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Bike mechanic follows his passion

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 28/11/2012
Peter Ashley
JASON OXENHAM
JOB CYCLE: Bike mechanic Peter Ashley at his Dominion Rd workshop.

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Peter Ashley is one of those people lucky enough to turn his passion into a job and lifestyle. Joe Dawson sat down with him to talk about bikes.

Peter Ashley spends his days keeping his customers on two wheels.

Whether turning his attention to trusty old commuter hacks or assembling state-of-the-art road and mountain bikes worth thousands, it's all about pedal power for the self-confessed bike nut who works from his Dominion Rd bike shop Planet Cycles

"I've been doing this since I was about 19, about 20-odd years all up so a long time - too long," he says.

Becoming a bike mechanic is not the kind of job someone who doesn't have strong feelings about cycling is likely to get into and this was the case for Mr Ashley.

"I did triathlon and a bit of racing and it stemmed from there," he says. "Most people that are keen cyclists are pretty passionate about it. What better thing to do if you're passionate about something than to do it all day?"

These days some training institutes offer courses in becoming a bike mechanic but Mr Ashley says people keen on it would be better to find an independent bike shop and learn on the job. That way they can get into good habits straight away.

"I went into my local bike shop and they gave me a job, threw me in a corner and said build a bike.

"I must have been all right, I didn't get berated too much."

Nearly 20 years on he is still going strong.

Apart from a break of a few years to study audio engineering at MAINZ his whole career has revolved around bikes.

It has been a time of incredible change in the bike world too. While retro one-speed cruisers are indeed making a comeback, at the other end of the spectrum sits its polar opposite, a kind of highly engineered super bike.

With new bikes coming complete with features like front and rear suspension and electronic gear shifters, space age advances keep Mr Ashley stimulated.

"Technologically they are getting quite amazing.

"Every year I think the technology of bikes can't go any further but every year something else comes along.

"It's always evolving."

It's good for him too. As bikes become increasingly specialised it takes specialist attention to keep them going.

"These bikes with forks and shocks take regular servicing and it's not something someone can do unless they know what they're doing and if you don't know what you're doing you can wreck $1500 forks."

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