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Graduate Profile: Cam Baker

by Karen Tindall on 2 September 2016

From the Workshop: Cam Baker, Bike Mechanic

Cam Baker has been a bike mechanic from day one. He lives and breathes bikes; watch him doing his thing in the workshop and he’s calm, smooth, efficient. Tools fall easily to hand, routine services get ticked off one after the other, tricky jobs somehow become straightforward. And there’s always still time to trade jokes with customers.

Cam Baker of Rouleur Cycles

Cam Baker at work in the Rouleur Cycles workshop. Rouleur works on plenty of high-end road bikes but Cam services all sorts of bicycles right across the range

The surprising thing is that Cam, 22, has been a professional mechanic for little more than two years. He completed Cornerstone Education’s Bicycle Mechanics  qualifications (Level 3 and 4) in 2014 and now, after stints in Queenstown and at an Avanti shop in Auckland, he’s the lead mechanic for Rouleur Cycles, a thriving store in Onehunga.

Cam can’t really imagine working outside the bike industry. He’s always had bikes and he’s always worked on them. Doing it professionally was a natural progression.

“I did the bike mechanic course in Auckland after a year off after school and got the first job I applied for,” he explains. “It was at H & J Outdoor World in Queenstown.  That appealed to me because Queenstown’s great for mountain biking, and I’ve always been into off-road bikes.”

Cam Baker of Rouleur Cycles

A mechanic in his kingdom: Rouleur Cycle’s Cam Baker


The course, Cam reckons, was a great launching pad for his new profession. “There really were no surprises on the job. I just had to apply what I had learned, knowing that I had plenty more to learn but also confident that I had a base of knowledge good enough to get me through.”

The other advantage: credibility. “The course gives you exposure equal to a year on the job, and that’s important because most bike shops in New Zealand are small and they don’t always have the time and resources to help you get up to speed. The qualification also means you’re going to be taken seriously when you go for a job, even if you don’t necessarily have a network of contacts in the trade.”

Cam found his current job, through a posting on Cornerstone Education’s Facebook group for their bike mechanic students, in September 2015. He called in, chatted for three hours, and got an offer on the spot.

It was a good move, he says. “There have been offers from other shops but I like it here. I get on well with the owner and with the customers, and I’m sole charge in the workshop. We work on interesting stuff – we sell more high-end road bikes than anything else but the workshop welcomes all kinds of riders and all kinds of bikes. And we’re able to do nearly the full range of repairs and upgrades in-house.” Cam’s advice for anyone eyeing up their first job as a bike mechanic: be prepared for change.

Cam Baker of Rouleur Cycles

Cam adjusts the rear derailleur of a customer’s bike.

“Products change quickly, sometimes more quickly than people are ready for. SRAM’s new 12-speed, for example. It means you can’t be complacent.

“The other thing is, be prepared to ask for help. Working in a bike shop is the beginning of a journey; there’s always something new to learn.” Down the road, Cam sees potential for specialising, perhaps in wheel building or in repairing suspension systems, or working for a distributor. That’s in the future, though – for now, there’s plenty to get on with at Rouleur Cycles. And that’s the way he likes it.


Rouleur Cycles

41 Selwyn Street, Onehunga, Auckland

Rouleurcycles.co.nz and https://www.facebook.com/RouleurCycles

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