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!

23 Aug
2015

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Babes in Bikeland... get up and get it!

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on August 23, 2015   comments 0

Before my first Babes in Bikeland (2014), this was my internal dialogue:

You have never been to a bike race. You don't like going fast. How far are we biking (Answer: too far)? You have no idea what "alley cat" means. You don't know anyone else going. Your bike, all together, probably needs some TLC and you don't even have 5 minutes to get to that unraveling handlebar tape. Do I need spandex pants? You partied too hard, too late last night.

Even though I am typically an ambitious extroverted optimist, I have that weekend habit of talking myself out of doing new and challenging things in lieu of Netflix+couch. Last winter, I struggled with biking to work on the coldest of days, further talking myself into driving with each hit of the snooze button. The morning of last year's Babes in Bikeland, I was laying on the couch weighing the guilt I'd feel from not going against the hangover pounding my brain. It's a terrible habit.


So, how did I end up getting my hungover self to Babes in Bikeland(http://babesinbikeland.com/)? I deployed my most powerful motivation technique: PREPARATION. Packing, planning, and pumping myself up... high fives and up-tempo jams. This year I created a list that I like to call "Pedal Power!" (this also works as a rally cry during the Babes race). Top song: Date with the Night, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

 

Do now

Pre-register! $10 gets you a T-shirt and $5 registers you for the race. Registered racers who complete the course will be entered into drawings for sweet sweet door prizes!

Pick the bike you wanna ride, tune it up at a Grease Rag Open Shop.

Invite a friend to join you or find folks to ride with (...see the following step).

 

Friday before Babes

Go to the PreBabes Wander About! This is a social (slow, fun) ride on the Friday before the Babes race. It's a good time to meet other riders and familiarize yourself with the event.

Don't party too hard.

 

The day of Babes

Wear pants! Or shorts... or a skirt... or some spandexy stuff... whatever I want! There's even a costume contest if Remember to pack warmer clothing for later in the night, after the ride. Check the weather and consider a rain jacket.

Self love! Hydrate. Eat. Fist pump!

Pack the essentials: Helmet/Bike, lights, lock (chain might be helpful), a Twin Cities .
bike map and sharpie (unless you wanna do it all via digital device), cash, ID (there will be beer!), water bottle, snacks (Salted Nut Rolls!), a light/rain jacket.

Charge my phone, replace batteries in bike lights. This race is followed up by an awards ceremony of sorts and celebration. You will be biking after dark!

Get to the registration/starting point with some extra time for stretching and high fives!

 

A few more encouraging thoughts

This event is like a giant, soft, reassuring hug from 500 women/trans/femmes on bikes. It might be exactly what you didn't know you needed!

22 Aug
2015

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Greenway Soigneur for Powderhorn 24

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on August 22, 2015   comments 0

Being a soigneur is so delightfully satisfying. What does that strange-cool-sounding term mean? Soigneuring is taking care of others, primarily in a cycling race. Ya know, it’s a French word.  In the professional scene, you'll find a soigneur driving you to the start, handing off a musette (=cool bag with a long strap) with a bottle & bar in the feed zone, or flushing your calves after a hard race day. Some of the best soigneurs are birthed out of Europe.  But for lil’ old midwestern me, cycling grew from watching out of the window in the back of grandma's hot ass station wagon to see grandpa wearing numbers in a pack of bikes as we toted along the race course and >>>>fastforward 20 years of being a rad lil' commuter>>>> to 24 hour bike races.  My first true 24-hour bike race where I pitched a massage tent up was Riverwest 24.  I made a bunch of good friends while falling in love with the giant mash of a midwestern cycling scene…and fawned over the Riverwest co-op.

(Note to self: visit Milwaukee again, “the good land.”)

But something was missing, this wasn’t my home, these weren’t my everyday people, these were not my regular streets. Regardless, I returned to Minneapolis inspired and closer to understanding why cycling is such an important part of my life.


WHAT A DELIGHT when I discovered Minneapolis would be holding a race similar to Riverwest 24 in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood. I mean, who doesn’t want to see how much of a bicycling monster they can be!?!  

“I HAVE LIQUID MONSTER IN MY VEINS AND I WILL RACE UNTIL MY DEATH.”

An unearthly, supernatural passion drives these racers, most especially cyclists who complete alone.  Racers on teams get one of the best opportunities, both to ride and to play, but most especially being able to hold a torch and build team momentum having a shared sense of accomplishment no matter the results.  Being the proud caregiver I am, it warms my heart to hear from racers on my table explaining what they’ve learned in their ability to work and push past physical barriers while still being able to listen to their body’s needs throughout the race or years of racing.


Personally, I’ve never fully finished a Powderhorn 24 race route. I’ve never raced it period. Maybe someday I will if I'm feeling monster enough & yes, my glory days are yet to come.  But luckily, I have found complete satisfaction playing Buddha by planting my bottom somewhere along the route each year to watch the deteriorating states of the racer’s bodies.  It’s beautifully insane. In the end, once there’s only delirium and swollen quads with seven o’clock falling sun, there’s a serious sense of peace in the late summer air.


Every year, I make a commitment to attend the annual Fourth of July Freedom from Pants bike ride and I always have managed my hairbrain schedule to try to help the Powderhorn 24 massage tent live on. These are my two commitments to the Minneapolis cycling scene. Having a massage tent present at the race helps riders have an awareness and reminder of alternative methods of self-care as an important part of recovery in training and racing. (SHOUTOUT to the lovely Sarah Bonneville with Villa Bee Healing Arts for holding the tent down the past couple years as I have succumbed to grad school.) I'm always so amazed by the turnout. It begins to feel like a nostalgic family reunion that brings excitement to my heart - and not the kind of excitement where you're about fail at the egg toss against your auntie.

To the riders and teams, I salute you for another great year under your belt.

We'll see you in the streets.


Powderhorn24, 2013 - Photo by: Sarah Bonneville

Powderhorn24, 2012 - Photo by: Jose Carlos

Riverwest24, 2011 - Photo by: 2F4

22 Aug
2015

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A Type 'A' First-Timer's Guide to Powderhorn 24

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on August 22, 2015   comments 1

A Type 'A' First-Timer's Guide to Powderhorn 24

Powderhorn 24 is an annual 24 hour community ride that celebrates the Powderhorn neighborhood of South Minneapolis. Riders participate solo or in teams to complete laps around four check points at any pace they please. Bonus stops earn riders extra lap points while engaging local businesses and organizations. Last week marked my first Powderhorn 24, revealing my most neurotic side to the cycling community I love so dearly.

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Photo by France Barbeau

One month before

Register team online. Fantasize about future glory.

One week before

Have planning brunch.  Wrangle as many teammates as possible, though inevitably not all will be able to make it. Discuss strengths, weaknesses, strategy, & supplies.  Make a google doc summarizing what everyone committed to bring. 

Put in t-shirt order. Choose tank based on stock availability. Bemoan last-minute rush; rejoice in teammate’s clever design. 

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Photo by France Barbeau

Day of event

Wake up earlier than expected because everything is just so gosh darn exciting. 

Meet teammate to set up tents (plural) at 10:30 in the morning to ensure the perfect spot in the shade equidistant from porta poty clusters. Text other teammates who have the day off multiple times to see when they can come to base camp.

Realize tents will be totally fine for a few hours.  Go to Cub.  Get way too much food.  Take a nap. 

Arrive back with supplies at 4 PM. Double check everything. Realize you forgot THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. Anxiously await teammates’ arrival so you can run back without having to bring everything with you.

Register team. Distribute numbers. Zip tie numbers on to bikes of riders arriving later. Eat dinner. Organize. Lay out sleeping bags. Organize again.

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Photo by France Barbeau

The ride

Rally teammates at riders’ meeting earlier than necessary. Listen to instructions. Mostly. Coordinate who will grab the sheet of bonuses at the start/finish.

Roll out on neutral lap.  Make sure teammate who will ride first lap is in the front, not hanging with the team. Because priorities. 

Chat with other WTFs on the ride. Amp up comradery, feel the love. Because priorities.

Route bonus stops on a Nice Ride map. Develop numbered system to record who will do each bonus when. Tape both items under written out rider order hanging from tent. 

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Photo by France Barbeau

Ride. Experience two hour cycles of anxiety, drive, manic euphoria, hunger, exhaustion. Try to be chill. Fail. Sleep only when the other hyper-organized person on your team is lying next to you. Because that makes sense. 

Find dread in hair. Revel in hard-core-ed-ness for 30 seconds before brushing it out.

Check-in with team you have a big crush on. Tell them how awesome they are. Anticipate social media friendships.

Split volunteer shift with another teammate. Cheer for everyone who rolls through, but mostly the WTFs. Coordinate with teammates to change strategy for final laps half a dozen times.

Aggressively seek shade. Reflect for a moment on how rad your teammates are for coming together and embarking on this adventure for the first time together. Feel proud, loved, affirmed regardless of rankings. 

Hustle. Hard.

Do last lap as a team pursuit because you’re fancy. Drink champagne after cleaning up base camp because you’re fancy. Lay down on ground and wait for awards because you’re fading.

Cheer, laugh, get sprayed with champagne. Look in awe at the incredible humans around you. Feel privileged to know more of them better after the past 24 hours. Hug everyone. Cry. Hug everyone again. 

Think about doing it again next year, maybe.  

02 Aug
2015

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Grease Rag's Sixth

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on August 2, 2015   comments 0

Party with heart

In typical Grease Rag style, we had a great Blue Moon Birthday Bash.  Over forty foxes came out to celebrate, and we brought over 20 items to the Exchange Food Shelf.  What a great start to our seventh trip around the sun together.  I can't fully express how much this night meant to me.  There aren't enough words to express my gratitude for all of you.

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Go around question: What does Grease Rag mean to you?  

Bri said she liked that it was a "choose your own adventure" kind of group where you can choose how you participate.  I really liked that!  She started a thread on the Facebook group for people to answer the question online.

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Tammy of Rainbow Chinese set up a great feast for us!  Thank  you to the Grease Rag fundraiser, we were able to have a great party.

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Photo by Ginny Marie Herman

Tammy also set up a bike parking area in her "valet parking spots."  Look at all those bikes!  So many of them have come through Grease Rag open shop nights.

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Look at those proud Grease Rag flags fly!  We were able to buy these banners and pay Clive to make these flags with funds from our last fundraiser.

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Ashley made such beautiful cupcakes, transported by bicycle, that Tammy asked if she was looking for work!  This is an example of how awesome the Grease Rag family is... I mean, just look at these displays of sugary love.

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Over 40 people showed up to eat!  We ran out of chairs quickly, even with people coming and going.  We collected over 20 items for the Exchange foodshelf, too.  Thank you!

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Photo by Norm Kimball Jr.

We bumped some tunes, and drank some champagne with our birthday donuts, and swam in the lake. (Thank you, Holly and Zack!)

We howled at that blue birthday donut moon, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  Thanks, WTFs!  See you soon.

29 Jul
2015

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Your Donations Are So Cool

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on July 29, 2015   comments 0

Holey cow!

Photo cc licensed: Anne

Our annual fundraiser was a success!

THANK YOU

Spare Change Round-up

Spare Change Round-up participants- Sunrise Cyclery, The Hub Bike Co-op at Oak Street, Recovery Bike Shop, Spokes, Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee participated in collecting your spare change, equaling $324.56.

THANK YOU!!

Shade Party Online Fundraiser

We also did an online fundraiser to get a canopy for Grease Rag-

Craig Ruhland, Liz Brenner, Ashley Lyle, Nicole Weiler, Rachel Fletcher,Teri Shuraleff, Greta Alquist, Lucy Tobin, Rachel Wiken, Erin Durkee, Erin Marissa, Amy Andrzejewski, Justin Schuetz, JJ Profe Kahle, Tami Traeger, Amy Brugh, Jessica Nadeau, Paul Wichser, Victoria Malawey, Mike Migeel Jones, Marcus Johnson, and Linda Pate, anonymous donors- THANK YOU!!

Our goal for the fundraiser was $1000, and we all came up with $1612. Not bad, Friends. Not bad!  Thank you to everyone who boosted the signal on Facebook and Twitter, and has put in sweat equity to make this group keep on rolling.

Fundraiser Recap

Money is not the central focus of Grease Rag, but it sure does make things easier sometimes.  So we really appreciate the WTFs, and our accomplices who donated, and boosted the signal for our ask.

Grease Rag has always been loosely organized, non-hierarchical, and only exists because of the people who put in sweat equity, give dollars, or hype us to their friends. Teamwork.

The combined fundraisers brought in about $1950. We will be spending funds on a canopy, the birthday party, Pre-Babes Wanderabout, and we've already bought some cupcakes. Thanks for helping pad the coffers.

Shade Party Update

Coming soon!  Expect to see us at Powderhorn 24, Babes in Bikeland, and beyond!

Celebrate

Join us in celebrating our sixth birthday on 7/31.  We will meet at 6:30 at Rainbow Chinese on Nicollet, near our first open shop location at Sunrise Cyclery.  

RSVP: Blue Moon Birthday Bash!!  

It does not matter if it has been awhile since you came to an open shop. It does not matter if you have never been to an open shop. It does not matter if you live out of the area. If you are a WTF, and you feel included and you benefit from this community, you are a member of Grease Rag. We welcome you with open arms, and we hope that you will make it out to an event (or participate online!), or feel empowered to create your own events.

We will be spending some funds here.  Let's party. Together! Because that's what Grease Rag is so good at... getting together in supportive spaces and having a ton of fun.

Donating.  For procrastinators!

If you'd like to donate and missed the window- there will be a jar at the party, and we are asking that folks bring a food shelf item to the party on 7/31 to support the The Exchange Minneapolis.

The Exchange Queer Community Food Shelf is looking for all sorts of non-perishable food items (including gluten-free, nut-free and vegan options)! Popular items include proteins, snack items, fruit and items that can make a whole meal.
Drop off and Pick up hours include Thursday 12-2, Friday 4-6 and Saturday 3-5. After hours, items can be left by the front glass door next to Cafe Southside. A new additional drop off site has been added at Family Tree Clinic with hours Mon & Wed 8am-8:30pm, Tues & Thurs 8am-5pm and Sat 10am-2pm in the Rainbow box. 
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