Bike tech Owen Wright spins the wheels | News

Crossing Half-Way Tree Road in St Andrew’s, it can be easy to miss Paul’s bike repair shop, located close to Holy Cross Catholic Church.

But on a closer look inside, you’ll see bikes stacked up waiting to be tuned by master repairman Owen Wright, who’s been doing it for 53 years.

Wright said THE STAR that he initially dreamed of becoming a telephone line technician with the then Jamaica Telephone Company. But after spending hours watching his late uncle Aston Beans make bicycle wheels, it finally captured his attention.

“When I was a kid, I used to play with toy cars and I sat at that window. [pointing to the window] and that time the workers were over there so in the store and they used to adjust the bike wheels and dem ting deh. So, seeing my uncle do all this, it took him years to develop his skills. Build a [bicycle] the wheel isn’t easy to do, it involves constant watching,” Wright explained. He joked that at first he wasn’t keen on picking up his uncle’s craft but he was in it. drawn to spiritual ordination.

He shared that his first task to fix a bike came when a motorcyclist ran into a pedal cyclist along the busy Half-Way Tree thoroughfare.

“I was trying to tune the bike and it wouldn’t come out. What I had to do was tune the whole wheel, straighten the rim and put it back on. It took me about an hour and a half. I was the only one that could do that because everyone was thinking about straightening the rim just by hitting it and squeezing it. But they were just wearing out the spokes. So the only way now to bring the wheel back was to rebuild it,” did he declare. .

Wright admitted that a repair can take two hours, with common faults being hub wear or wheel issues. Armed with his chain breaker, as opposed to the traditional hammer and nail, Wright demonstrated how he fixes a broken chain link in less than five minutes.

He smiles through his mask while marveling at his work. Other tools such as the truing stand and holding keys were used to spin the wheels and straighten the rims of the bike.

Now, with the introduction of e-bikes, the 60-year-old told the press team there was an even greater need for bikes. He cited the health benefits that cycling brings to the human body, including improved cardiovascular health. Because of this, Wright says his job as a repair technician is not threatened by technology.

“You need movement, so if all you think about is electricity [bicycles] threatening the craft, then you are just killing the art of exercise. Bicycles are used to pedal, to strengthen your legs. So in a sense you’re just killing your own longevity. You need to exercise more and I don’t mind e-bikes,” he said.

From his training in his classes at Penn Foster College in the United States coupled with on-the-job knowledge, Wright remains committed to his career. He repairs up to 12 bikes a day.

Wright said THE STAR that it takes an understanding of math, an eye for detail, problem-solving skills, and a broad knowledge of bicycle makes and models to do the job.

His future plans include improving the physical appearance of his store and finding willing and interested apprentices to teach the trade.

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