Wherever you are in the world, you can nominate a mechanic worthy of a profile. Simply head here. The Mechanic Monday series will eventually culminate in one lucky participant receiving an all expenses paid trip to the 2019 North American Handmade Bicycle Show, plus an exclusive prize package from Abbey Bike Tools and a year’s subscription the print edition of CyclingIndustry.News.
PBMA: How did you become involved in cycling and cycling mechanics?
TF: I have always loved riding bikes, first with the neighborhood kids, and then as I got older to just enjoy the day. It was something I started doing more heavily just before college when I found myself very unexpectedly car-less. I was never upset about having to ride anywhere; it was so relieving to get on my bike and forget about the day. The final push for me was later on a trip to Utah where I met some amazing cyclists. They didn’t hesitate to let me hop on a bike that was worth more than anything I owned and ride to my heart’s content.
When I returned home, I immediately purchased the closest thing I could afford to what I had ridden from Spoke-N-Sport and asked if the shop had any apprenticeship programs. In short, the answer I got was no, but I was told to apply for a job anyway. Assuming it would be part-time sales and a slow process getting in the game, I gave it a shot; little did I know I would be belly flopping into the scene. After talking to the owner and expressing my love for riding and the want to learn more about taking care of my bike, I was offered a position as a mechanic. I declined, thinking I didn’t have the skills or ability, but Chad Pickard said one thing that has pushed me through tough times ever since that day: “You can’t teach passion”. Of course I said yes after that; how could I not!
PBMA: Do you have a favorite moment or story from your time in the cycling industry so far?
TF: Oh man, I have a ton! But some of my absolute favorite things I get to see are when the kids stop what they are doing to watch us work on bikes. They ask questions and they have genuine interest in what it takes to make a bike go. It makes me so happy to see a little (or big) girl come into a place and be surprised to see another girl pushing boundaries and taking time to share the passion and knowledge with them.
PBMA: What motivation or advice would you give to women or girls who aspire to become professional bicycle mechanics?
TF: I have always believed if there is a job you want, you have to prove that you are the best person for it. As a professional mechanic, I want to be that person, and that means hard work. I grew up with my dad and the biggest lesson I learned is to not be afraid to fight for what you want. I have never leaned on being a female as an easy way through the door, because we are so much more than that; we bring change and challenge to the table, and that means growth for everyone involved. I believe your effort, intention and passion will always show in your work if you care about what you do. Those are the kind of people who other people want around. Having passion for what you do is going to push you further and harder than doing something because it’s been defined as right for you.
I am thankful to have such an amazing work environment (yes, all dudes!) that won’t hesitate to push me when I am at a standstill. I’m still learning, and we all should be! In some cases, it’s harder to learn some things than others, but that’s all the more reason for me to dig deeper and be better.
PBMA: What is your favorite tool?
TF: My favorite everyday tool is the Park Tool “click-type” torque wrench. I know it’s a safe answer, but it is a tried and true one that gives our customers evidence that we care and put effort into safety when we replace, tune, or adjust anything on their bike. Also, maybe it’s a personal preference because that click is so dang satisfying.