Mountain Biking

11 Mountain Biking Jobs For Anybody Too Shit To Turn Pro

You don't have to be super good at mountain biking to make a living from the sport...

Imagine the life; waking up, rolling out of bed, grabbing your bike and riding out onto new trails every day, competing in front of thousands of people when the season hits in and training hard to improve your skills in the off-season.

Now forget it. You’re not good enough to be a professional mountain biker. That’s why you’re here, right? If you are a professional mountain biker then shut this window already. You have the perfect life and we’re all incredibly jealous. Yes, that means you too Aaron Gwin. We can see you through your webcam. Shut that browser and get back to your saddle.

Just because you’re not good enough to be a pro though doesn’t mean you can’t make a living in the world of mountain biking. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Here are a few ideas… some are more serious than others.

1) Work in a Bike Shop

The quintessential bike lover’s job and one that a lot of us will have had at one point or another – whether as the Saturday boy, the bike mechanic, the bike builder or even maybe a shop owner if you stuck at it for long enough and really committed.

Pros: You get to spend all day around bikes and even get to test ride the new rides, if your boss is nice enough. Oh, and did we mention the discounts?

Cons: You’ll spend a lot more time repairing and dealing with bikes than you will actually riding them, customers can be douchebags, and even with those discounts, you’re undoubtedly still not getting paid nearly enough to afford both food and that new ride that you’re after.


2) Photographer

Brett Rheeder kicks off the SRAM drop during practice of Crankworx Rotorua Slopestyle, beneath a Mauri carving… Photo: Chester Boyes

The dream job for many. This is the art of pointing, shooting and capturing the best sport in the world, and somehow managing to stand out from the crowd while you’re doing it. Everyone is a photographer in some form or another these days, but the men at the top are next level. So best of luck with this one.

Pros: If you get good enough you’ll get to travel the world, hang with your favourite pros and ride tracks few others get access to.

Cons: It’s a crowded, congested field of work and it can be hard to make a living from. You’ll have to splash out some serious dough if you’re going to get serious about it, too. And your favourite shot from a full day of work? It’s probably not going to be the one you’re going to sell.

3) Journalist

So you have a bunch of opinions on stuff, talk too much and like typing about bikes while sitting shoeless on a rock on a sandy paradise, as above? Then do we have the line of work for you! Pick up your pen or keyboard and tell the world what you think…

Pros: Access! Access to trails around the world, to the pros and the stories they have to tell, and to some of the sickest events in the industry.

Cons: Being glued to your laptop and phone for the majority of your life, and never being able to sleep again.

4) Brand ambassador

This one in particular requires no mountain bike skill – just a big following on either Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Youtube. Ideally, all of the above. You’ll pick up sponsors who will pay you to post!

Pros: Endless free shit.

ConsThe loss of happiness that comes with living a lie.

5) Industry professional

Photo: WWF

This is probably the most serious, or at least the most obtainable job on the list; a marketing or executive role at some sort of bike company, where you do a real job – marketing, admin, HR or something like that – but for a bike company.

Pros: You can actually make a living out of this.

Cons: That living will involve a lot more work than it will mountain biking.

6) Bike Park Cafe

Just serving stuff at the bike park, innit?

Pros: Your riding time will be unparalleled, and you’ll become much better than all your mates pretty quickly.

Cons: At no point will you make any money.

7) Bike Guide

Be the man or woman responsible for showing newbies round the trails and leading adventures on lines you know better than anyone.

Pros: A lot of riding time, and a lot of new friends.

Cons: The less in demand you are, the harder it is to make a living, obviously, and the better you do, the less free time you have. You will be exhausted forever or constantly poor.

8) Trail Builder / Designer

Photo: Rutger Pauw

Can you dig it? If the answer is ‘yes you can’, and you also don’t mind having no spare time, putting in a lot of manual labour and constantly being covered in mud, then this could very well be the dream job.

Pros: You get to spend your life building mountain bike trails with like-minded people.

Cons: If you’re going to get designing, you need a whole lot of experience in a whole lot of fields, and if you’re going to be a digger, you need to know how to work a digger. Also, you have to be motivated and hard-working. Who has time for that?

9) Travelling Liquor Salesman

Okay we’re stretching the boundaries a little here. But if you stuck a keg on your mountain bike and cycled around the trails, we reckon you could make a few quid here and there?

Pros: No office. Beer.

Cons: Almost certainly having to move back in with your parents, and quite possibly breaking the law depending on your current location.

10) Man With a Pick Up Truck at Bottom of Big Hill

Again, this is somewhat a stretch as far as the word ‘profession’ goes but a man with a pick up truck at the bottom of a steep set of mountain bike trails charging a couple of bob to get back up is always going to be able to afford at least one meal a week.

Pros: No office. Bikes.

Cons: Almost certainly having to move back in with your parents, and quite possibly breaking the law depending on your current location.

11) Mountain Bike Bum

This one is just living at the bottom of a trail in a tent and riding trails whenever you fancy.

Pros: Unlimited access to trails.

Cons: Having to hunt for your own food. Being near-enough homeless.

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