Working in the industry affect passion?
Question for those who currently work in the bike industry. Does your day job affect your passion?
I'm considering a position with a cycling company. My concern is that in the past cycling has been my hobby, my go-to stress reliever, and something to enjoy with my family. Would working full-time change this in any way? I'm very passionate about bikes, and I love my line of work, so I could see this being a great opportunity to mix the two. At the same time, there is a bit of hesitation in combining them...
What do you think?
I've been doing it for the last 25 years. No problem for me.
My short time in the industry (bike shop 1.5years) increased my passion to ride but seriously squashed my time to ride. It's hard to pull a 10hr retail day and then have the urge to go ride, or to have to work on weekends and consistently miss races.
I can't speak for the bicycle industry, but I've worked in the motorcycle industry since 2006, coaching & instructing riders at track days & doing branding, marketing & PR for a number of pro roadracing teams & small motorcycle accessory & apparel companies. I haven't ridden a motorcycle in almost a year. Frankly, I'm not in a hurry to, I get a bigger kick riding my mountain bikes. I sold my race bike last june and all of my moto friends keep bugging me about when I'm going to replace it. Frankly, I'd rather buy a nice, FSR 29er. Some day, I'll build another track bike, but my days of coaching 35+ track days are done for now. I'd rather go as a customer. I still have fun working the AMA Pro events, if only to see the friends that I've made in the paddock, but I really don't care if ride any time soon. I'm a bit burned out.
Heaven forbid that your turn your passion into your career; it can take the fun out of it if it's something that you have to do instead of something that you want to do. YMMV
I think this probably no one could answer but yourself to be honest. If you're working in the industry on a retail level you'll find that it's hard to actually find the time to go out and get good rides in as the times you're the busiest is also the best riding times normally.
If you're getting in on a corporate level it may be somewhat easier to find rides and time as a lot of the corporate companies stress employee's actually getting out and ride. Unofficial ambassadors of their brands if you will..
I've been in the bike industry for the past 5 years and if anything I have more passion for getting out and riding now as I just don't have nearly the time to ride as I did. I've also acquired a much larger respect for the small guys in this business, and really love seeing the handmade bikes, the super cool ideas, and generally seeing the little guys succeed.
I won't lie to you though, there are days where I hate this industry too, well at least my wallet does. There are high paid people in this industry, no doubt about that, but those jobs are few and far between.
Those days, I honestly like nothing better than hopping on the bike and getting away for a while, it really recharges my batteries and refocuses me on what my goals are.
Realistically if you're getting into this industry you just have to remember that everyday has it's ups and downs. Not everyday is made of unicorns, rainbows and perfectly groomed berms!
No problem here. Riding in mornings and nights is just fine. The place I work is very respectful of me going out and racing though. Selling a bike is completely different from racing a bike and the increased knowledge gained is valuable.
It has increased my passion ten-fold. I'm a new tech at a large chain bike retailer. Pretty much every customer that comes in wants to talk bikes,trails, etc. Every other employee is an avid rider. Working in the bike business just gets me more excited to go out and ride after work or days off.
I've been a mountain bike suspension tech since 2005 and it's great. I worked retail at a big shop for a few years before that and loved that too. Nowadays it's 8-5 M-F with every other Friday off.
I wouldn't trade it for anything. I get to ride a lot. I get to see and try a lot of products I normally wouldn't. It's cool, everyday I deal with mountain bikers, people like me. I get to stoke people out on their bikes, help them understand the technology and help set their rigs up to make sure their ride is as good as it can be. It's satisfying and makes me happy
I can only speak from the retail end of the spectrum. Close to 30 years in it, many working for others, the last going on 10, working for myself, one man shop.
By the end of the summer, I am pretty burned out usually, mostly due to long hours, and constantly hearing about everyone else's fun, vacations, trips etc, while I bust hump, facilitating that fun for them.
I offset this by night riding 3 nights a week, all year long. Last nights 10 person ride was awesome, great group, good pace, no stress, 18 degrees, light snow, firmly frozen ground, hell yeah!
Someone said if you want to make a million bucks in the bike industry, it's wise to start with 2. You'll never get rich, and travel unless supported by a spouses income, or luck of the job allowing it, is not likely to be something you'll get to do much of.
Can it kill your passion? Sure, but only if you let it.
Having opened and run my own shop in the UK....I can hand on heart say that it didn't dampen any passion for riding....in fact probably the opposite...As mentioned above...only if you let it! :-)
Need an assistant? I'm dedicated, hard-working......
Originally Posted by mtn.skratch
You sir, have what I dream of. You are of a rare group, people that truly love their work, and love what they do at their work. Good for you. Truly, I have discussed this concept with people before, and I have been told it doesn't exist......truly loving your work. I am on a quest to find out on my own. I haven't done anything about it yet, but am working up the courage to make the jump. Thanks for the momentary inspiration!
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Last edited by tiffany's pigeons; 02-06-2013 at 06:01 PM.
Reason: decided to change my post
I worked in the bike/ski industry for 3 years. I loved it but I just couldn't make a living with a college degree making $11/hr. If you can make a living at it, go for it.
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Originally Posted by Giant Chachi
Thanks for the kind words Giant Chachi, and best wishes on your quest. Build your courage and move forward. As with anything, be prepared for setbacks, they will only be temporary as you keep the end goal in mind. What you want is attainable and undeniable. Get it!
Boy does that depend on a lot of things. Some companies are full of people who don't ride. Hell, a lot of bike shops are full of people who don't ride. There is quite the gamut of experiences to be had in the industry so ask the people in the group you'll be working with how much they ride. Is there riding out the back door of the office? Pump track on-site? You can tell how much you'll be riding solo or being pulled on every lunch time or after-work session.
People are passionate about riding, but riding takes up a lot of time, as your spouse/ex-boy-girl friend will attest. Be careful. I've run into all different experiences in my 20 year in the industry.
Good luck and be ready to be dirt poor for a time. Hopefully you have enough bikes to keep you occupied to give you highly inexpensive ways of enjoying life. I've changed careers a couple of times and there can be some dark times as some people will just not "get" you, but a thick skin and knowing that you will make it all work is key.
Originally Posted by Giant Chachi
If your hobby is to wrench on bike you can probably kill the passion by wrenching on bikes for 8-10 hours a day for a living. If riding bikes is your passion I really don't see how wrenching on bikes for a living is going to kill that off, except for the long work hours cutting into your riding time. Riding and wrenching are totally different things.
I only did a short stint in the business, but it didn't quench my thirst for riding in any way. As a non-pro bike wrencher you might enjoy the labor of replacing your brake pads and adjusting the shifter, that joy might go away once you do it on a daily basis, but on the plus side you get really fast at getting it done so you can get out and ride.
Riding and getting muddy will still be fun, however you might end up going easy on maintenance as that part reminds you too much of work. My bikes looks like **** but works perfectly, I do what needs to be done and nothing more and ride the rest of the time.
Re: Working in the industry affect passion?
It wouldn't kill the Passion, but the moment you realize you work with bikes more than you ride them is a bit of an opener.
All the answers above are real good.
I opened up a bike shop 5 years ago. It has been a blast. Giant gave me a little hours of operation sign. On the back it says:
"Our job description:
1 Ride bikes.
2 Talk to you about riding bikes.
How cool is that?"
And that really is the way it is for us. I love talking to people about what they want to do with their bikes and helping them find the best bike and equipment for what they are planning on doing. I get real excited and I think the passion comes out as I work with people.
That said there are some "secrets" about owning a bike store.
1. Owning a bike store makes it real hard to get out and ride. I work 12+ hour days 6 days a week. That means I do most of my riding early in the morning. In the summers I starting rides at 4 or 5 in the morning. Night riding helps to at getting the biking in. I also commute by bike a lot which helps. On a bad day my commute is 6 miles, and a good day I can find mostly single track routes that can at least double that mileage.
2. It is a LOT of work. I know I basically said that in #1. But I work a ton of hours, and at the end of a Saturday with non stop running around trying to give everyone the attention they deserve I am exhausted.
3. Like someone else said this isn't an industry to go into if you want to get rich. The people I know that are in the industry are in it because they are passionate about biking. If you aren't, there are a lot easier ways to make money. The correct quote is, "How do you end up with a million dollars in the bike industry? Start with 2 million."
I got to work as a wrench for about 10 years, stepping away about 4 years ago to pursue a job using my degree. It was amazing, frustrating, informative, fun, and sometimes awful. I'm very glad I had the opportunity to work with something I love for so long. Of course, the retail world is where most people will have their experience because not too many people get to move up into the manufacturer ranks of the cycling industry so you may find a different opinion about working with the manufacturers as opposed to the retailers.
I recently got through a series of interviews with a very large bike brand here in the States and every time I spoke with a person or group of people who work there I always asked them "I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this, but I have to ask: how is working for _____?" To which I always got a detailed and passionate answer about how much they loved being around like minded people, loved working with bikes all day, and loved the work environment that creates. In my experience in talking with manufacturer lever industry people, they all seem to love what they do. I was pretty crushed when life circumstances beyond my control required me to step out of the interview process before I could hear if I was who they were looking for, but that's life and I'm currently employed so I shouldn't complain.
If you're wondering how working in retail has affected my passion for cycling I can say that I'm fully and completely hooked. I may have had to regretfully step away from this interview process with a major manufacturer but, as I told them, they will see my resume again as soon as they post the next something I'm qualified for. Because when you surround yourself with what you truly love, I don't think you can get sick of it. Your passion may change, maybe you won't ride as much or maybe you'll ride a lot more, but if something is truly your passion then being surrounded by it can't be a bad thing.
Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?
Working for a number of bicycle magazines killed my passion for reading bike magazines. Working as a roadie for a rock band for several decades killed my passion for going to concerts.
I left "the industry" in 1983 because at the level I was playing, i.e. owning a bike company, it was cutthroat competitive, and I would rather ride, and still do. At lower levels, i.e. as an employee, you need that passion or you would look for a better paying job.
Don't make your hobby your job, no matter what it is.
I'm pushing ten years in the industry. Up until 10th months ago I would have walked away at the drop of a decent fab job.
Thanks for the input. I decided to at least throw my resume at them. I'm guessing they won't pay as much as I need, but it won't hurt to at least feel it out.
Working in the industry affect passion?
Heart of the industry and passion is certainly compromised - not dead just altered...I can't look at bikes like I once used to in any way shape or form. It's sort of like innocence lost. That and I ride a whole lot less than I used to (dirt miles)
You never know, I guess. An acquaintance of mine started working at Specialized when they moved there warehousing to SLC. He was super stoked about the job at first, and I was jealous. Lots of extended 'lunch rides' and demo days at popular riding spots. At this point, he hasn't even been on a bike in a couple years.
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