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PBMA launches mechanic certification

Published February 14, 2018
Stanfill and Kallista at CABDA.
Mechanic association promotes new program at CABDA.

CHICAGO (BRAIN) – The Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association is talking up its new certification program for members at the Chicagoland Area Bicycle Dealer Association Show this week, where PBMA president James Stanfill and PBMA board member Jenny Kallista from Appalachian Bicycle Institute are manning a booth.

The PBMA is launching the online certification for members here. It sent an email to mechanics and shop members last week with details of the process and links to the online exam. Only PBMA members are able to access the certification for now, which is free for them. Non-members will be able to take the test starting in June for a fee.

The certification for members consists of a 50-question online test, which Stanfill said focuses on bike safety, including questions on proper assembly, adjustment of brakes and drivetrains to ensure that nothing falls off and the bike is safe to ride. Mechanics have to achieve 100 percent on some questions and 90 percent on others to pass. Stanfill said this is the first-level, basic certification, but expects that the PBMA will develop more advanced levels of certification and testing.

The online test is hosted on Myagi, an online training site used widely by industry suppliers and retailers.

"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 recognized standard is just the beginning," Stanfill said.

Stanfill noted that while an online exam may seem simple, the PBMA collects data about its members' current and past work and training, then pairs that data with the exam. The online-only pathway for PBMA members is only open until June.

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

Once certified, mechanics have a continuing education requirement to remain certified. Mechanics must complete 20 hours of continuing education including supplier tech clinics or online training.

"This requirement isn't meant to be a hurdle, it's meant to ensure that mechanics we endorse as certified are up-to-date with the most recent technology," Stanfill said. The PBMA is facilitating continuing education by producing and hosting multi-day technical training workshops all around the country.

Schools supporting the PMBA's Certification initiative include United Bicycle Institute, TechnoCycle, Appalachian Bicycle Institute, Winterborne Bicycle Institute and Velotech Cycling Limited. The Association is also working closely with Project Bike Tech to graduate their high school students into the basic level of certification.

The PBMA currently has 1,000 individual members and is approaching 200 shop members. Stanfill said more than a handful of members have completed the test and gained certification since last week.

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