Many job-advice stories advocate following your passion. As the saying goes: If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Rather than staying at a job you don’t love, why not switch things up and work in a field you have a passion for, like cycling.
Whether it’s riding your bike up the Swiss Alps as a tour guide or motivating gym-goers in a spin class, these eight cycling-industry gigs could be the dream job you didn’t know you wanted.
BICYCLE TOUR GUIDE
With more and more companies like Trek Travel and Backroads popping up around the world, there are jobs to be had as a bicycle tour guide. You’ll need to have the freedom to be away from home for weeks at a time and have extensive knowledge of the area you plan to ride, but if you don’t have family obligations and you like the idea of touring some of the most beautiful cycling areas in the world, this could be the job for you. Basic bicycle repair knowledge and first-aid certifications are needed as well as a good fitness level (think about it — you may be riding in the French Alps) and excellent people and communication skills.
PROFESSIONAL CYCLING PHOTOGRAPHER
Working as a photographer for a media outlet isn’t impossible, but those jobs are harder and harder to come by. However, if you have the skills, working as a freelancer isn’t out of the question. People like Graham Watson and Russ Ellis have made quite a career for themselves, and are known for capturing iconic shots in races like the Tour de France and Paris Roubaix. While you might have to use this passion as a part-time occupation until you get your foot in the door, one way to begin a career as a photographer is to enter a cycling photography competition.
Similar to a photographer, it might have to be a side hustle, but finding a job in publishing is possible — whether it’s creating your own blog or becoming a cycling gear editor for an online publication. To get one of these jobs, you’ll need to have a journalism or editing background and plenty of knowledge of all things cycling. While the job requires a lot of alone time at your desk, on the plus side, there may be travel involved if you’re covering a professional event, and riding your bike is necessary in order to develop inspiration and perspective.
If staying fit is a passion and you like to motivate others to get in shape, why not try a career as a spin instructor? SoulCycle and Flywheel are two U.S. studios offering a ton of classes and they are always looking for upbeat instructors to lead them. Most gyms also offer spin classes and hire instructors to run a few classes per day. And the best part of this job is you get to ride while you work, so you won’t have to worry about exercising once your shift is finished.
BIKE SHOP OWNER
Running your own business isn’t for everyone, but if it’s always been a dream of yours and you love cycling, why not take the plunge and open a bike shop? While online retailers have cut down the number of bike shops in the U.S., there are still plenty of advantages to buying a bike in person as opposed to shelling out $3K for a bike you’ve never ridden. If you can get creative and make it different from the rest — like have a cafe, showing events or offer coaching — opening your own shop is plenty feasible.
If tinkering with bikes is something you like to do, there are a ton of bike mechanic jobs that might suit your skill set. While pro-tour mechanics are probably the most sought after of all mechanic jobs, those come with long hours and lots of travel during racing season. The good news is local bike shops and bike manufacturers around the U.S. are always looking for people who are good with a set of wrenches to assemble bikes at their headquarters. Some of these jobs pay better than you might think depending on your skill level, and you won’t have to spend your waking hours behind a desk.
Are you good at teaching and motivating others? Do you have experience racing, or a background in sports science? The number of cyclists interested in improving their performance continues to grow in the U.S. — and with the rise in popularity more and more professional and amateur athletes are looking for coaches to create structured training plans and get advice on things like nutrition, strength training and recovery. If this sounds like a job you’d be interested in, consider becoming a certified USA cycling coach to get started.
Companies are always looking to develop the next best helmet, kit or bicycle frame. If you’re creative and have a background in engineering, why not become a product developer? These jobs pay a lot better than some of the others on this list and are available if you have a history of similar experience. If you don’t have an engineering background, graphic designers, product testers and other similar entry-level jobs are available in this field, too, and some may even let you learn on the job without a degree.
GLOBAL CYCLING MARKETING MANAGER
The main responsibilities of this job are to figure out which athletes to sign to a brand, which teams to partner with and then work with the product development team to make sure the right products are in the works. Of course, knowing how to market products to increase sales is a must, but you will get to be around the sport and rub elbows with some elite riders. The good news is, nearly all big cycling brands have at least one of these marketing managers who gets to go around and outfit the pros with all of the gear they need.
THE PRO TOUR
For cyclists who are young enough and have the power in their legs to compete with the best, a spot on an up-and-coming pro team could be a dream come true. While you probably won’t compete in the Tour de France in your first go-round, there are plenty of smaller cycling teams looking for young, talented riders. For those of us past our prime, consider pro tour jobs like team chef, massage therapist, mechanic or other support staff positions.