Project Bike Tech teaches bicycle mechanics in schools

Teaching skills beyond the bike world

Back in 2008, bike shop co-owner Berri Michel had a vision of an education program aimed at training the next generation of bike mechanics. Fast forward to today, and Michel's Project Bike Tech has taught more than 3,000 students the job skills to be hired as a bicycle mechanic and hopes to provide a path to various cycling industry careers including engineering, fabrication, marketing, sales and graphic design.

Partnering with schools

Project Bike Tech wants to be the umbrella organization that oversees bicycle-oriented classwork in schools in the United States. "We envisioned it being similar
 to how the auto industry spearheaded the creation of high school auto shop programs back in the 1930s," Michel said. "We set out to create new generations passionate and knowledgeable about bikes.”

Most schools call the class Bike Tech and it's a credited high school elective that meets standards in all 50 states. The class is said to use bike mechanics to teach Common Core and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) curriculum.

In addition to bike mechanic skills, Project Bike Tech also teaches urban planning and appreciation for the outdoors
In addition to bike mechanic skills, Project Bike Tech also teaches urban planning and appreciation for the outdoors

While Project Bike Tech's original education focused solely on mechanics, it soon branched out to include sales, POS systems, inventory and even job interview preparation. 

Upon completion of the class, students leave with two certificates: one as a entry-level bike mechanic or assembler, which is recognized by the bicycle industry, and one in career tech which is endorsed by Career Technical Education.

Graduates of the Bike Tech program have gone on to jobs at various bike shops as well as at Santa Cruz bikes, Fox Shox, Ibis Cycles, and Snap-On Tools, according to Project Bike Tech.

Project Bike Tech claims there are over 200 students enrolled annually across eight California public schools with a Bike Tech class. Michel says more classes are coming in Colorado and Vermont for the 2018/19 school year.

Project Bike Tech classrooms can be found in Northern California and soon Colorado and Vermont
Project Bike Tech classrooms can be found in Northern California and soon Colorado and Vermont

What's included

  • Standards-based curriculum on the mechanics of the bicycle
  • A hands-on, multi-sensory learning environment
  • Specific career training 
  • Instruction that reinforces core academic skills

Want to start a class? 

If this sounds good, Project Bike Tech lays out what's needed to start its program in your school on its site
Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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