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New Facebook group gives bike mechanics a forum

Published March 22, 2016

AUSTIN, Texas (BRAIN) — More than 1,200 people have already joined a new Facebook group that provides a forum for bike shop mechanics and could lead to the formation of an association. 

The Association of Professional Bicycle Mechanics group was started by James Stanfill, a former director of operations at USA Cycling who continues to organize USAC's annual race mechanic clinics. Stanfill, who currently works at Bicycle Sport Shop in Austin, also has worked at Specialized and Cannondale in technical positions.

The closed group (which means Stanfill or other group admins must approve Facebook users who want to participate and view the group's discussions) has members from around the U.S. and overseas. It contains working retail mechanics as well as industry members and educators. Stanfill has been surveying members about their needs and desires as mechanics.  

Initial results suggest group members are interested in an organization that could provide health and liability insurance, Stanfill said. Members also would like to see technical education standards defined.

"A lot of people would really like to see a definition for 'certified bike mechanic,' " Stanfill told BRAIN on Tuesday. "What does it mean to have done STU (SRAM Technical University) or to have finished some class by Trek or Specialized?"

In a press release announcing the formation of the group, Stanfill wrote, "We want to form an association or organization or committee that takes our opinions (the opinions of us lowly bicycle mechanics) and helps our industry get better, grow and make more money."

Stanfill said the association has not been legally formed beyond the Facebook group, but that could be the next step. 

"This (the group) might be as far as it goes, or maybe it will become the basis for a real association at some point," he said. 

More information: The group's Facebook page.

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