Originally Posted by RobinGB
Have a job that makes money Then do something on the side that you enjoy.
Maybe use your hand/metal work skills and become a frame builder?
read about one persons experience Frame building course - Bohemian Bicycles
Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.
I have taken the framebuilding course at UBI and the Pro Mechanic course at Barnett's. So not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison. But I'd say that the Barnett's courses are VERY rigorous and methodical. I stayed at the bike hostel in Ashland with folks taking the mechanic courses at UBI and listening to them talk about it I'd guess that it wasn't as rigorous, but I don't really know for sure.
I can recommend Barnett's for wrenching courses. Plus, you get their DX manual which is pretty darn comprehensive. If you want to go and you can afford it, you should do it, even if you never work in a bike shop. In my case, I do feel like it helped me land a job at a bike shop. I got a job with the local shop of my choice, and over the course of several months I had several other local shops inquire if I was still interested. This despite having no prior experience at bike shops.
No, you won't make a good living working at a bike shop. But it might be fun, if only for a while. And depending on where you work, you'll get wholesale prices on bike parts....a helluva benefit once you realize how much you've been paying retail. Although a bike part habit can easily eat up your paycheck - be careful! Or who knows? It could lead to a "real" job with a bike manufacturer. That's what happened in my case: I worked 6 months at the shop, then landed a job with a locally-based manufacturer. Granted, it was in the warehouse, with only slightly better pay and still no benefits, but don't let people tell you that being a bike mechanic is a dead-end job. It can be a stepping stone, you just have to think big and keep your eyes open for opportunities.
As for me, I left the manufacturer gig to teach myself SolidWorks in hopes of getting (back) into product design. No regrets about my time in the bike biz, and I may end up back in it someday. In summary, follow your folly!