Jonathan Rus­sell


Power sports me­chanic, Snow City Cy­cle Marine

We ser­vice mo­tor­cy­cles, per­sonal wa­ter­craft, snow­mo­biles, ATVs and scoot­ers. A day could in­volve build­ing a new unit, do­ing rou­tine main­te­nance or tear­ing down a com­plete en­gine.

I dropped out of high school, went to the Univer­sity of Toronto as a ma­ture stu­dent for one year and re­al­ized it wasn’t for me. Then I went to Ge­orge Brown Col­lege to be­come a tool and die maker. I was a tool maker for 20 years, and to­ward the end of my ca­reer I had my own ma­chine shop. Although I was mak­ing an okay liv­ing, I wasn’t re­ally happy.

I was al­ways in­ter­ested in mo­tor­cy­cles. It’s a pas­sion. I ride mo­tor­cy­cles, and my friends and I build our own cus­tom mo­tor­cy­cles in our garages.

When I took Cen­ten­nial Col­lege’s mo­tor­cy­cle tech­ni­cian pro­gram, it wasn’t with the idea that I would start a ca­reer as a mo­tor­cy­cle me­chanic. I was go­ing to learn the nitty- gritty so I could I do a bet­ter job of build­ing these bikes. One of the in­struc­tors was the lead me­chanic here at Snow City, and he of­fered me a job. He thought I’d fit in.

At Cen­ten­nial, they give you an un­der­stand­ing of how all the dif­fer­ent sys­tems work to­gether for you to be able to ride down the street.

This is my sec­ond year at it. By no stretch do I know ev­ery­thing – there’s al­ways some­thing new and in­ter­est­ing to learn. That was the main rea­son I left my pre­vi­ous ca­reer to start in this field.

Maybe these things go in waves, but right now mo­tor­cy­cle cul­ture, es­pe­cially in Toronto, is on the rise. I’ve no­ticed there are a lot more peo­ple get­ting turned on by mo­tor­cy­cles. Riders have their own cliques to go out with. You go down to Oss­ing­ton and you see the café racer chop­per crowd, and then you have the cruiser dudes and the sport bik­ers.

In this job, there’s a lot of pres­sure to per­form – es­pe­cially in the sum­mer. ATVs and boats come through. Ev­ery day a cus­tomer is ex­pect­ing to have that unit done, and you need to work as quickly as pos­si­ble with­out mak­ing mis­takes.

The tech­nol­ogy is chang­ing. Since I’ve been an em­ployee here I’ve been to three tech­ni­cal schools: Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha. We’re also a Bom­bardier dealer, and I con­stantly have to keep up with things they’ve done dif­fer­ently from pre­vi­ous mod­els.

The big­gest dif­fer­ence be­tween mo­tor­cy­cle and car own­ers is your av­er­age car own­ers just want to get where they’re go­ing, while mo­tor­cy­cle own­ers love their mo­tor­cy­cles and pay very close at­ten­tion to them. Some­times you have peo­ple come in who de­scribe the most ob­scure thing and want you to fig­ure it out. Some­times that’s fun and some­times it’s re­ally chal­leng­ing. Peo­ple can be fa­nat­i­cal about their bikes.

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