TRIP PREP SPECIALIST (TPS): FAQS & ANSWERS
Where will I work?
TPSs receive their work assignments near the end of the training process. Several factors determine where you might work, including individual preference and our company need. In general, a TPS can expect to work in one, maybe two, regions per season. We have learned from experience that it's most helpful and efficient for TPSs to learn one regional system in depth at a time. While systems are similar from region to region, they're not synonymous across the globe and practices vary from place to place. We're looking to hire TPSs to work in the following locations: Tuscany, Dolomites, Provence, Loire Valley, Croatia, Sicily, Puglia, Catalonia, Iceland, Ireland, Netherlands, Czech, Portugal, Andalucia, Brittany & Normandy, Bavaria, Piedmont, Parma, Switzerland, Pays Basques, Denmark, Canmore, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Gulf Islands, Quebec, Anchorage, AK; Whitefish, MT; Jackson Hole, WY; Berkeley, CA; Anacortes, WA; Stowe, VT; St. George, UT; Bend, OR; Portland, ME; and Charleston, SC.
Where will I be sleeping while I work?
Backroads provides housing for all field staff throughout the working season—this includes Trip Prep Specialists and Trip Leaders and Camp Crew when they're in the field but not on trip. Note that while all field staff employees share accommodations, each person will have his or her own bed or sleeping space. While Backroads offers housing throughout the season, please know it's not required to stay there. If you have alternative accommodations in the location you are working, you're free to sleep there.
Does an applicant need to be a capable bike mechanic?
TPS applicants should have enough experience in bike mechanics to know they enjoy it. We have a strong preference for those with bike mechanic aptitude but also for those with strong communication, teamwork and organizational skills. So while most of our applicants do not need to feel confident in the full-range of bike mechanic skills when they first apply, TPSs should be able to quickly learn to confidently fix typical bike issues in the field such as fine-tuning shifting, changing pedals, swapping saddles, changing brake pads and fixing flat tires. It's to your benefit to start learning and practicing these skills early, keeping in mind we may check applicant’s basic skills at the hiring event. Here are some of the mechanical skills that TPSs will have mastered before they enter the field: Replace a rear derailleur cable and properly adjust shifting in under 15 minutes. Replace a tube while checking the tire and rim tape for problems in less than 5 minutes. Remove and replace both pedals in under 2 minutes. Remove and replace a saddle in under 5 minutes. Just to name a few!
Will I get to choose where I work?
TPSs will submit their regional preferences and relevant regional travel experience during training. We take this, performance, language skills, stick shift driving ability and company needs into consideration when assigning work for the season.
How long is the TPS season?
Generally speaking, TPSs will work our peak season, May–October. Year-round work is available based on regional needs but winter work is based on regional needs in our winter regions (think warm places!) or warehouse work in our main Backroads hubs. In the past we’ve had Trip Prep Specialists work in places like California, Hawaii, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Belize and Argentina. Post season warehouse work typically consists of tasks like loading and unloading units departing and arriving from regions to overhauling and organizing trailers, bikes and equipment.
What is the career path of a TPS?
TPSs have the opportunity to progress within the company through several pathways. The most natural progression is for TPSs to become Operations Experts and be responsible for the logistics of vans, equipment and field staff housing of a particular region. TPSs may also apply to become Trip Leaders or for positions in our offices or warehouses to pursue long-term opportunities in many of our Backroads hubs.
How do I get a copy of my driving record? Do I really need one?
Yes. We cannot invite you to a Hiring Event without proof of a clean record. This information is required and essential for insurance purposes. Your report must show any accidents or infractions on your record. Unfortunately we are not able to consider applicants who have alcohol-related offenses on their driving record (DUI/DWI).
For US candidates: Most states will now allow you to order or access a copy of your driving record online. Please visit your local DMV for information.
For Canadian and European applicants: Please click the country links below for information on how to obtain a copy of your driving record/abstract:
May I request an informational interview?
Unfortunately, we're unable to grant requests for informational interviews. If you're interested in learning more about the job, please review the comprehensive information posted on this website. Of course, you may have questions unique to your situation, and we welcome an exchange and will strive to answer any questions you may have during the video interview.
What does a normal work day look like for a TPS?
In general, TPS schedules are flexible and created by the TPS in partnership with the Operations Expert of the region, but expect to work 35–40 hours/week, or 8 hours per day with an hour for lunch. Oftentimes the work schedule will vary from day to day based on responsibilities, how much equipment is on trip, when trips are returning to the warehouse, weather, etc. For example, some TPSs find it's best to work 2 p.m.–10 p.m. on the days that a trip is returning. On any given day a TPS will be responsible for bike and van maintenance, printing trip documents, organizing equipment and prepping for upcoming trips.
Who Will I Be Working With?
Who will I be working with?
The TPSs initial and day-to-day point of contact in the field is the regional Operations Expert, who will teach the TPS the local systems and help ensure a sustainable work rhythm. The Operations Expert is a constant and reliable resource throughout the season; however, they're not a day-to-day manager. They will be leading trips in addition to their operations role, which is why we hire independent, self-motivated individuals for this position. We trust our TPSs will get the job done without a manager hovering. Some of our busiest regions are composed of a TPS team: Two TPSs working seamlessly to ensure the smooth preparation of trips. Our TPSs also partner with leaders on prep days and occasionally on trip return days.
Will I be Working with Guests?
No. This is a non-guest-facing role focused on preparing equipment for trips. TPSs do not work "on trip" but are key field staff who are critical to the success of Backroads’ trip operations. TPSs will prepare all equipment at our local warehouses prior to a trip’s departure.
Will I have other types of responsibilities?
Yes. TPSs hold a variety of responsibilities when not preparing for upcoming trips including, but not limited to, loading vans and trailers at our warehouses, driving vans and trailers from our Backroads hubs to regions in the field, end-of-season maintenance and other warehouse work. This work is supplemental to regular TPS responsibilities and will be assigned based on TPS availability and our company need.