warehouses to people or other retailers. Most bike brands or big retailers hire warehouse shippers to move their products.
Check bike brand and retailer websites for job openings. This is also a great way to get your foot in the door if you’re just entering the work field.
11. Trail builder
- AVERAGE SALARY: $24+/hour
- EDUCATION: For a lead trail builder position, you’ll need a lot of experience and a heavy machine operator certification
- OPPORTUNITIES: Private trail building companies that contract out their services, bike parks, some public land management agencies, some state recreation departments
Trail builders are the behind-the-scenes legends of many mountain bike parks and destinations. There is so much that goes into building good trails and features and trail builders need to know the ins and outs of what makes mountain biking fun and safe.
If you’re super interested in becoming a professional trail builder for a big-name company such as Gravity Logic or Progressive Trail Design, consider enrolling in a comprehensive trail builder course or getting a heavy machine operator certification.
12. Trail Crew & Trail Maintenance
- AVERAGE SALARY: $20+/hour
- EDUCATION: None
- OPPORTUNITIES: State or city recreation departments, public lands management agencies, bike parks
Many mountain bike parks and destinations have full-time trail crews to maintain trails and sometimes build new ones. If you want to be a professional trail builder, you’ll probably start on the trail crew.
Be prepared for full days outside and lots of manual labor. But you’ll also probably be the first one to ride a new trail or that perfectly shaped berm!
13. Bike park lift operator
- AVERAGE SALARY: $15+/hour
- EDUCATION: None
- OPPORTUNITIES: Bike parks
If you’re looking for a seasonal job that will give you a free bike park pass, then a bike park lift operator might be right up your alley.
If you’re a ski bum, too, this could be the best of both worlds! Ski your heart out in the winter and then shred to bike park in the summer.
14. Sports photographer
- AVERAGE SALARY: Varies widely
- EDUCATION: Background in photography
- OPPORTUNITIES: Sports media company, self-employment
If you have photography skills, consider a career in sports photography. There are tons of major bike events throughout the year that need to be covered by the media such as the Tour de France, Crankworx, Red Bull Rampage, World Enduro Series, MTB World Cup, and so many more.
If you already work in the publishing or media realm, you know that ‘niching down’ can be very beneficial. Position yourself as a sports photographer with an emphasis on athletes and events. Red Bull Media could be a good place to start.
15. copywriter or product photographer
- AVERAGE SALARY: $24+/hour
- EDUCATION: Background in photography, writing, or marketing
- OPPORTUNITIES: Self-employment, in-house marketing
If you enjoy writing or photography, but events aren’t your thing, there’s still room for you in the bicycle industry as a copywriter or photographer. Bike brands need website, catalog, and/or social media copy to sell their goods and professional photos to go along with it.
You could either position yourself as a freelance copywriter/photographer for the bicycle industry or look for in-house writing/photography jobs.
16. Territory sales rep or account manager
- AVERAGE SALARY: $25+/hour
- EDUCATION: None, but knowledge of the bike industry is very helpful
- OPPORTUNITIES: Self-employment, brand sales team
Are you someone who likes selling things and is good at it? If so, a sales rep or account manager position within the bike industry might be a great fit.
You’ll have to be super savvy about the bike gear you’re selling, how it works, and why people should buy it.
17. Professional athlete
- AVERAGE SALARY: $35,000/year
- EDUCATION: You need to be among the best of the best in your field
- OPPORTUNITIES: Factory racing teams, national teams, individual sponsorships
This may be a pipe dream for many people, but there are pro athletes out there earning a living with their bike skills. If you’re good enough and have the mental discipline to pursue your dreams, give it a go!
18. Bike patrol
- AVERAGE SALARY: $13+/hour
- EDUCATION: First aid certification or wilderness first aid
- OPPORTUNITIES: Bike parks
Bike patrol jobs are a relatively new position that has grown over the past few years. Most bike parks now have bike patrols on staff (just like all ski resorts have ski patrols).
Requirements to be a bike patroller are some sort of advanced first aid training and good biking skills.
19. Gear Advisor
- AVERAGE SALARY: $17+/hour
- EDUCATION: None, but you’ll need in-depth knowledge about bike gear
- OPPORTUNITIES: Retailers, bike shops
Are you a real nerd about cycling or mountain biking gear? A lot of online retailers, bike shops, and even businesses built around the idea of a gear advisor – like Curated – are hiring people to help customers pick out the best gear for their wants and abilities.
A Gear Advisor can be an in-house position or some companies hire gear advisors as freelance/contract workers where you make most of your wages on commission when you sell an item.
Where to search for Bike Industry Jobs
Aside from the usual career-finding online tools, here are a few places to look for your next dream biking job:
- Brand websites – Almost every bike industry brand will have a little career button down at the bottom of their website. Click on it to see current openings! This is how I landed a job with Backroads Travel as a trip leader.
- Camber Outdoors – Camber Outdoors is a job board website that features outdoor jobs from companies that are committed to equity, inclusion, and diversity in the outdoors, especially for women.
- Bicycle Industry Jobs – This website is another job board for outdoor job seekers. They’re not just about bicycles (despite the name), but you can filter for biking jobs.
- Cool Works – Cool Works posts job openings for tons of ‘dream’ jobs like heli-ski lodge help and dude ranch hands. Occasionally they’ll have biking jobs like mechanics or opportunities in world-class biking destinations.
I hope this post gives you some inspiration and ideas for building a career around bikes!
Do you work in the bicycle industry? What is your bike industry job and why is it a good fit? What other bike job did I miss? Leave a comment below!