Pedal pushers learn how to fix their rides

A new bicycle maintenance class taught by Chris Brown of Brown Cycles at Western Colorado Community College has proven so popular that more dates have been added.

Brown said he is keeping the class size small, at fewer than 10 students per session.

The first class in January filled up so quickly he scheduled another Feb. 28, which also has filled up.

“We’re keeping class sizes small because if you get more than eight people with bike parts scattered around, it gets kinda messy,” Brown said.

The class is $100 and includes a tool kit, and is held during the weekend.

The class is “hands-on,” Brown said, and covers basic bike maintenance as well as more advanced skills such as brake and bearing replacement and building a bike out of the box.

Brown said he has a bit of an ulterior motive to offering the class: a fresh pool of potential employees.

“I know there are eight bike shops in this town, and we’re all looking to hire people every March,” Brown said.

From February to March, Brown said his sales at Brown Cycles, 549 Main St., jump 40 to 50 percent, which means he could go from doing $20,000 in business one month to more than $100,000.

“You never really know when it’s gonna come because it’s weather-dependent,” said Brown of the seasonal sales jump. “It can be tough to time, so I need to have extra guys here ready to go.”

Brown said the amount of people interested in taking the class is about split between cycling enthusiasts and people interested in working in the industry. He is drafting a list of the people who have taken the class and sending it to other bike shops around town as potential employees.

Katie Vigil is a planner and buyer for the bicycle wheel company DT Swiss and said she decided to take the course after hearing about it from her boss.

“Basically, I knew very little,” said Vigil of her knowledge before the class. “I knew how to ride a bike.”

But working in the cycling industry and getting back into riding herself prompted Vigil to want to familiarize herself with bike mechanics, she said, and she’s glad she took the course.

“It was a great class,” Vigil said.

Brown said he is renting the space from WCCC, so the class is not for credit through the community college. The college, however,  is pondering whether to add the course to its continuing education curriculum, Brown said.

“We just need to demonstrate there is a need and a demand for the class for it to get added to the curriculum,” Brown said. “That would be a huge thing for the bike shops and cycling community in general.”


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