Being a woman in a male-dominated environment can be a challenge, but not for Mollie Bourdos. Mollie is a staff mechanic at the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective, where she was one of the first apprentices to finish the third tier of the Collective’s Apprenticeship Program. Working directly with the lead mechanic for weeks, she slowly learned the basics to advanced bicycle mechanics. Before completing the apprenticeship, Mollie hadn’t worked on bikes at all. She was a social worker with youth-oriented agencies, but knew she wanted to be a mechanic.
According to Mollie, “My life’s a complete 180, and it’s exactly the way I want it to be.”
Now she’s a staff mechanic in the Bicycle Collectives’s Salt Lake location. The Collective gives Mollie a chance to learn new diagnostic and problem-solving skills that apply beyond bikes. “Mechanics are a way of looking at things, reducing variables until you know the root cause,” she says. She likes working at the Collective because, with the open-shop environment, there’s always a need to teach and go outside her comfort zone.
Mollie says her work at the Bicycle Collective inspires her to challenge stereotypes and to be a role model for women in the shop. She’s glad whenever women or girls see her working on complex issues and hopes it encourages them to do so as well.
At the heart of our community are people like Mollie and organizations like the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective. Where, in addition to teaching people bicycle mechanics, they:
- Refurbish over 2,800 bicycles annually, providing the world’s most efficient transportation to their new owners
- Refurbished and donated 1,390 bicycles to low-income families
- Parked over 10,500 bikes at their Bike Valet at the Downtown Farmer’s Market and other community events, such as the Utah Arts Festival and the Outdoor Retailers Show
- Trained kids to become bike mechanics through the “Earn-a-Bike” course
- Took nearly 600 kids on mountain-bike trips on trails all around the state
Click here to follow the Heart of Our Community blog, where we have shared stories about programs at the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective and some of the people’s lives who have been impacted by their services.