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 Shops are the hub of our activities and happen multiple times a month in Minneapolis and St. Paul (Minnesota). Find an open shop on the map (below) or explore the events calendar for all of our open shops and activities.

Find a Grease Rag open shop night near you

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This is our forum.

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

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

04 Jul
2016

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2016 Beginner Camping Trip - Anneka's recap

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on July 4, 2016   comments 0

A little over a year ago I went on my first ever bike camping trip. Not only was it my first time bike touring but it was also my first camping trip in years!

 

Was I nervous? A bit. My old sleeping bag had gobbled up an entire pannier, thunder storms had awoken me in the wee morning hours, and I’d accidentally loaded up my bike inside my apartment and was barely able  to keep it from escaping me down the half flight of steps to the outside!

 

Was I excited? HECK YEAH! I was going on the Grease Rag WTF newbies’ Bike Camping Trip. I’d been wanting to try bike touring for a while and here was my chance to see what it was all about with a group of supportive, caring, and fun-loving WTFs. 

 

Fast forward to this year. Had I become a bike camping fiend, logging miles near and far? Well…not really. But I did now have my own touring panniers, a new warmer and smaller sleeping bag, and some terrific pack lists. Even more importantly, last year's trip gave me the confidence and know-how to organize this year’s Grease Rag Beginner Camping trip.  So on an early June afternoon, our crew – myself, my co-leader Luci, and eight bike camping rookies ­­– set off on a small touring adventure.


Here we are at the Hopkin's Depot ready to roll on after a water, snack, and pee break.

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And here we are taking a lunch break outside the Excelsior Library. (PS Across the trail is a tiny history museum that would love to have you stop in and say hi!)

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After we got into camp, the sunshine took a rest for several rainy hours. Luckily we were able to set up our tents before it began raining in earnest.

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There's nothing like an evening sunset after the rain!

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Even though we'd forgotten our fire-starting kits, Frances came though with some dry sheets of newspaper. Thank goodness, roasting smores over a camp stove just wouldn't have felt the same!

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The next morning, we headed back to Minneapolis.

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Are you interested in exploring bike camping and/or riding with other WTFs? Check out the Grease Rag facebook page and the Grease Rag calendar for upcoming events, rides, and workshops.

        

29 Jun
2016

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Celebrate Grease Rag's 7th Birthday!

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on June 29, 2016   comments 0

Celebrate Grease Rag's 7th Birthday!

We’re lucky — lucky to have YOU as part of the Grease Rag community. So come out to our 7th Birthday Party and celebrate the auspicious milestone with food, friends and a post-sunset swim.


Mark your calendars and revel with other WTFs from 6 to 10 p.m. on July 8. First, we’ll kick it on the patio of a swank pad in Northeast Minneapolis (near Stone Arch Bridge). Organizers will bring vegan, gluten-free food, and cake (of course!) but invite you to bring a potluck dish to share, as well. Before the sun goes down, we’ll enjoy bikey crafts, a gender unicorn activity and a playlist crowdsourced from the Grease Rag community.


After taking in the sunset from the roof, we'll all take off on a slow ramble to a nearby beach spot for some swim time. RECIPE FOR A "BEACH BODY!" Bring your body to the beach. We are a super posi and affirming group. ♥


Never been to a Grease Rag event before? Here's your chance to try one out! Everyone is welcome. Please bring friends; the more the merrier!


Want to help? We need volunteers to help with food, crafts and activities! Sign up here.


Happy birthday, everyone!! YOU EARNED THIS!


The deets:


Who’s invited: ERRYBODY and ALL BODIES welcome. Please center the experiences and voices of WTFs.


Date: Friday, July 8, 2016


Time: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.


Location: A Mill Artist Lofts (315 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN 55414)


Updates: RSVP to the Facebook event here


This event is a#NOBROZONE — is a term that applies to all/no genders. Don't make sexual jokes, hit on people, show off, or use your privilege in this space in ways that could make WTFs feel uncomfortable. Let's do our best to hold this space for WTFs. If you see something, call it out. If you need a hand, we've got your back.

14 Jun
2016

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#IamPulse

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on June 14, 2016   comments 0

This weekend the largest mass shooting in America since Wounded Knee took place in Orlando, Florida. The Pulse, a gay club celebrating Pride, was targeted during a Latinx night, and most of the 50 people who lost their lives belonged to the Latinx queer community. Over 100 people were shot.

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This Was a Hate Crime Against Queer and Trans People of Color

It is important to recognize that people who have GLBQ orientation, and folks who identify as transgender, have historically been the subject of violence and exclusion. Policies against gay relationships and families are periodically violently enforced, and widespread discrimination makes being queer and trans unsafe. Just in the last SIX MONTHS there have been over 200 bills filed against GLBT people The effects of this discrimination, homophobia and transphobia are compounded for queer and trans folks of color.

This attack was specific in its devastation of queer Latinxs.  About half of the people killed were Puerto Rican, and many were immigrants.  Here is a local perspective on why this matters, and why naming Latinxs provides visibility, which is the smallest way we can share power with a community often marginalized and excluded even within the queer community.

This is why our communities are mourning and asking for change.

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We Need to Center Latinx Queer and Trans Voices and Experiences

It is my intention to focus on the people and community who were attacked in Orlando.  Please take this opportunity to see the faces and read the stories of the 49 murder victims.  Most of them were queer people of color.  They are important. Their lives absolutely mattered.

To further center the community in Orlando, we would like to share this video featuring trans and queer Latinxs responding to the tragedy.  Powerful words, and crucial perspective.

Trans and Queer Latinxs Respond to #PulseOrlando Shooting

After the news of 50 people killed at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL, we asked four Trans and Queer Latinx leaders for their thoughts. Here you will find the raw and unscripted footage. ‪#‎Pulse‬ ‪#‎PulseOrlando‬ ‪#‎OrlandoShooting‬ ‪#‎LGBTQIA‬ ‪#‎queer‬ ‪#‎trans‬ ‪#‎latinx‬

"How will you challenge the narrative of the ‪#‎PulseOrlando‬ murders?"

I will center Queer, Trans, and POC voices, and I will center the affected community. I will center the experiences of the Latinx queer and trans community. I will attack the systemic and structural oppression that works to marginalize QTPOC people. I will not be distracted by politicians, petitions for gun control that don't protect QTPOC folks, or Islamophobia.

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22 Apr
2016

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Together a More Inclusive Cycling Scene

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on April 22, 2016   comments 0

Together a More Inclusive Cycling Scene:
QBP Women’s Mechanic Scholarship Experience at United Bicycle Institute

By Cali Jirsa

For over a decade I have dreamed of mechanical certification.  My bicycle repair education began at a community shop where advanced techniques for high performance materials were obsolete - working to promote safety by doing things such as installing hardware in lieu of duct tape.  My love of teaching bicycle repair eventually became a career path.  I was confident about my skills gained through books, experienced acquaintances, and hands-on education.  Despite seven years in the industry, I never thought of myself as a professional mechanic.  Now at five years into being an owner of a shop, I was given an opportunity to gain expertise, confidence, and a sense of greater legitimacy through being awarded the QBP Women’s Mechanic Scholarship for Professional Repair and Shop Operations at United Bicycle Institute and become a certified bicycle technician.  Now, I will pair this honor with the responsibility of sharing my knowledge and vision for inclusivity.

United Bicycle Institute has two locations, over 120 years of combined experience in the bicycle industry and 35 years of teaching—and justifying—their methods to students.  Having personally taught a great number of individuals bicycle repair, I know that many people approach teachers with skepticism.  I have a deep respect for UBI and wholeheartedly encourage anyone and everyone interested in bicycle repair to attend.  I value the education immensely.  I found much value after having had many years of experience, but people new to mechanics learned a lot as well.  All the women at UBI passed the course AND test!!! Over half of the women had very limited bicycle repair knowledge and our class marked the third time in 35 years that an entire class passed!!  UBI was undeniably professional.  It was a very productive learning environment because the instructors were knowledgeable, patient, kind, attentive, professional, and energetic.  Last year’s scholarship winners were so engaged and positive about learning it left the instructors counting down the days to our class like kids at Christmas. All of the UBI instructors showed their encouragement offering assistance going forward, should come in handy.  I learned an immense amount and I now have a network of support.  If you are curious about bicycle repair or are an experienced mechanic, UBI is the perfect place to find support and hone your knowledge.

All 16 scholarship recipients were so appreciative of this opportunity and excited to meet each other.  The enthusiasm in the classroom far superseded my apprehension for interpersonal dynamics and residual fear of academia.  There were no bad attitudes, exclusivity, or elitism that I often perceive in groups.  Some women led rides, others taught classes, a few had blogs, and some had Girl Scout troops.  There were no negative attitudes, only collaborative energy.  They offered support and advice freely.  Outside of class hours I studied hard so that I understood the material and could ask questions during school.  Despite this, I still had opportunities to connect, share stories, and learn from the others who are also working to provide support and space for women.   I now can connect with these women and work to promote each other’s goals and more equity in cycling through sharing struggles, recommendations, and successes.

 

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QBP Scholarship Winners - 2016

The owners also voiced their support!  Through conversations with the owners of UBI, I learned that they see the gender disparities in the bicycle industry, as well as the need for shops to focus on creating welcoming environments for all individuals, regardless of race, religion, orientation, gender, ages, abilities, interest, or bicycle type, quality, or condition.  We agreed wholeheartedly that shops should have the mission to show respect to all individuals.  The owner even mentioned that studies showed that a mechanic with better customer service retains more customers than one with more technical experience and that female mechanics in shops encourages female clientele.  Currently at UBI there are no WTF instructors. However UBI voiced their support, and encouraged the class to apply when a position became available.  Having accurate representation within their organization may push their curriculum to include more about mechanics’ conduct, safer spaces, and communication methods to teach mechanics a culture of respect that will be reflected in the industry and cycling scene at large. If you are a WTF who is experienced in bicycle repair education, please consider applying: www.bikeschool.com

While the lectures taught me the finer points of repair, the hands-on experiences were valuable in learning how to teach these new methods to others.  My education will be shared at a course offered to Grease Rag facilitators and participants for free, a nominal fee, or volunteer time.  The Cherry Cycling Club and Vanguard Racing Team will also be learning through these courses in order to prepare us in our goals of working with the community in North Minneapolis to start a do-it-yourself open shop.  If taking these courses, joining the club, or collaborating in this project appeals to you, no experience is necessary, please contact info@cherrycycles.com!

Three years ago women at SRAM components and Quality Bike Products started a scholarship to educate women who are already in the industry continue to advance and strengthen their skills.  Many companies came together to support women in the industry by providing free education at the United Bicycle Institute, a bike school which offers courses and certifies mechanics.  Last year had around a thousand applicants, so this year’s application was geared towards those applicants who  help increase women in cycling.  I want to work with the women organizing the scholarship to offer financial support more equitably and to include more trans, femmes, and WTF’s of color.  I hope to do this through being involved in the application writing process, working to promote the scholarship opportunity to a more diverse audience, and to offer to be a mentor, editor, and advisor to potential applicants.  Please consider contacting Quality Bicycle Products to offer support of these initiatives and APPLY if you would like to continue to grow and support women/trans/femme in cycling by becoming a certified bicycle technician!

While half of my heart lays in scraping away the layers of grease embedded on derailleurs, the other half is motivated to expose and alleviate the limitations and prejudices that I see encumbering the cycling industry and community.  I am working with individuals and organizations to foster a more broad and interconnected cycling scene. If you want to get involved, you can find me, wrench in hand, grease on face, and a whole lot in mind, at Cherry Cycles:  www.cherrycycles.com

I am now proud to have the qualification of years of experience PLUS professional mechanic certification.  This is weight off of my shoulders and justification that I am on the right track.  Many businesses came together to contribute to this scholarship fund.  I am incredibly grateful for all of the sponsors and want to encourage you all to support the business that are encouraging more equity in the cycling community:

Surly Bikes
SRAM
Park Tool
Dero Racks
Saris Racks
Ergon Bike
Rock Shox
Michelin Bike US
Liv Cycling

To read more about the scholarship recipients and their experiences at UBI: qbp.com/womensscholarship

Anna Maria Diaz-Balart: www.prettydamnedfast.com

Cassandra Habel: https://spokehaven.com/2016/03/15/adult-summer-camp-for-bike-nerds/

Kyla Saucillo Forsberg: http://www.greenrivercyclery.bike/#!QBP-Womans-Scholarship-Kylas-experience/c105o/56ed8fa20cf29acca8a3a72d

 

01 Apr
2016

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DarkMatter and Making Grease Rag Safer for WTFs

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on April 1, 2016   comments 0

DarkMatter is a poetry and performance duo made up of two trans South Asian artists, Alok Vaid-Menon and Janani Balasubramanian.  They perform pieces about colonialism, racism, gender violence, and trans and non-binary identity.  I'd love to introduce you to some of the work they have produced recently that has affected me, and how Grease Rag is attempting to make better spaces for trans and non-binary folks.

DarkMatter

Janani, The Laura Flanders Show:

"Dark matter and dark energy together comprise 96% of the universe but are only understood in their effects."

Trans inclusive feminism is a cis construct

Alok writes about "trans inclusive" feminism as a cis construct, because it centers around "including" trans people in presumably "cis" feminism on their blog, Return the Gayze.

Trans inclusive feminism does not just look like cisgender women gatekeeping who is allowed to speak about gender violence. Trans inclusive feminism does not look like only incorporating binary trans women who fit normative conventions of what a woman should look, act, speak, and experience violence like. Trans inclusive feminism does not look like requiring trans and gender non-conforming people to narrate our experiences and identities through the rubric of “woman,” or else just dismissing us as “men.” Trans inclusive feminism does not look like reinforcing the gender binary by maintaining that all women are victims and all men are perpetrators. It does not look like reducing gender to our bodies, it does not look like making assumptions about people’s histories based off of what they look like, in fact it does not look like requiring someone to look like anything at all.

"Including" transgender people in feminism is like "diversifying" white spaces by inviting people of color to a table that does not truly welcome us.

Trans feminism looks like recognizing that gendering people without their consent is a form of gender violence. Trans feminism looks like recognizing that you don’t have to be a woman to be a feminist because you don’t have to be a woman to experience sexism and trans/misogyny. Trans feminism looks like decoupling “femininity” from “womanhood,” and holding space for a vast spectrum of femininities that grace many bodies who do not identify as women. Trans feminism looks like recognizing that we will never win if we continue to fight patriarchy with the gender binary because patriarchy is the systematic policing and regulation of the gender binary. Trans feminism looks like holding space and accountability for all of the ways that all of us (regardless of our gender) are capable of enacting patriarchal violence on one another.

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Darkmatter on Facebook, "TGIF- Thank goddess I'm femme"

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