Republished with permission from ACTION the publication of Canadian
Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical
I was always interested in mechanics so first I worked on my own
bike and then I had my own bike shop for nine years in Mount Tremblant,
Que. It was getting so big that I was doing more administration
and paper work than mechanics so I sold it and started working
with cycling teams. Last year I joined the national team and I
work with them from April to October, most of the time in Europe
That's why I like the job - it helps me to work where cycling
is as big as hockey is here.
You're not a team mechanic for the money so in the winter I teach
bike mechanics. It's my own little school for bike shop technicians.
I put together six different levels, hire someone, and we go to
different areas in Quebec. Now we are starting to work with the
Maritimes. And no, I've never seen any other women doing what
More women should be mechanics because it is a job where you cannot
cut corners; you have to be very meticulous because of all the
small detail on the bicycle. When I had my bike shop the best
technicians were women. They'll work until the job is done without
To keep up to date, I go to the big bike shows. I've been doing
that for 15 years so people know me and what I do. Being a female,
it's not tough to be recognized. I get to know the products a
year before they go on the market.
There's friendship and real camaraderie between mechanics - we
call ourselves the 'wrenching gang'. Any mechanic will help another
Until last year I worked only with the men's team, both road and
track. Last year was my first experience with women, at the Tour
de France, and at the Commonwealth Games I worked with men and
women, road and track. That's way too much but I guess it's a
budget thing. Track is easy. The riders are quite self-sufficient
because they never have a mechanic travelling with them. I do
the little extras like changing bearings, greasing, and repairing
wheels. Some like to do things for themselves - it's part of their
mental preparation - others want someone else to do it all.
On the road you can have a cable breaking at the start, gears
not working, bent wheels, wheel alignment. If it's a circuit race,
then I'm at the pit waiting for them. When it's a road race, we
have a caravan and usually I follow in a car.
I like the life because there's no routine. It's not always exciting
and it's lots of work, sometimes 14-hour days. You never know
what to expect. You could sleep through a whole race or be called
upon every hour.
©Copyright 1996 by Jan Meyer.