Interview by B Vivit

The QBP Bike Mechanic Scholarship is for women, transgender, non-binary, gender-non-conforming, two spirit, and intersex individuals who work across the USA (and starting this year, Canada) in bike shops, hoping to gain more mechanical proficiency and certification. Kelsey Harrington came to us from Roanoke, Virginia as the General Manager for Downshift Bikes and Brews. With more confidence behind her hands, Harrington now leads educational workshops while growing her role in the maintenance part of the shop. Bloody elbows and a $h!t-eating grin after the LIV-sponsored ride; are how I remember Harrington's enthusiasm!

BV:
What is your name? Where are you from? What pronouns do you prefer?
KH: Kelsey Harrington, Roanoke, VA, she/her/hers
 
BV: When did you attend the United Bicycle Institute during the QBP Scholarship? And how many years did you apply before receiving the scholarship?
KH: October 2018, I applied one year.
 
"Just having a bigger picture idea of HOW bicycles work
helped me approach my work better."
 
BV: What is the most helpful tip or trick that you learned during your time at UBI?
KH: Just having a bigger picture idea of HOW bicycles work helped me approach my work better. I can sell bikes better, understand how to fix issues better, and even work more mechanically in other aspects of my life such as home maintenance! haha
 
Kelsey and bench partner Jessica Shadduck work through the exercise together.
 
BV: What job did you have prior to the scholarship class, and did you change jobs, job titles, or responsibilities after the scholarship? How did the scholarship help reset your new goals, or achieve the goals you already had in place?
KH: I have the same position: General Manager of Downshift Bikes & Brews, but I did take a more active role in maintenance and leading educational workshops.
I still struggle to see how to grow and stay in the field. I'd like to feel like I have a "career" that has potential for higher positions and more consistent benefits and money but I don't really know how to envision that. I'm happy where I am now but don't know what the next few years will look like. With the industry changing rapidly I hope to have a future in it.
 
 
"Stay true to your strengths and what makes you unique.
They aren't looking for a specific candidate but someone
who can be EXACTLY who YOU are."
 
BV: Any last thoughts you have?
KH: This opportunity was full of growth and I wouldn't trade it for anything!