Pedal power – careers in cycling

bikeCycling offers many benefits from being a good form of exercise to a cheap and green way of getting around. But could it help you find a job? Aside from top sports cyclists, there’s a surprising number of bike-based careers out there.

From the basics of bicycle maintenance and repair, to complex bike builds and servicing, bike mechanics and technicians operate at a range of levels. Technical skills are accredited by Cytech, who run the industry’s recognised training scheme or you could sign up for an apprenticeship in cycle maintenance.

If you’re a keen cyclist and interested in working with people, then an opportunity in bike retail may be for you. The UK boasts over 2500 specialist independent cycle retailers and workshops, often owner-managed, which aim to offer customers choice, service and advice. And look out for opportunities in bike cafes and workshops, such as Look Mum No Hands!

Love being on two wheels? Why not consider cycling for a living? You could become a cycle courier, delivering anything from legal papers to blood samples, or work as an outdoor activity centre as a mountain bike instructor.

The growth in cycling as a leisure activity has led to a number of jobs in cycle race events, such as for the 100-mile Ride London. Other options include working for cycle hire and holiday companies – jobs at a specialist tour operator for example, could range from devising cycle routes to sourcing accommodation and making travel arrangements.

Another avenue is to work for a cycling organisation, encouraging cycling through promotional activity, and campaigning to improve conditions for cyclists through road safety measures and cycling facilities. British Cycling is the National Governing Body for cycling and CTC is the UK’s oldest and largest cycling body.

There are a number of organisations with an interest in cycling. Sustrans runs over 13,000 miles of walking and cycle routes which form the National Cycle NetworkLocal authorities often have roles involving cycling, from jobs in town planning to those promoting active travel.  At Transport for London, the body responsible for the capital’s transport system, cycle-based roles include running the Santander Cycle Hire Scheme, as well as promoting cycle safety and managing cycling statistics and data.

You could try combining a passion for cycling with a more conventional career. Semi-pro cyclist Jenny Davis balances competing at international events with a job in customer services at Standard Life. “ I get a really good response from everyone in the office,” she explains, “from people that I work with on a daily basis, right up to the chief exec.” WATCH VIDEO

Alternatively, you might want to consider a more creative approach. Avid cyclist Rob Penn has transformed his love for bikes and cycling into a varied career spanning books, journalism and programme-making.

So why not get on your bike and see what’s out there?