Grease Rag Ride & Wrench


We encourage and empower women/ trans/ femme (WTF) cyclists in a collaborative and fun learning environment through rides, discussions, shop nights and educational seminars in a safer space.

 

Grease Rag Open Shop events are the hub of our activities, and happen multiple times a month at various locations.  Find an event on the map (below) or explore the events calendar for all of our events.

Find a Grease Rag open shop night near you

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Connect to Grease Rag- Join the lively community Facebook group, organize and discuss Grease Rag on our Google Group, follow us @greaseragmpls

Still have questions about what we do and who we are?  Read our FAQ!

04 Mar
2015

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International Women's Day: WTF-only ride

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on March 4, 2015   comments 0

International Women's Day: WTF-only ride

A ride for Women, Trans*, Femme, and GNC friends!

International Women's Day
Sunday, March 12 12:30-4:30
The Hub Bike Co-op at Oak St., 401 SE Oak St.

RSVP on Facebook

12:30p Meet at The Hub Bike Co-op on Oak Street: 401 Oak St SE
1:15p Ride to Recovery Bike Shop: 2504 Central Ave NE
3:00 Arrive at Gamut Gallery: 1006 Marquette Ave.

If you benefit from cis-male privilege, please sit this ride out- thank you for respecting our space.

2012 Grease Rag International Women's Day Ride

“Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!”

In 1975, which was designated as International Women’s Year, the United Nations gave official sanction to, and began sponsoring, International Women's Day. Now, every year, the UN designates a political and human rights theme to IWD. 2015 is “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!” commemorating the Beijing+20 campaign of 1995, and was chosen to celebrate progress and reflect on the state of women's rights.

Background

International Women's Day, formerly known as International Working Women's Day, did not start in 1975. In the late 1800's the oppression of women politically, economically and socially was becoming unbearable, and globally, strong women were beginning to unite, campaign and speak OUT to demand rights, equality, humane working conditions and the right to vote. Many national celebrations of womanhood were organized around the globe in the early 1900's.

Women have been politically active, organizing labor unions, striking, protesting, and fighting for every cent of the 77 that we earn compared to a man's $1*, and for rights to manage our own bodies for much longer than International Women's Day has been around. I mention this because I love IWD, but it's important to me to recognize that we have been proud radical organizers since before it was sanctioned or recognized!

*2010 Census Data (There would be an even greater inequity if we broke this down by race.)

Let's Celebrate

I am encouraged by the women that toiled for over 70 years to secure our right to vote.  I am proud of individuals like Annie Londonderry, breaking down gender barriers with a bike and a ton of heart. I'm proud to take part in the evolution of the feminist movement with women like you, and the women involved in the Gamut Gallery Exhibit, "Revolution Now."  So let's celebrate!

Arrival and departure times are approximate, but if you'd like to meet up with us along the way, here are the stops!

12:30p Meet at The Hub Bike Co-op on Oak Street, a shop that hosts Grease Rag Ride & Wrench 2nd & 4th Thursdays of the month, 7-9 PM

1:15p Ride to Recovery Bike Shop, a shop that hosts Grease Rag Ride & Wrench 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of the month, 7-9 PM

3:00p Arrive at Gamut Gallery for the International Women's Day Panel, featuring Joan Vorderbruggen, Drew Peterson and Robyne Robinson, facilitated by Ash Marlene Hane and Angela Sprunger.  Two of the panelists, Ash Marlene Hane & Angela Sprunger, curated and created work for a show called REVOLUTION NOW, which is currently showing at the gallery.

03 Mar
2015

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6th Annual Winter Skill Share Re-cap

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on March 3, 2015   comments 0

Way back in November 2014, on a balmy sunshiny afternoon before a single snowflake fell, Grease Rag hosted their 6th Annual Winter Skill Share at the beautiful Upper Blake School.

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We heard the experiences of winter biking from different WTF perspectives, sharing excitement and confidence with riders, gearing up to get us out during Minnesota’s toughest season. Along with several hours of winter know-how, we also shared snacks, hot tips, prizes, and even hosted a clothing/gear swap.

In the sessions, we highlighted four important aspects of winter cycling:
Click on the titles/links to read the details of each session!

“Bike Setups and Options” with Janni
"Safety, Handling, and Routing" with Kat
“Clothing” with Casey and Christina
"Maintenance and Cleaning" with Angie


After the sessions, presenters gathered together to answer questions from the audience. An active back-and-forth between the expert audience and expert panelists exposed a range of experiences, interesting perspectives, and creative solutions to some of winter’s common challenges.

 

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Finally, we wrapped the Winter Skill Share up by collecting feedback (intel for future events). Filling out the short questionnaire was a participant’s ticket into the gear swap. Newbies lined up first, those who were about to tackle their first winter of cycling, followed by everyone else who filled out the feedback form. Everything from gently worn snow pants, to hair ties. Something for everyone.


This event, in it’s 6th year, is more than just winter cycling skills and a technical approach to maneuvering and surviving a rough cycling season. It is SO MUCH SHARING of homegrown experiences and wisdom from WTF riders who have mastered their layering, routing, handling, maintaining, and choices for getting out in the winter. We are out there every day… high fives!

03 Mar
2015

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WSS6: Bike Setups and Options with Janni

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on March 3, 2015   comments 0

Where else to start than picking your ride?

This is a session re-cap from Grease Rag’s 6th Annual Winter Skill Share (2014). Too see more about this event, or individual sessions, read the 6th Annual Winter Skill Share Re-Cap here.

So is it better to have a fixed-gear, or a lot of gears? How about the style? Do I choose a mountain bike or a just keep riding my sleek street bike? I’ve hear that fenders are a great idea… are they? What about investing in studded tires, is it worth it?

This presentation covered all of this and much much more. What we learned was that every choice comes with its pros/cons and it is up to US to determine the best setup for ourselves!  Read Janni’s handout about bike set ups.

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The session’s follow up question/answer portion included queries about panniers…
Some riders prefer keeping the weight on their backs, for a better center of gravity. Others thought that a little extra weight in the back was helpful for tire traction in snow.

And tire “hacks” such as drilling screws through the tire to create cheap studs…
100% fail-rate was the quick answer although one person in the audience seemed to know the perfect screw and vouched for it’s reliability. The “zip-tie” option was largely considered inconvenient when changing flats.

About Janni: Fell in love with bikes the minutes she moved to Minneapolis, riding around the city with her brother for work and fun. She fumbled together her first road bike in her garage in 2009 and has since convinced a wonderful local bike shop to let her work part time.  She began attending the GR last year in NE and simply cannot stop telling everyone how great it and cycling are!

03 Mar
2015

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WSS6: Safety, Handling, and Routing with Kat

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on March 3, 2015   comments 0

“Keep calm and pedal through it”

This is a session re-cap from Grease Rag’s 6th Annual Winter Skill Share (2014). Too see more about this event, or individual sessions, read the 6th Annual Winter Skill Share Re-Cap here.

Kat has this way of describing winter biking, something that those from fairer climates would consider a feat for the insane, as the most normal and approachable activity one could try. For handling, Kat recommends that beginners try practicing in a parking lot. For more maneuvering through drifts and icy patches, Kat suggests taking it easy and to keep going straight and steady through it before taking a (WIDE) turn or (gently) braking. This also implies (and was recommended) that riders look further ahead to allow for more reaction time/space.

To really cover your bases on a winter ride, Kat recommends packing an I.C.E. pack, “In Case of Emergency”. This is a small collection of emergency items to get you through a stalled bike situation. Say… the roads are just too slick for you to feel safe riding... or you have a flat and no tools... maybe all those extra layers means that you’ve burnt too many calories and are now “crashing”. This pack has just enough supplies to keep you warm and get you to safety. My ice pack is a salted nut roll, $20 cash, and hand warmers. I have used my I.C.E. pack twice this winter!

Read Kat’s notes about Safety, Handling, and Routing.

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So what routes are best to take?
There was considerable discussion from the audience about this topic!  Bike routes in Minneapolis, it turns out, are typically plowed BEFORE streets. If there’s a problematic spot, riders suggest calling 311 (Minneapolis’ non-emergency reporting line). Route updates on Grease Rag FB site are awesome!

What to do about snow plows?
Despite what I was bracing for… NO… ONE… shared a story about a cyclist getting run over by a plow. And just like the rest of her presentation, Kat calmly explained what to do if you see one on the road: simply dismount and move far out of its path. (This is implying, of course, that you have taken the advice to be attentive and aware of your surroundings ;)

About Kat: Kat has been involved in Grease Rag since 2009 - first as a participant, and now as a facilitator at Sunrise Cyclery.  She rides bikes for work, for fun, and for sport.  Encouraging more WTFs to bike year-round is a goal that is easy to be excited about!

03 Mar
2015

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WSS6: Clothing with Christina and Casey

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on March 3, 2015   comments 0

Layers… so many layers!

This is a session re-cap from Grease Rag’s 6th Annual Winter Skill Share (2014). Too see more about thiscasey.jpg event, or individual sessions, read the 6th Annual Winter Skill Share Re-Cap here.

Presenters Christina and Casey shared their tips for surviving the MN cold while managing the heat your body’s generating during the ride. This can be a tricky balance, and different for every body-type, but can be managed with smart fabric choices and efficient layering. It doesn’t have to be expensive or uncomfortable. Somewhere between the presenter’s tips, experimenting, and determining your favorite combo, lies the answer!
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In her amazing handout, Christina shared her know-how about the varieties and qualities of different fabrics, as well as sources (buy, craft, re-use!) for finding these essential winter riding items. Casey performed a show-and-tell by dressing from base layer, to outer shell, with her own winter riding wardrobe.

Read Christina’s handout on fabrics and DIY clothing sources.

Here is a rundown of Casey’s demo of “What to Wear: How! Why!”

 


I wrote down a few random tips from the Q/A that followed this presentation:

  • • Big plus in all those layers = falling in all the extra padding isn't as rough as it could be!
  • • Get in the habit of NOT putting keys and sharp objects in your winter gear pants - this will prevent ripping!
  • • Keeping warm tips:
    • • keep hands and skin lubricated
    • • chronic cold or poor circulation could be caused by saddle tilt - try readjusting the tilt
    • • bar mitts with reusable warmers = great
    • • DON'T DRESS TOO TIGHT... blood-flow = good/warm
  • • Consider swapping out metal pedals for "platforms" - metal conducts cold and the platforms are typically made from plastics (also affordable!)
  • • Timing: do some putzing around inside (adjust seat, wait for a slower prepper, etc.) before going outside. This will get you warmed up before getting out in the cold.

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About Casey: Lives on Cedar and 37th by Minnehaha Creek, learned how to winter bike in Fargo, ND. My favorite thing about winter riding is your body heats up faster than your car's engine block. When you go outside it smells good and your cheeks get rosy, and the exercise makes winter "doable." And she enjoys how tough winter bikers are. This presentation is about how to layer up and stay warm on the coldest days, using what you have already!

About Christina: Christina is a cyclist, a knitter, and mother to 2 cats and 4 chickens. In the summer she enjoys gardening and camping, and in the winter keeping her sidewalk cleaner than everyone else's.

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