Shift Up Podcast: Talking mechanic training benchmarks and investing in staff with the PBMA

This week’s Shift Up Podcast is not to be missed if you’ve a keen interest in all things bicycle mechanic.

James Stanfill, the president of the Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association, is this week’s guest. Having set out to align training standards and improve working conditions for mechanics, Stanfill is quizzed by our host Arleigh Greenwald about the PBMA’s ongoing mission to help develop the bike industry’s service-led trade, as well as a more recent foray into live training events across the USA.

In February the PBMA went live with its own certification, something that has now gone live with members of the non-profit.

“We built certification with feedback gathered from multiple sources within the cycling industry – from educational institutions like United Bicycle Institute to companies like SRAM to shop service managers and everyday mechanics. This initial push into an internationally recognised standard is just the beginning,” said Stanfill at the time.

Beginning in June 2018, anyone wishing to be certified will start with the online exam (free for PBMA Members) and then be required to schedule an in-person, more hands-on test. The first tests will take place at Interbike 2018 in Reno, NV. The PBMA expects to announce a full schedule of available testing sessions later this year.

With over 1,000 members and a Facebook group touching on 10,000 followers ranging industry CEOs to upstart mechanics, the PBMA’s growth since the “call to arms” letter issued during the Autumn of 2016 has been relentless. The mechanics’ org has even touched down in the UK with Velotech Cycling, with whom it is delivering training alongside Graeme Freestone King.

On thinking beyond the shop floor toward a shop’s service and community appeal, Stanfill offers: “The bike shop of the future, whatever they’re doing in the shop, it’s a community resource. You may see a consolidation. People always hate it, but i love the auto industry. Where I grew up there were three or four Ford dealerships, today there’s only one. But there’s six or seven service specialists unrelated to the dealership. In the bike industry you see that happening too. Trek and Specialized opening their own company store. But also some of the bigger stores are absorbing the competition, exploring mobile and expanding – these community resources for cycling are gaining market share.”

Tune in to this week’s episode below and stay tuned at the head of our homepage each week for new episode updates. You can also follow the Shift Up Podcast under the hashtag #betterbikeindustry on social media.