On the USA Cycling professional road tour there is only one woman mechanic. Her name is Andrea Smith and she is the head mechanic for Team Colavita-Bianchi. She joined the U.S. top-ranked team in 2014 when owner John Profaci put together an all-women staff to run the all-women team.
Andrea has spent most of her career riding and working on bikes. She credits first discovering her love for them when she received a Big Wheel on her 3rd birthday. However, it wasn’t until she was in college, at the University of Montana, that her passion for cycling grew while exploring the single track trails in the mountains.
It was only after Andrea purchased a new mountain bike that she decided to learn the basics of bike mechanics. “Since I spent all that money, I wanted to learn how to take care of it,” Andrea said. “That’s what started my interest in bike mechanics – working on my own bike.”
Following graduation, Andrea moved to the East Coast and started working at the outdoor gear store REI where she spent six years honing her “wrenching” skills. While working there, she also discovered the sport of cyclocross (a specific type of racing that includes a variety of terrains), and raced at the elite level for five years.
In this video, Andrea talks about being the only woman mechanic on the tour and wanting to see more women pick up a wrench. “I think there is a direct correlation between women riding bikes and women working on bikes. To get more women wrenching, we need them riding.”