I volunteered for a year at a do-it-yourself bike repair centre beginning in September, 2011. Since then, I’ve started working at both a bicycle distributor as a mechanic, as well as at a retail sporting goods store as a repair technician of general sports equipment (including bikes). I had known that males greatly outnumbered females in this industry, but I wasn’t really expecting to answer the following questions, all the time: ‘How did you get started with bikes?’, or ‘So, what’s your story?’, or “Isn’t it a difficult job for you?”. My response typically goes something like this: “I like bikes, so I started to work with them, and here I am.” I was working the Toronto International Bicycle Show a couple of weeks ago, and I swear, I probably got asked about my job 10-15 times over the three day period.
These questions came from both guys and girls, of all riding abilities and cycling disciplines. Of course, people also ask my male coworkers about becoming a bike mechanic but it sure seems like I get asked more about my personal bike experience purely based on my gender. To be honest, I never really realized it was that odd to be a female mechanic but I guess I’ve always liked building things and trying to fix things when broken so I didn’t think twice when jumping into the industry. All I have to say is this: I’m doing what I enjoy, like what most of us do, or at least wish to do. It just happens to be in a field that’s male dominated. And for females who think that it’s hard work, give yourself an easy task such as changing a tube, and you’ll realize it’s not that difficult at all.