Grease Rag Ride & Wrench

We encourage and empower FTW (Femme/Trans/Women, Non-binary, Two-spirit) 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!

08 Oct


10th Annual Winter Skill Share!


on October 8, 2018   comments 0

Raindrops are falling now..but soon it will be snowflakes! Make sure you’re ready for the winter by joining us for the 10th Annual Winter Skill Share!

At the Winter Skill Share participants can join in for sessions to learn from and with other femme, transgender, nonbinary, two-spirit, and women cyclists. We will be covering topics such as self-care, choosing a route, handling your bike in wintry weather, and more! Grab a snack and a raffle ticket for a chance to win some goodies, and stick around for the gear swap to snag some new-to-you winter gear. This event is beginner and newbie friendly - come with questions and leave feeling confident!

This event is FREE and open to all FTW (femme, trans nonbinary, two-spirit and women) riders!  If you are a cis man who benefits from cis-male privilege, please respect this space and do not attend this event.


Find the event on Facebook here for ongoing updates and more information!


You are welcome to come and go as you please. Here is a tentative schedule for the day:




10:30 - 11am: Sign In and Snacks


11am: Welcome and small group go-arounds


11:30am - 12:30pm Session 1 (one hour):

Room 1: Bike Maintenance and Bike Set-Up Options

Room 2: Self-Care


12:30pm: BYO Lunch, quick post lunch stretch


1:15 - 2:15pm Session 2 (one hour):

Room 1: Safety, Handling and Routing

Room 2: What to Wear


2:15 - 3:30pm:

Panel Q&A and Community Announcements


3:30 - 4:00pm:


Gear Swap

After spending the day learning about the joys of winter biking, you’ll have the chance to score some new and gently used gear to get you where you need to be! The gear swap will include some wonderful items created at our craft event as well as gear and clothing donated by our generous community members. Clear out your closet and bring winter clothing, gear, bike stuff in good condition to share with other femme, transgender, and women cyclists. Nothing to donate? No problem! The Gear Swap is free and everyone is welcome to participate, even if you don't bring anything to swap. Anything leftover will be donated.


The Winter Skill Share is an annual event that centers the voices and experiences of femme, transgender, and women cyclists. It’s a friendly and supportive space where we share our wisdom and perspective, give away small prizes, swap gear, and inspire each other as we head into the winter biking season. But it’s only possible with the help of volunteers like YOU!


We need day-of volunteers to help set-up, greet participants, time sessions, and more! It’s a fun and easy way to help out our incredible FTW community, and make some new friends along the way. Interested? Sign up here!



This year we are asking participants to bring a non-perishable food item. We will be donating these items to Face to Face and the Franklin Hiawatha Encampment (also known as The Wall of Forgotten Natives) to support people experiencing homelessness and hunger. For more specific asks, check this list for Face to Face and this list for the Franklin Hiawatha encampment.

See ya soon!

10 Sep


Introduction to Cyclocross Racing


on September 10, 2018   comments 0

Introduction to Cyclocross for femme/trans/women

Hosted by Atsuko Fukushi of TacoCat Racing


Cyclocross racing is a fun type of off-road bike race, typically happening in the autumn months. There are official and underground races, but figuring out how to get into the sport can be confusing. This skillshare covered the different types of races, how to find out about them, how to prepare for them, and what to expect on race day.

What is cyclocross?

  • Cyclocross (often abbreviated to “cross” or “cx”) is a circuit race, meaning you do multiple laps, on non-paved terrain. Laps are usually around a mile long and can consist of grass, gravel, mud and sand. There are natural and human-made barriers that may require you to get off your bike and run, such as stairs, sand pits, stream crossings, hairpin turns, and barriers to jump over. It can be a contact sport, with riders jockying for position on the course. Throughout a race, there are many changes of speed and direction.

  • Terms to know:

    • “off camber”: riding across a hill, rather than straight up or down. This can be tricky especially in wet conditions.

    • “Getting lapped”: Sometimes, slower riders will get passed by the leader of the race, who has essentially ridden one lap further and is coming up on the back of the field to pass.  The leader should give a verbal cue that they are passing, but it is up to the rider who is being passed to decide when it is safe for them to move over to let the lead rider pass.

    • “Heckling”: is when spectators jokingly taunt racers during their race.  Rather than cheering encouraging words, heckling is often yelling insults to encourage riders to go faster. Heckling is part of the cross culture - but spectators should only be heckling people they know. If someone is rude to you, don’t hesitate to tell them to shut up.

    • “Handups”: When spectators hold out beverages (sometimes alcoholic) or food for racers to grab and drink/eat during the race. These are technically not allowed in sanctioned races and you may be disqualified if you are caught taking a hand-up.

    • “Barriers”: Wooden structures typically 16” high that are spread out the full width of the course. Typically there are 1-2 sections of barriers in every race.  Most racers, especially beginners, will need to dismount their bikes, lift their bikes up, and leap over the barrier, before getting back on their bike and continuing the ride.Barriers.jpg


    • “Skinsuit”: A one-piece garment designed for bike racing. These are preferred by many racers because there is less loose clothing to snag on the bike during a race. They typically have a chamois (pronounced “shammy”) in the crotch. A skinsuit is not required for racing.

    • “Pre-ride”: Checking out the course before your race starts.  You can either walk or ride around the exterior of the course while other races are happening, or you can ride on the course when there are no races happening.  This allows you to get a feel for how to approach technical sections.

    • “catting up”: during a sanctioned race, riders are awarded points based on finishing place. A rider must accumulate a certain number of points from multiple races before being eligible to upgrade their race category. All beginners start as a category 5. As they increase their skills and start placing well during races, they will “cat up” to a category 4 and so on. Category 1 races is the highest level of the sport, where athletes typically travel across the country and world to compete against other elite athletes.

    • “Embro”: short for embrocation, a type of skin salve that helps the skin feel warmer in cold weather. Some racers prefer to add this gel-like barrier to their skin instead of wearing extra layers of clothing. A cautionary warning - this only gives the body the illusion of feeling warm, you will still need to dress properly once your race is over.

  • Sanctioned vs unsanctioned: Sanctioned races are the official races with the seal of approval of USA Cycling.  They require each racer to obtain a license to race. You can either purchase a seasonal license for $75 or a one-day license for $10. Sanctioned races require a registration fee (usually around $30) because they are staffed by race officials, the events carry insurance, there is usually medical staff on hand, you can earn “upgrade points” if you place high enough in the rankings, and there is often prizes or cash to win. Unsanctioned races are not approved by any governing body, they are often free, casual, and just for funSwitchback.png.


How do I find out about events?

  • USAC and MCF websites: USAC website lists all sanctioned bike races in the US. This is where you purchase your annual license, pre-register for races, and find races in your area.  The Minnesota Cycling Federation website is for the Minnesota chapter of USAC. This will only list races happening in Minnesota.

  • How do I register, online or day-of: Sometimes you can save money and time by pre-registering for races before the day-of. This is often non-refundable, so I only register for races that I know I will go to for sure. You can register the same day as the race. Be sure to arrive with plenty of time before your race starts, as there are often long lines.

  • What race do I choose: If you have never raced a sanctioned cyclocross race before, you will be in the Women’s Category 5 race. This is for beginners, and races are usually 30 minutes.  If you weigh 160 pounds or more, you can enter the Athena category, which races at the same time as the Women’s Category 5 race, but has separate scoring and podiums. Once you have done 10 races or have placed high enough in the category 5, you may be eligible to “upgrade” to category 4.  *USAC does not currently use language that includes non-binary or transgender individuals. I don't have experience navigating this, but my gut says to just go ahead and register under the category that you would prefer to race in. If you want support doing this, please let me (Kat McCarthy) know.

  • How do I read this race flier?: Once you find an event, view the Race Flyer. This has all the information for the race including location, cost, time of races, prize money, and how to register. Look for your category listed to see when the start time of your race is.  Your category may have multiple options. For example: a Category 4 woman can race in the 45 minute Women’s 3 / 4 race at 9:46am or in the 30 minute Women’s 4 / 5 race at 2:25pm. You can choose to race one or both of those races. Multiple races can be happening at the same time, but will be scored separately.

How do I prepare?

What do I wear?: Since cyclocross if a fall sport, what you wear will change as the season gets cooler. You will want to wear clothes that are comfortable for biking. Most people wear some sort of padded short because the courses are often bumpy and you will be jumping on and off your bike many times during a race. Some folks wear a “skinsuit” which is a one piece lycra racing uniform. These are quite expensive and are not required, but folks like them because they are very tight fitting with no opportunity for clothing to get snagged while mounting/discounting. If it’s cold, you may consider wearing arm-warmers and leg-warmers. Some people use “embrocation / embro” (defined above), in lieu of wearing extra layers. Gloves that allow free range of movement and dexterity are recommended for retaining the ability to shift and brake efficiently. It’s recommended to bring a few changes of clothes: a set of warm cycling clothes to wear during your pre-ride warm up, your racing outfit/”kit”, and a set of warm and dry street clothes to wear after your race.

What kind of bike can I ride?: A cyclocross specific bike looks like a road bike but has clearance to fit wider, knobby tires. It is legal to race mountain bikes in local cyclocross races.


Where do I go to buy a cx bike?: If you want to buy a used bike, there is a buy/sell/trade group on Facebook for women/trans/femmes in the Twin Cities.  Lots of local bike shops carry new cyclocross specific bikes.

What to bring to a race?: The three changes of clothes outlined earlier (pre-ride warm up clothes, race outfit, and dry street clothes for post-race). You will also want to pack your helmet, bike specific shoes, snacks, water bottles, checkbook or cash if you are registering day-of.  There are usually basic bike repair facilities on-site, and basic first aid supplies handy.

What happens on race day? During the race?

How early should I get there?: To have plenty of time, look at the race flyer to determine the start time of your race, and work backwards.  You will want to have time to pre-ride the course before the start of your race, so look at the start time of the race that happens immediately before your race. You will want to pre-ride the course before that race starts. For example, if you are racing the Women’s 4 / 5 race at 2:25, the race before yours starts at 1:20. You will want to be ready to pre-ride between 1:00 - 1:20.

Getting numbers, chips, etc: If you pre-register, you still have to check in when you arrive to get your race number and timing chip.  Volunteers should tell you which side of your back your number should be pinned to. Typically the timing chip is strapped to your left ankle.

Warm-up routine: The course is “open” for pre-rides when there are no races in progress.  Typically, there will be a sign near the start/finish line that will say “Open” or “Closed”.  When in doubt, ask a race official (khaki pants and baby blue polo) or listen to the announcer for cues. If you are wearing a chip timer during your pre-ride, do not ride across the start/finish line, even if no races are in progress. Ride one full lap of the course slowly so you can take in all it’s features and get a sense of where the hard parts are.  If time allows, practice riding or running through the challenging areas and make note of how you want to execute it during the race. While other races are happening, walk along the outside of the course to watch other races to see how they handle each section.


When to be at the start?: You will want to start heading to the start area of the race about 15 minutes before your race time.  The officials need you there early to give instructions and get everyone lined up. They don’t wait for stragglers, so be there early!

How the lap counter works, bell lap: During the first lap, officials will time how long it takes the leader of the race to complete one lap. Then, they calculate how many laps can happen within the race time. Typically for a 30 minute race, you will do 2-4 laps. At the start/finish line, there will be numbered cards showing how many laps remain.  When you hear a bell, that means it is the last lap for everyone in the race. If you get passed by the leader of the race (“getting lapped”), you will finish on the same lap.

What’s the etiquette when I pass someone?: When you are coming up behind a rider that you would like to pass, call out to them that you would like to pass when they have a chance to move over. They may need to wait for a clear opening before it is safe for them to move over.  Thank them when you pass.

What’s with people yelling rude things at me and handing me food / beer?: See “heckling” and “handups” defined earlier.

What do I do when I’m done? The race officials will tell you when your race is over (if you happen to miss the bell lap or lap counter cards.  You will need to turn in your chip timer - typically they have buckets set out after the finish line. You’ll want some time to cool down, grab a snack and some water.  Usually about 20 minutes after a race, the results are posted on print-outs near the registration table. If you want to stay for the awards ceremony, those can happen up to an hour after the race.

How do I eat for the race?: This comes down to personal preference. Some folks try to eat two hours before, some prefer to eat within about 45 minutes of race time. You’ll have to experiment to see what types of foods you like and how soon before racing you need to eat to feel great.

How do I set my tire pressure?: Tire pressure is also a personal preference, and will also depend on what time of wheels/tires you have, your body weight, and the terrain of the course.  Generally speaking, for 700c wheels, a range of 15-30 psi is average. If you have inner tubes, you will need the tires to be pumped up on the higher end of that spectrum to avoid getting a “pinch flat”.  If you have a tubless set up, you can run lower tire pressure. If the course is hard-packed or grassy, you might want higher pressure so you can go fast. If the course is sandy, rocky, or muddy, you will want lower pressure to give your tires more traction. This will take some practice and experimenting to find the right combination for your body, bike, and the terrain.


How do I improve my racing?

Practice, practice, practice! You can practice all on your own, or will a group of friends.  Or, if you are wanting to get serious, you can hire a coach who will meet you with you one-on-one and provide you with a training plan.  

Check out the Facebook group “Twin Cities Cross Practice” for dates / locations.  Some bike racing teams will host practice nights.

03 Jul


2018 FTW Bike Camping Retreat


on July 3, 2018   comments 0

Grease Rag is all about community. Gathering together is a sacred act of power and love. And on the full moon, too. What could be more magical?


Grease Rag Group Camp August 25-26, 2018

Deadline to register: August 14

Mandatory planning meeting: August 17

Every year we host multiple bike camping trips. We try to do a lot, so you have to worry very little. We want our trips to be accessible to as many FTWs as possible! Inspired by NINE YEARS of successful camping trips, we wanted to host an FTW-only group camping retreat!

Low barriers!

Don't want to/can't bike? We are arranging a vehicle to get you to the camp site. Don't want to/can't pay $20? It is a sliding scale of $0-$20 fee. BIPOC camp FREE! Don't feel confident about your ability? You can do this! (Go on one of our  Our route is mostly flat, mostly on trails, at a casual pace, and we will have mechanical support on the ride. Don't have all the gear you need? We will hook you up with borrowed gear! Our community is mighty, and will provide us with everything we need.


We will have a few ice breakers and casual get to know you activities before and after the ride. There will be games at camp, and nothing is more fun than being in the company of Grease Rag Friends! We will be taking care of the main meal and route planning and transporting gear so you all can focus on FUN!

Safer spaces!

We will have a quiet area of camp, designated people to help deescalate conflict, a safer spaces policy, and name tags with pronouns if people choose to share them. Any concerns or ideas on how we could make this a safer space? Hit us up!


Our goal for this trip is all of the things above, and to get to know each other better. We have space for 35 people on this trip. Not saying that I guarantee you'll meet a bff or anything... but the chances are good that you'll meet some rad FTWs you click with. Let's all be open to the experience of meeting new friends!


Details about the trip

FTW-only! (If you are cis male and benefit from cis male privilege, you are not welcome on this trip.)

Reserve your spot

Femme/Trans/Women: Let's throw all of our camping gear into some vehicles, and take a chill ride from Powderhorn Park to Carver Park, 22 miles away. This trip is beginner friendly, and you don't even have to camp/bike! Don't have camping gear? No problem.

Sign up here until August 14 If you do not sign up, you are not able to join us- space is limited! We will send out an email on August 16 to hook people up with gear, etc. Can't wait to camp with you all!

Meet up

Saturday, August 25, 12pm. Meet at Powderhorn Park, near the corner of 10th Ave S and E 34 1/2 St. Please arrive before 12:30. At the park we will have a welcome activity, and some stretches to warm us up. Roll out is 1p.

The ride

The ride is almost all on trails, and mostly very flat. There will be multiple ride leaders, mechanical support, and 35 of us riding together. This will be a great experience!

To get us to our campsite we will bike out on the Greenway, to Hopkins, where will will take our first break at Depot Coffee House. We will continue through Hopkins to the SW LRT trail to Excelsior, where we will stop. There is a brewery and a grocery store. We will continue on the trail until we reach our campsite.


Zumbra 2: Capacity 35 people/5 vehicles
  • central fire pit
  • fishing access on Lake Zumbra (a short walk from the sites)
  • 20’ X 30’ stone barn shelter
  • water pump
  • picnic tables
  • pit latrines
  • fire ring



We will be providing some meal basics (vegan, halal, rice and lentils), but you are responsible for bringing your own snacks and we welcome you to contribute to the dinner/dessert meal! We will be having a "salad bar" where we provide some lettuce, and you all can bring a protein, dressing, veggie... whatever you like! We will have a basic breakfast (granola and fruit) in the morning, with an optional brunch spot on the ride back. Please bring your own plate, bowl, napkin, fork, knife, spoon, mug, cup. We will not be providing these things unless you specifically reach out.


This is a sliding scale cost trip, with a suggested donation of $20. If you are not able or unwilling to donate, Grease Rag funds will be used to cover the cost of your spot! We want all FTWs to camp with us! We are able to have 35 people on the site. Please consider donating to cover the cost of someone who might not be able to pay! Thank you!

Email questions to greaseragmpls at with the subject "Grease Rag Camping Retreat."

20 Jun


2018 Grease Rag's Intermediate Bike Camping Trip


on June 20, 2018   comments 0

Grease Rag's Intermediate Bike Camping Trip

July 14-15

Minneapolis to William O'Brien State Park 

This trip is intended for femme/trans/women (FTW) who have some experience bike camping and are comfortable riding 40 miles two days in a row. If you are looking for a more beginner friendly trip, save the date for our FTW Bike Camping Retreat, August 25-26

What to expect?

Friendship and Fun!

We only have space for 12 people on this trip. We will do some icebreaker activities and have some games at camp.  Let's all be open to the experience of meeting new friends!

Details about the trip

FTW-only! (If you are a cis-male who benefits from cis male privilege, please do not register for this trip.)

Reserve your spot

Sign up here until July 1

You MUST sign up to go- space is limited! We will send out an email on July 3 to coordinate food, etc. We're asking for a $7 contribution to cover the cost of the campsite and fire wood. We have scholarships available if that is a barrier for you. Your spot will be confirmed when I've received payment (cash, check, or Venmo) or request for scholarship. 

Meet up

Saturday, July 14, 12:30pm. Our planned roll out is 1p.

Meet at the Hub Bike Coop (3016 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406). 

The ride

The ride will be on a combination of city streets, separated bike paths, and country roads. There are a few significant hills closer to camp. Expect about 39 miles at 10-15 miles per hour.

There will be a few planned stops along the way: Around mile 17, there is a water fountain and porta potties. At Pine Point Park, about 30 miles in, there are (gendered) bathrooms and a water fountain. The last stop will be Marine General Store, a place to get last minute snacks before heading into the park. 


We will be collaborating on dinner and breakfast. There will be an email after registration is closed to coordinate the logistics. Please bring your own plate, bowl, napkin, fork, knife, spoon, mug, cup. We will not be providing these things unless you specifically reach out.

Email questions to with the subject "Grease Rag Camping Trip."

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