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

Testing testing testing

 

This is our forum.

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!

30 Jun
2015

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2015 Camping at William O'Brien- Low's recap

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on June 30, 2015   comments 0

This is a do as I do song:

I'm smart!

I'm strong.

I'm ready for whatever comes along!

I've got good friends,

We'll stick together until the end.

I like myself, I'm worth a lot,

and you can't tell me that I'm not,

cause you can't see inside of me,

SELF WORRRRRTH!

2015CampingWOB-_Day_1.jpg

I was lucky enough to join the Grease Rag camping trip to William O'Brien State Park this past weekend- this is the first year that I haven't been able to organize a Grease Rag camping trip, and it is also the first year I've gone on a trip that I have not organized.  This is the seventh year Grease Rag has been organizing fun, accessible, WTF-ortiented bike camping trips.

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Bike Beauties ready to ROLL OUT

Did you know...

...Anyone can organize a Grease Rag event? We all share the power and responsibility of organizing this group.

...Grease Rag does not turn anyone away from events like bike camping for lack of funds?  We have a scholarship fund for that!

...Grease Rag is RAISING FUNDS RIGHT NOW at our open shop locations?  Drop by and drop a dollar in the bucket!

...You can volunteer to lead your own WTF-oriented bike camping trip, ride, or event on the Grease Rag page?  Create something today- You have the power!

The opening to this post is a song Julia lead while we were standing around the picnic table.  One of the many "Grease Rag moments" on the trip was singing the song while one person held the front of Olivia's bike, two people lifted up the back, and another pedaled and adjusted the derailleur.  "Self Worth!"

2015CampingWOB-_Lisa_and_Low_Climb.JPG

Low and Lisa climb a huge hill, photo by Lauren

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29 Jun
2015

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Another Bike Camping Trip in the Books

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on June 29, 2015   comments 0

I love Minnesota in the summer. I love it most of the year, but summer is really something special. In Minneapolis, we're flush with easy access to nature - parks, lakes, trails. But sometimes, you've got to get out of the city. 

For the past few years, Grease Rag has been hosting bike camping trips for WTFs to get out and explore on bikes.  This year, a group of 10 positive people headed east to William O'Brien State Park along the St. Croix River.  
 
We were a mix of experienced bike campers and newbies, musicians, climbers, and adventurers.  Some old friends, others meeting new folks for the first time.  The thing we had in common was a willingness to sign up for a camping trip advertised as not necessarily the easiest trip. It was going to be a longer and hillier bike ride than in years past.
 
But 10 people still showed up on Saturday morning!  We rolled as a group through Minneapolis and St. Paul to the Gateway trail, which lead us to Square Lake. Then just a few more miles, one big downhill into the river valley and back up again to the park.
 
We swam in the lake to wash off the sweat and grit. We built a fire, shared our enormous spread of food, and rewarded ourselves for a long, hard day.  Natalie brought along a guitar and taught us camp songs. Low packed a pie maker and fed us desserts all night and breakfast in the morning. We tried out new camping gear, shared our favorite discoveries, and bonded over adventure stories. 
 
Despite the heavy rains over night, we woke to sunshine and more camp songs. We packed up camp and headed back with smiles. The few mishaps and mechanicals on our route proved to be excellent skill share opportunities, thanks to the Grease Rag team work spirit. Even the thunderstorms that met us half way home couldn't dampen our camping afterglow. 

23 Jun
2015

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WTF 100: Stillwater to Falling Water to Rushing Water

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on June 23, 2015   comments 0

WTF 100: Stillwater to Falling Water to Rushing Water

The Rapha 100 is an event where "women" pledge to ride 100km/62.1mi on Sunday, July 26.

Grease Rag is hosting the WTF 100: Stillwater to Falling Water to Rushing Water

  • IF you identify as WTF (women, trans, femme) you are welcome on this ride.
  • IF you can ride 40 miles, you can FOR SURE do this distance!
  • IF you have gears on your bike, you'll have it a little easier than climbing some of these hills on a single speed.

Things we have

A plan. A route. A bike in working order. A practice ride on Wednesday, July 22.

The plan

On July 26, WTFs will ride leaving from the Seward Co-op, biking at a moderate pace (13-16 mph). We will have some water, bathroom, and snack stops, a lunch stop (at a grocery/deli), a beer stop shortly after, an ice cream stop on the way home, ending at Gold Medal Park. What a day! The plan is to take most of the day and spend time with each other on a WTF-only ride.

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10 Jun
2015

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Systemic and Cultural Exclusion of WTFs in Bike Shops

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on June 10, 2015   comments 0

A Grease Rag friend recently called out a specific bike shop for discriminating against women. Since that Facebook post, my inbox has been blowing up with WTFs saying, "I have experienced the same thing at ___ shop! What can we do? How do we change this?" Male shop employees and owners have been contacting me saying, "What is this? I didn't know this was happening! Please help us."

Bike shops are a part of the "bicycle ecosystem" in Minneapolis. They make us a beautiful and rich city, and they need us to survive. Over the years, I have heard complaints by WTFs about ALL shops. Every. Single. One. So if you are working in a shop or own a bike shop and you hear a complaint about another bike business, do yourself a favor and assume the same happens in your establishment. Because it more than likely does.

What does this mean? What can we learn from this? How do we work together to make positive change?

When we discuss white supremacy and "whiteness" as an undeniable oppressive construct in our society, this does not mean all white people are "bad." Although the heavy lifting for anti-racist work should be done by the people who benefit most from white supremacy. When we talk about patriarchy and masculinity as oppressive constructs it does not mean all cis men are "bad." Although the heavy lifting for anti-sexist/trans-inclusive work should be done by the people who benefit most from male-dominated systems. Keeping that in mind, saying there are problems in bike shop culture does not mean all shops are "bad," it does mean there is a pervasive systemic/cultural problem that needs to be addressed. This means that because of the systems in place, if bike shops are not actively working toward a solution they are a part of the problem.

I think it is important for us to enter this conversation of "What can we do? How do we change this?" in agreement on two ideas.

1) ALL bike shops are not safe for ALL people.*

2) Complaints about ALL SHOPS indicates there is a systemic or cultural issue that needs to be addressed.

*I would also like to add that it is not just WTFs complaining, there is the self-described "newbie" contingent and also people who don't speak English that complain regularly about substandard treatment in bike shops.  I focus on WTF inclusion here because that is what Grease Rag is all about.

I am not interested in having conversations with people who want to argue, "But I'm a good guy/ally and I work in a bike shop so there is no problem," or "I've never felt treated unfairly in a bike shop before so there is no problem," as reasons why we should not be trying to work together for a friendlier community. (Check your privilege, please.) I am interested in having conversations that move toward, "How can we work together to make bike shops places that are friendlier to more people?"

What work has already been done?

"Women" are a large part of the retail market that the bike industry is interested in catering to. In addition to the bottom line, some shops are interested in creating safer spaces for WTFs because they see the value in being welcoming community institutions.

For one or more of these reasons, we know bike shops want to (or at least pay lip service to) get better at being welcoming and comfortable for WTFs. Grease Rag's community partner shops went the extra step and asked Grease Rag/me (partnered with Brian F.) to do a "Listening Circle" event where we talked about how to respect WTFs in the shop, including how to talk about bodies and how to respect pronouns. General consensus was that there were some good tactics discussed. All of this is documented online for your benefit.

Recap of the Listening Circle event, by Holly

Full write up on how to make your own Listening Circle event with bike shop representatives and WTF experts

A collection of experiences our WTFs have had in EVERY bike shop, with recurring themes: marketing, expertise-seeking, follow up, don’t minimize with “just,” respect physical space and barriers- bikes can be extensions of bodies, microaggressions, don’t only address my boyfriend, I do not want pink “because I am a woman,” condescension, assumptions, no POC or WTF staff, age and ability and expertise assumptions and lack of accommodation.

No one said this would be easy.

I have mixed reactions to the Listening Circle event. One of the pieces that left me with a bad feeling was overhearing one employee/shop representative in attendance mention they were there because they "drew the short straw," and they refused to participate in go-arounds. So, in a small circle of Grease Rag partner shops, we have at least one person who views discussing treating WTFs like human beings as punishment. And that's all it takes, right? One bad employee hitting on WTF customers, misgendering/gendering customers, and making assumptions about needs and abilities makes the entire shop unfriendly.

For shops that really do care about WTFs as humans worthy of equal respect (in addition to wanting those sweet retail dollars) it is a hard task to single out these underdeveloped people for dismissal or more training. The season is only so long here in the Twin Cities and I understand you need staff who require minimal training to get up to speed. When you realize there is a bad apple, at what point and how do you deal with it considering you've already used up valuable resources getting the bapple up to speed? At what point do we decide that it is more valuable to teach respectful people bike shop skills than it is to train people with bike shop skills to be respectful of others?

This is one of the challenges a business must face. Ignoring and dismissing the problem does not make it go away.

Next steps for bike shops and employees

Gather, organize, educate (yourselves) Read More

09 Jun
2015

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Grease Rag NE is TONIGHT, June 9th!

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on June 9, 2015   comments 0

Calling all Women, Trans & Femme folks,

Your GRNE Co-Facilitators would love to see you at Grease Rag NE tonight! 

Stop over to our host & sponsor Recovery Bike Shop (2504 Central Ave NE) at 7pm for our discussion & open shop night. Today we'll talk about looking for signs that you need new tires. Come by to learn what to watch for in tire wear & tear to head flats off at the pass, & gain insight on what makes certain tires cost double their counterparts. Open Shop starts at 730p, so bring in your bike and let's start cranking.

Oh, and you know there will be coffee. Hopefully treats too; feel free to bring some by.

Hope to see you soon!

Location: Northeast

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