As I remember, it would have been some time in 1987, the 1st time I saw the movie “Rad”. A movie about a kid and his BMX chasing a dream! From that moment on I could see that the humble bicycle could be used for something more than getting from A to B.
As I remember, it would have been some time in 1987, the 1st time I saw the movie “Rad”. A movie about a kid and his BMX chasing a dream! From that moment on I could see that the humble bicycle could be used for something more than getting from A to B. From necessity, after my dad told me I needed to do it for myself, I soon started tinkering on my bike and my friends bikes whenever they would let me. From a very young age I knew that I wanted to work in a bicycle store. I have to say that the movie, ”Rad” changed my life!
When I was in high school at Coffs Harbour, year 9 & 10, I had two interests; my bike an ’88 Haro Master and music, if it was heavy Metal or Punk I was into it! Some friends and I would ride our BMX bikes pretty much every day, this was in the days before there was a skate park in every town. One of these friends, Scott, was an awesome BMX freestyle rider and at that time was my greatest inspiration to become a better bike rider.
I am sure we have all had one of those moments in our lives that you think to yourself; “I am going to do this just because you said I can’t”? We were in a class with a ‘Career Guidance Counsellor’. He was going around the class asking the question “What do you want to do when you leave school?” When he got to Scott and I, Scott replied with “I want to be a professional BMX freestyle rider”, which was met with “what is that?” After some explanation from Scott, he was told “He should seek another career because you can’t make money from riding a bike!” I had 2 goals, I wanted to be a professional musician but there was a huge problem, I owned no instruments nor had I ever played one? I told him “I wanted to work in a bike shop” which was met with something along the lines of “there is no future in that and I am sure there is no money to be made!” I completed year 12 in 1992.
For the next 5 years, I worked in a bunch of jobs I did not enjoy. Some were OK but not what I wanted to do! Sometime towards the end of 1997, I quit my job with a kitchen manufacturing company. With no security and no savings I took a punt on getting the job I really wanted. It all started when I walked into Wheels in Motion inside of Rebel Sport at Erina and met the department manager (DM), Rodney Byrnes. I told him what I wanted to do. He did what he could to get my foot in the door of the bicycle industry, and for this I am forever grateful! I can happily say he is now a customer of Bicycle Tech Bar.
I met Dan Cleary while we were both racing downhill with the CCMTB club sometime during 98. We got chatting and it turned out we had quite a lot in common, plus he had recently purchased Peninsula Cycle Centre (PCC) and was in need of a head Mechanic, but me being the loyal person I am I told him that I was getting looked after at Wheels in Motion and being promoted to the DM position. I soon learned about the politics that go on in these big department stores, which meant I didn’t get the position and I now had a new boss and less hours. I called Dan, asked if the job was still available and quit the next day! Working with Dan at PCC was a blast, we had some awesome times and adventures! I met so many cool people, including Peter Garrett! I got to meet and know Dane Searls and his twin brother when they were little kids. It is cool to know this little champ used to ask my advice, who would have guessed Dane would go on and accomplish the many amazing things he was able to, a young life gone way too soon. I worked with Dan for about 3 years finishing up early 2002. At the time I left I was pretty disappointed with how it had ended, but time heals all wounds. I have spoken with Dan many times since and it is water under the bridge, even having a chat recently where he congratulated me on opening my own store.
After PCC and between jobs, I was at a DH race at Nundle near Tamworth. I had a crash which resulted in a broken ankle and because of how the break was; I could not get a cast. I was told to keep walking on it as much as I could, until one day I stood on a piece of steel tubing with my bad ankle and I heard a loud snap. I had broken my Achilles tendon which needed surgery and 8 weeks in a cast (I even got married with this cast on!). I was at a pretty low point in my life, no job, a busted leg and I was getting fatter and whiter! Who was going to employ me?! I took a chance and started handing my resume out which resulted in me getting employed by Cycology Bicycles for about 18 months. While I was there a job opportunity came up with SCV Imports that I jumped on!
This was a job that I had never thought about doing, working in the wholesale side of the bicycle industry. I was given so many new opportunities which included travelling to Taiwan, Vegas and a bunch of other places! I was Brand Manager for a bunch of great cycling products including FSA. The job had a lot of rewards and I learned so many things at SCV Imports! I got to work with some awesome people from store owners, staff and professional bicycle riders; it is always a highlight when you get to meet your idols. To this day I am so grateful I had the chance to work with Stuart Voysey, who I still call now to seek advice and find out the goss! It was a massive highlight of my working life, I was there for 8 years but I realised I couldn’t sit behind a desk anymore and wanted to get back to my passion of fixing bikes.
I was then employed at The Edge Cycles starting at the end of 2012, but even before I started working there I knew I needed to get on top of what I wanted to do, which was open my own store (or even buy an established store). I wasn’t at The Edge for very long when I was offered a position at a Specialized store in the Newcastle area. It was less money and I had to travel, but I had a chance to work with Brad Kelly again, a bicycle mechanic who I believe is by far the best I have had a chance to work with. We worked together at SCV Imports. He has taught me so many things that again I am so grateful to have had the chance to learn from him. I left that store for the 1st time early in 2015 because I was sick of the travel and the low pay wasn’t helping either.
I immediately started working at Erina BikeWorx, the pay and travel were great, but I wasn’t comfortable and knew what I wanted so I bit the bullet and got the ball rolling for my own store. I left BikeWorx in September 2015, after being asked to come back to the bicycle store in Newcastle, but only after I requested more money. I went back for 4-5 months while planning what I needed to get my store happening. During my time at BikeWorx I read an article in a bicycle trade magazine about stand alone bicycle mechanic stores. One of the articles featured Arron Dobbs, owner of BS16 a bicycle repair store in Collaroy. While I had many ideas and goals, I photocopied this article and it became the basis of my store, this article inspired me to focus my store mainly on the mechanic side of the business and in March of 2016 I opened the doors to Bicycle Tech Bar.
Cycling has been very good to me. I have been a long time member of the Central Coast MTB Club joining sometime in 97-98 and I was a serving committee member from 2004 -09. I was NSW DH Masters 1-2 State champion in 2004, I have won a few silver and bronze in the NSW State series and champs over the years. I was the NSW State DH co-ordinator during 2009. I have owned more brands of bikes than I can remember, I have been lucky enough to ride & race bikes in a lot of different places with lots of different people, I have made an awesome collection of friends, I have met so many of my cycling heroes, and I am nowhere near finished yet!
“Don’t wish for it, work for it”