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Tennessee's The Bicycle School holds first classes this week

Published December 2, 2016
Patterson at Cycology Bicycles.

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (BRAIN) — The Bicycle School, a new consumer and professional mechanics school in East Tennessee, is up and running, having completed its first two-day class early this week.

The school was opened by Tim Patterson, the longtime manager of Maryville's Cycology Bicycles.

Patterson said he contemplated opening a mechanic school for about two years, inspired by the shortage of qualified professional mechanics in the region and requests from consumers for more education.

"What got me thinking about this was mainly just the struggle we've had finding help. I know that shops here and in Atlanta are really having a hard time. You can't open the paper without seeing 'bike mechanics needed' ads.

"Combined with that, I hate to say it but I'm seeing a lot of bad mechanics out there," he added.

Patterson said the handful of mechanic schools around the country are too far away to be affordable for most professional mechanics in the region.

"Bike shop folks don't have a lot of money, and you take a $1,000 class and add $400 or $500 in travel and it's too much. I've had people asking me for years to do classes, and I've done hundreds of clinics and classes for our staff and the general public, but it's too distracting (in the shop). We needed a better environment to focus in on teaching."

The Bicycle School's workshop.

Patterson found a distraction-free location for the school in Maryville. Currently he is employing two part-time instructors in addition to himself. He said the school has registered students for a full schedule of classes at least through January.

The school offers everything from two- to three-hour bike maintenance clinics to five-day pro mechanic classes. It offers classes in floor bike fitting, service writing and pro bike fitting, and may add specialized classes on topics like hydraulic brake service or wheel building.

The Bicycle School also offers custom group classes tailored to the needs of retailers, rental shop operators and resort bike shop operators.

The first class, held Monday and Tuesday this week, had four students, which is the maximum student-to-instructor ratio for the school. The four students included one cycling enthusiast, one bike shop floor manager looking to improve his technical skills, one resort employee and one adventure tour employee.

More information: thebicycleschool.com.

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