15 Apr


Bikes Move Me- Guest post by Rachel


on April 15, 2014   comments 0

Text and photos from our Grease Rag friend, Rachel!  Thanks so much for reporting on WTF bike spaces outside of Minneapolis.  Now I want to visit Bicas in Tucson!

Recently, I took a trip to Tucson, AZ with my sweetheart to visit some of his friends. Though we were only there for a few days, we made a point of checking out bike-related businesses and events. One of the events we went to was the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association Bike Swap Meet.

I was new to this idea, but basically it was like a farmer's market of all things bike, mostly in the form of parts. You know, ingredients to make a delicious feast of a bike. There were many vendors who were selling random used bits - clunky metal parts I'm only beginning to be able to recognize and name (cassette! crank!) - and others doing fancy resale of clothes and accessories. There were frames of every persuasion, tires of every color, fixies and beach cruisers. 
While at the bike swap meet we came across BICAS (pronounced BEE-kuhs), which stands for Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage. BICAS is "Tucson's Bicycle recycling and education center. The BICAS mission is to promote education, art, and a healthy environment while providing service and opportunity for those in need." I was extremely excited to see that they have a Women, Trans, Femmes night. I'm copying the text of their flier here, because I thought you might find it interesting to see how they structure their space and how they conceptualized what WTF means in terms of gender.

BICAS PRESENTS: Women, Trans, Femmes
Monday nights, 4-8 pm.

Creating a supportive, non-patriarchal environment to learn and practice bicycle mechanics.

This workshop is run similarly to the BICAS open shop but with a supportive all-WTF atmosphere. No sign-up required, drop in for all or part of the workshop. Cost is $4 per hour or $12 for the entire afternoon. 

Open to all women, transfolks, genderqueer folk, femmes and other people who've had gender bias, homophobia or transphobia keep them away from the wrenches.

On the flip side of the flier... 
Please Respect This Space:
This space is for:
Women: A female person and/or a person who identifies as a woman.

Trans: Transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, anyone whose gender identity is fluid, transgressive, or transitioning.

Femme: A gender identity in which someone (female, male, or other) actively embodies a feminine appearance, role, or expression.

Children: Kids under the age of 6 are welcome to attend the workshop regardless of gender. All children must be supervised.

Ways to Support WTF night
Respect the space. If you are not female or trans, please come to the shop during other open hours.

Tell all your female and trans friends about WTF Mondays at BICAS and encourage them to attend.

Educate yourself, become more aware of women's and transgender issues.
They also have a work-trade program, which is "an opportunity for you to help out at BICAS and earn shop credit that you can trade in for a used bike, used parts and shop rent to fix your bike."  My Tucsonian friend used to volunteer with BICAS and told me that many of the organization's staff are women-identified folks. That made me happy as well. Check out their website here: http://bicas.org/
I wish I'd had the foresight and the time to go check out their actual space. The next (bike) trip I take, I think I'll make it a priority to more proactively check out any bike organizations - not just businesses and events - and to attend any WTF events. Connection to community is power!
Should-haves and by-gones aside, even just traipsing through the bike swap made me feel full-hearted, hopeful, and like we were getting right with the world. Bikes are magical. Bikes move me.

14 Apr


30 DOB: How time flies!


on April 14, 2014   comments 1

Wah! Where has all the time gone?! Where once I felt like I was just sitting on my hands, wondering where all my friends were hiding, I now feel on the verge of overwhelmed. It's a good - and sometimes bad - feeling. 




A most wonderful ride is coming up TOMORROW NIGHT 4/15 - the PINK FULL MOON RIDE! If you've never been on a full moon ride with the wonderful folks at Grease Rag, come and play! A super friendly, no-drop, beginner and VERY social ride, you're pretty much guarunteed to have a good time. We're meeting up at 7:30pm at Gold Medal Park, rolling out at 8pm. Brings snacks to share if you dare! More info on Facebook here. 


My bike and I have been so many places these past few days. It's spring now, and everything is happening really quickly. I've had a lot on my mind, so I'll do my best to be poetic, or at least coherent. 

Last week, my bike took me to the garden my sister and I keep in her yard in Northeast. I''ve been away for a couple of years, and so there was some work to be done in terms of pulling weeds and tilling the soil. But I've always loved to feel the dirt under my toes, and with my little two-year old nephew at my side, I found a lot of joy in waking up the worms and planting the first crops of the year. I think a lot of that joy, relief even, came upon me because lately I've so felt like a seed: sometimes buried in darkness and dirt, but compelled to grow nonetheless. The seed must feel discomfort and confusion at its new roots and stems, like I feel dizzied at what seems like my sudden and intense involvement in the bike world here in Minneapolis. I don't always recognize myself, the things I wear, the conversations I have. I find myself querying my friends all the time now: "Am I a bike guy now? Am I that guy? When did I become that guy?" Luckily, my friends are a bit less...panic-prone than I am, and gently remind me that it's a good thing to branch out (ha!), to get deeper into a community. Consider the seed: the outside changes, but it's the same plant all along.

Speaking of which, just yesterday I went to my first gravel event, the Miesville Grinder, a loosely organized 56-mile ride in southern MN.  I was fine in the days leading up, and unafraid (if a little sleepy) in the car on the way down to Miesville. But by the time we were lining up, I froze. Big time. Eyes were saucer-sized and tear filled, smile totally absent, which if you know me is pretty weird.  As we rolled up to the starting point I felt choked with anxiety, curling up in myself in the face of a world I've never been in and didn't know how to deal with. There were so many jerseys! And beards! And expensive bikes! OH, THE BROADIES! How could I handle it? But then I noticed another person, on the same make and model of bike as me, wearing a skirt - just like me! Taking a breath, I complimented them on it. We rode together for a moment, chatting about our respective chronic cold butt conditions, and I felt relieved! There were other people at this event just like me, just practicing, just playing. I smiled at a stranger and my whole day changed. And for that, I consider it a success.


Who have you met on your bike recently? Are you growing right now, too? How do you feel half-way into 30 DOB? And will you be at our group ride tomorrow?! I sure hope so! 

08 Apr


4th Annual Group Camping Trip- June edition!


on April 8, 2014   comments 3

4th Annual Group Camping Trip

Who:  All WTF cyclists are welcome, especially beginners!
What: Group bike camping trip
Where/ How farCarver Park Reserve, 25 miles, almost all on trails
When: Saturday, June 6- Sunday, June 7
How much $: 15.  If cost is a barrier, contact us!  Grease Rag has funds for financial hardship
Why:  Bike camping is fun! (2010, 2012, 2013)
I have reserved enough room for 6 tents/ 12 people, but if we have significant interest, I can try to reserve more spots.  Reserve your spot with us early!

You can do this

If you can comfortably bike 15 miles, YOU CAN DO THIS!  Please make sure that your bike is tuned up, and ready for a loaded ride.  Air up those tires, make sure your chain is lubed, and really look it over for anything that might cause trouble on the trail.  (*cough* GREASE RAG *cough*)  Everyone should carry a tube and whatever you need to repair a flat.  This trip is especially aimed at beginners and people that have always wanted to bike camp but just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Mandatory planning meeting.

If you are coming camping with us, you are required to attend a planning meeting.  We will go over trip expectations, and make sure people have all of the gear they need.

Parkway Pizza in Longfellow
Wednesday, May 28, 8pm
Come with questions, and let's eat pizza and plan! 

Need some extra guidance?

Luckily for us, Grease Rag friend Casey will be teaching Bike Camping 101 to all of our campers!  (Maximum seating is 20, priority is given to campers that have reserved spaces on the camping trip!)

Boneshaker Books
Friday, May 2, 6:30pm
Learn more about this skill share here 

Pack smart, think light

Don't wait until the morning of to pack.  Go on a test run with your gear for a few miles around town.  You'll probably end up realizing you don't need that third pair of shoes, the cast iron skillet or the full size shampoo and conditioner.  Use the fact that this is a group trip to your advantage!  Why carry three 15mm wrenches when you only need one?  A good strategy is to partner up with one or two people (don't be shy!) and figure out who has the lightest tent.  One person could carry it out, and another person could carry it back.

I will add a generic pack-list to the bottom of this post, for your reference.**

The plan.

Meet at 9:30 at Common Roots Cafe on Lyndale.  Roll out at 10.  Feel free to have breakfast, get your caffeine on and hang out.  We will gather on the south side of the building.
We will be taking it EASY.  If you want to go ahead of the group, no problem!!  It is an easy route and you are welcome to go ahead!  But I will be staying with the slowest rider/ I will be the slowest rider, so no one will have to ride alone and no one will get left behind.
Once we get there, there is an opportunity to go to the grocery store and liquor store, so don't haul beer and heavy food items out with you.
Fresh Seasons Market
7999 Victoria Drive
Victoria, MN 55386
Victoria Cross Roads Liquor
7999 Victoria Drive
Victoria, MN 55386
In the AM, people are free to leave when they want.  I will try to do an earlyish breakfast and then slow roll back to Minneapolis.

You are responsible for yourself. 

We are here to support you, but you are responsible for yourself!  Know when to hydrate, when to eat, and when to ask for help.  =] 

Looking forward to camping with you!!!
Read More

08 Apr


Grease Rag NE is tonight 8 April, featuring GROUP RIDE!


on April 8, 2014   comments 0

HELLO Friends!

Your GRNE Co-Facilitators are so happy to invite you to our tonight's edition of Grease Rag NE, FEATURING OUR FIRST GROUP RIDE OF THE YEAR! 

Join us tonight at Recovery Bike Shop, 2504 Central Ave NE to celebrate that sunshine and the wheels underneath us. Our route is to-be-determined and the pace will be beginner-friendly. Meet at 545pm, roll out at 6pm.  ALL Women-Trans-Femme welcome!

After that, we'll end up back at Recovery Bike Shop's NEW LOCATION (2504 Central Ave NE) at 7pm for our discussion and open shop night.  From 7pm – 730pm we’ll be discussing repacking bearings inside of a hub. Open Shop starts up at 730p, so bring in your ride, your questions and your projects and let's get cranking!

Oh, and you know there will be coffee.

Hope to see you there! 

Location: Northeast

07 Apr


30 Days of Biking: Day 5-7


on April 7, 2014   comments 1

Well, it seems that rather than a daily blog this has become an "every couple of days" blog. And you know what? That's ok! Part of making a conscious choice to ride every day is also to make the conscious choice to listen to our bodies. Recently, my body has said "GO PLAY IN THE SUN!" (Also, it's told me "GO TO BED EARLIER!" but that's another story.)



Can you believe this weather?! What a pleasure it is to ride my bike for fun, to see my friends out on their bikes, to smile at strangers. Winter riding has its own quiet joy, but riding with the sun on my skin...nothing can beat that. I think I might burst for all the excitement inside me. And that's what 30 Days of Biking is all about: JOY! Hooray!!



Over the past few days, my bike has taken me to a couple of different meetings, where I'm working hard with some really amazing and experienced folks to organize a couple of couple of very different rides here in the Cities. I'm proud and excited, and a little nervous, too, to be helping them out! Recently, my bike is showing me the wisdom, energy, and enthusiasm of the community that I'm finally really beginning to feel at home in. The simple act of riding my bike has taken me so much deeper into a community that I once felt a little alienated from, and shown me how diverse and vibrant it truly is. It's also helping me to really push myself: normally I consider myself to be a fairly spotlight shy person, but here I am, writing for an audience! I am so honored and lucky to be in a safe place where I can take risks and feel supported.


Where did your bike take you today? Did you get a chance to enjoy the sun? How has your bike challeneged you, physically and mentally? 

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