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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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!

07 Dec


Winter Tire Options Recap


on December 7, 2009   comments 17

Everyone has preferences for the equipment they use.  Simply ride what you feel comfortable with.  During the winter, each of the tire categories have their strengths and weaknesses.  Give them a try and see what works for you and your bike.

New tiresVia: / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Skinny Slicks:  22-28mm, smooth tires.

Some people like these because they can cut through slush and snow with little resistance.  However, because they are so thin, they need a higher air pressure in the tire, which results in a smaller contact surface with the pavement.  Slicks also have very little traction and are not good for riding over ice.

Knobby Tires:  32-48mm, knobby tires.

Tires with a thick tread are ideal for plowing through snow.  The shape of the tread is designed to deflect snow away from the tire, thus giving a smoother ride.  Wider tires give you more contact with the road, and the lower air pressure makes them less slick on ice.  Go with tires as wide as your bike frame will allow for.  Make sure to check the rotation direction on the tire before mounting them to the wheel.

Ready and willing...Via: / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Studded Tires:  32-48mm, with metal studs.

While these tires are often very expensive compared to normal tires, they are worth the investment because they perform brilliantly in the snow and on ice.  The metal studs grab the ice which gives superior traction and control in a variety of conditions.  These tires also have thick tread like a normal knobby tire does, so they also work well at diverting the snow.  One drawback is they are much heavier than regular tires, and can slow down and tire you out.  But, I say it’s worth it to have better control on the icy streets.

06 Dec


Events Schedule for Winter 2009-2010


on December 6, 2009   comments 0

vintage clock with perpetual calendarVia: / CC BY-NC 2.0

Here is the Grease Rag Schedule from December 3, 2009- March 18, 2010.  Check out our fliers around town (if you would like to take some and hand them out or put them up, please email


Recently, we've been skipping the rides in the beginning and just getting to shop time because of the weather.  If attendance drops off in the winter we may postpone Grease Rag until the spring.  Hope to see you there!!

03 Dec


Winter Biking Safety Recap!


on December 3, 2009   comments 14


Here are some of the things I mentioned at the last Grease Rag Winter Maintenance Session just in case you need a few reminders on how to stay safe out on the roads of this great city.

  • Take it slow - Especially on turns, bridges, train tracks, intersections, etc.  Make sure you allow yourself extra time to get to places you need to be. Things get slippery out there and you need to be more alert than you would be biking under more ideal weather conditions.
  • Be extra wary of motorists - I'm sure we've all had our fair shares of close calls on the roads, and now that its starting to look more like winter around here we need to prepare to bike more defensively around other vehicles.  The roads tend to be narrower especially if they haven't been plowed yet.  Know that cyclists are allowed to bike in traffic lanes whenever necessary and remember to use your hand signals when ever possible.
  • Try to avoid major roads (especially during rush hour) - I know how invigorating  it feels to zoom by all those suckers stuck in their little cars (or gas-guzzling SUV's), honking their horns at one another on Hennepin, during rush hour, while the winter fresh breeze blows through your hair....[sigh]... But try to avoid it! Minneapolis is pretty good about plowing their trails within 24 hrs of a snowfall, so make sure to utilize the bike paths as much as possible to separate yourself from traffic.
  • Layer up! - Margot gave us a lot of useful information on this topic already.  Keep your extremities nice n' toasty,  invest in some windproof outer layers,  start out cool, avoid cotton, dress accordingly to the type of ride you'll be doing, etc.
  • Stay Visible! - It should go without saying that one needs to stay visible during winter as much as any other time of the year, if not more so! As a cyclist you are legally required to have both a white front light and a red rear light.  This is not only for motorists to see you, but it is for other bikers as well. Reflectors or reflective fabric or tape help a lot too.

Speaking of reflective, check out this sweet stuff - a little pricey but hopefully soon a more affordable roll will be more widely available to us poor folk - Scotchlite 680 reflective vinyl

DSC02733.JPGVia: / CC BY-SA 2.0

Here are two websites that helped me compile this list:

Winter Cycling in Minneapolis and Winter Biking

If anyone has anything they'd like to add feel free to leave a comment or two.


03 Dec


Winter Bicycle Maintenance and Cleaning Recap


on December 3, 2009   comments 0

It's snowing outside today, the perfect time to post a recap on our winter bicycle maintenance and cleaning segment.  Thank you for the demonstration and write-up, Shayne!

Winter Bicycle Maintenance and Cleaning Recap
Keeping your bike clean is the key to ensuring your ride doesn’t fall apart before spring and it will save you money on costly repairs. Most people have a “winter shitter” that they use during the snowy months. It’s a good idea to have a second bike for the winter season. But if you don’t, that’s okay. It just means you’ll want to clean and maintain your bike more often and more thoroughly.

Every few days
You want to do a basic cleaning every couple of days to remove all the salt and grime. SALT IS YOUR WORST ENEMY! It will rust and destroy everything. The main things you want to clean are:

1. The frame- Every inch of the frame should be cleaned off to remove the nasty salt. Spray down the whole bike and wipe off with a rag. Handlebars, fork and around the headset, frame, pedals, cranks, wheels. You can purchase a bike cleaner spray from your local bike shop or the Simple Green brand spray works well too.
2. All gears- Remove all the built up grease and grime with a rag. Old toothbrushes and q-tips work well too.
3. The chain- Clean the chain with a rag and degreaser then re-lube it. Running it through all the gears after. If there's a lot of  built up gunk on your chain, use q-tips to get in between each link.
4. Wheels- The rims of the wheels need to be scrubbed well.  Don't forget to clean your spokes! Keeping the spokes free of salt will extend the life or your wheel set. Putting a drop or two of  lube where the nipple meets the rim will also help remove/repel salt. Also, clean the hub with a rag. Shoving a rag inside the spokes works well.
5. The cranks- Be sure to get inside and around the bottom bracket. Again, q-tips work wonders here.
6. Fenders- If you have fenders, clean em. Snow salt and grime get built up underneath.

Every two weeks
Every two weeks or so you want to do a more thorough cleaning. Start by doing the basic cleaning steps above.

1. Remove the stem, clean off old grease and apply new grease.
2. Remove the seat post, clean off old grease on the post and inside the frame. Apply new grease to the inside of the frame.
3. Remove the cranks if you have a crank puller, reapply grease and reattach the cranks. If you don’t have a crank puller, no worries. This will be done when you bring your bike in for a spring over-haul.

End of the season
Once the snow stops falling, bring your bike in for an over-haul!

There you have it. The longer your bike stays clean, the longer life it will have. A well-maintained bike also means a smoother ride for you.


26 Nov


The Lone Rider Rides Alone: Learning to Ride with a Group


on November 26, 2009   comments 1

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! An example of what kind of team-player I am! I started a post on how to ride in a group and never finished it. Sorry, to busy being solo!

Anyhow. Riding in a group was my challenge of the summer. I've been a LONE RIDER for a very long time. Usually 'cycling in a group for me is an exercise in nerves. I either follow and stay off the back or head to the front, waaay to the front, or am a nervous wreck just waiting for the person in front of me to decide to slow-down quickly, stop, swerve, decide to speed up suddenly, or just derby me. I know, I sound frantic and suspicious...but there are a lot of shitty bike-handlers out there and you never know. My philosophy- it's better to be wary than not.

That being said, riding with people can be very rewarding. It's nice to have someone to chat with while you're pedaling along, it's also nice to have someone to draft when it's windy... and no, I did not learn my group riding skills from drafting strange 'cycling dudes on the Greenway! Although you personally have little control over the person next to you, you do have control over yourself and your bike, so here's a few tips by season.

Read through for tips on riding with a group.

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