Breaking Cycling’s Boy’s Club

Almost six months after she was hired, the shop had an opening for a full-time mechanic. Layton wasn’t moved into the position, as she’d been promised. Instead, the store hired a young man who hadn’t gone to bike school, and whose experience came from volunteering at the same bike shop where Layton had previously worked. “On his first day,” she says, “he overtightened a seatcollar on a carbon seatpost and cracked it, smashed it. I fucking would have known not to do that.”

Layton was never explicitly told that she wasn’t going to be moved into the full-time mechanic position. Instead, her bosses “hired around” her, evading her questions when she pressed them about when she’d get to start working on bikes. While she doesn’t hold a grudge against the mechanic who broke the seatpost, she’s irked that the shop manager and owner weren’t upfront with her about what they thought her capabilities were. “I took a huge pay cut, making a quarter of what I was making to work there, because I was promised that I would be hired as a mechanic,” she says. “And I never once had a bench of my own to work on.”

In Maissoneuve, journalist Andrea Bennett writes about the ways Canadian female bike mechanics are dismantling cycling’s highly stratified, male-centric culture and increasing access for female cyclists.

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