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!

27 Jun
2017

6 Comments

Roses, Thorns & Buds: An Unexpectedly Eventful Beginner Bike Camping Trip!

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on June 27, 2017   comments 6

Group.jpegEverything was right on track. Until I discovered my BIG mistake.

After a meet-up and stretch session in Uptown, our small crew of six WTFs was rolling at a leisurely pace from Minneapolis to Carver Lake Reserve for the 2017 Beginner Bike Camping Trip. Despite gray clouds, the rain was at bay, and the trail was awash in our music, conversation and laughter as we rode two abreast catching up with friends and making new connections.

Following in the footsteps of last year's organizers, we pulled off at the Excelsior library for our second and final (or so we thought) stop before the campground. But, as I munched on some carrots, I casually pulled out the campsite reservation to check which sites we had — and my stomach dropped.

I'd booked the wrong campground.

Yep! Organizer botches pretty much the one and only thing that's essential to the trip. My brain froze. Like many of you, I'm sure, I'm fully convinced that if I make one mistake people will hate me forever. I cringed as I told my fellow campers that I f*cked up... big time. The campground I had booked was another 13 miles away, on roads, in the direction of the quickly approaching storm.

Riding.jpgInstead of anger and disappointment I was met with resilience. While our bodies were starting to fatigue, we lept right into problem solving. We called Carver and asked if they had any openings or a bike-in site; they said no. After checking in with how everyone felt, we decided to press on to Carver — and try to befriend folx at one of the group camp sites. 

When I got a flat (because, OF COURSE, I would also get a flat), a couple of campers continued on to the site and made an exciting connection. An entire group camp section was occupied by the national convening of the Black Label Punks and a couple of their members, chilling by a camp fire next to a bunch of tall bikes, said we'd be welcome to snag a corner of their site — if we'd be willing to embrace any shenanigans that went down that night.

Needless to say, we were stoked.

But when our full crew rolled up, that offer was rescinded. A surly woman with a baby on her arm looked at us sideways and rallied a vote from the full group that they were NOT okay with six unfamiliar WTFs crashing their party.

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01 Jun
2017

9 Comments

Grease Rag Facilitator/Organizer Safety Training

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on June 1, 2017   comments 9

Working together for safer spaces

Grease Rag Facilitators (the people who greet you at open shop, lead rides, and are familiar with our safer spaces policies) and Organizers (the people who are doing Facebook moderation, admin, fundraising and collectively make decisions) had a meeting to discuss safety and security.

Grease Rag cannot guarantee complete safety. We can only work together to provide safer spaces for each other, so we can all feel free to live our truths.

This meeting was called because we need to be ready to defend our safe spaces. Over the years, there have been a few safety concerns, and the list of people (abusers) banned from our spaces keeps growing. A recent incident motivated Julia to organize this meeting and share her de-escalation skills with us. Julia works with kids with aggressive behaviors and has many de-escalation skills that transfer to Grease Rag’s safer spaces.

This is just a general guide, because each situation is unique, each person is different, and we all have our own style of confrontation. Listed below are some of the specific skills that we talked about and practiced at our meeting.

Safety training

General Considerations

  • Your safety and the safety of the participants comes first!
  • Do not approach the acting out person alone. Take the other facilitator with you.
  • Move the conversation with the acting out person away from the participants or space.
  • Do NOT approach the person too closely or put hands on them, in any way, ever.
  • Use your best judgement about when to call the police or not. Keep in mind that there are can be huge - sometimes FATAL - ramifications for calling the police to intervene. *More in the section below
  • Try to be aware of what triggers your flight, fight, freeze. Is it safe for you to be confronting someone right now, in this way?
  • Don’t try to confront someone if you have been drinking.
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25 May
2017

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Ovarian Psycos Reflections: When white people tell BIPOC stories

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on May 25, 2017   comments 0

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Back in 2012, I organized a National Women's Bicycling Summit in Long Beach, CA — and I'm embarrassed to recall how narrow and harmful my vision was.

White savior talking about gifting bikes to villages in Africa. A bike fashion show that was... beyond words. Even I cringed through half of the program.  

Still, despite the fact that I invited them to be on an equity panel (Yep! Did that, too!), three young leaders from the Ovarian Psycos graciously accepted an invitation to speak. Representing their women of color led group ,which actively confronts injustice and builds radical community, they blew sh*t up with their rejection of the cartoonish but prevailing image of women in the bike advocacy community: compliant, skirt-wearing, white ladies riding Dutch bikes.

Just this month, I got schooled by the Ovas again, as founder Xela de la X came to Minneapolis for our screening of the Ovarian Psycos documentary. Not only did she make me consider my own role in perpetuating white supremacy as a communicator and cyclist — but she also addressed criticism that the Ovas' language is unwelcoming to trans, non-binary and disabled folx.

OPC-screening--Xela.jpg

Xela at the Grease Rag screening, photo by Monica Bryand

One of the most important moments for me came before the film, as Xela explained the deeply problematic nature of white filmmakers telling the stories of women of color. That had a special sting. I was a reporter for many years, telling stories of powerful people, like Xela, in ways that were likely tokenizing and superficial. In my current job, I do communications around an issue that disproportionately impacts communities of color — an issue I've never personally experienced.

It was uncomfortable, but necessary, to hear Xela talk about how that "white gaze" romanticizes and flattens fights against oppression, often leaving unexamined the role of white folx in creating and perpetuating the racist systems — and then discovering or "lifting up the stories" of people acting for their liberation. Not to mention minimizing or omiting community-driven solutions because they threaten the current paradigm.

OP16_Xela_and_Ovas.jpgPhoto courtesy of filmmakers

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24 May
2017

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PHOTOS: Ovarian Psycos screening and fundraiser!

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on May 24, 2017   comments 5

Earlier this month, Grease Rag hosted a screening of Ovarian Psycos — a documentary featuring the radical work and leaders of the women of color bike brigade in Los Angeles. We were honored to welcome Xela de la X, one of the organization's founders (wearing the Feminist Militant shirt in the photos below), who shared her thoughts on the film and the Ovas efforts to confront injustice and create community.

Thanks to our community, we raised more than $1,100 for the Ova's creation of a healing space in LA and to support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) leaders in Grease Rag.

We were also privileged to have the talented Monica Bryand taking pictures. Check out some images of the event below and stay tuned for more reflections!

OPC-screening--Skye-JJ.jpgOPC-screening--Xela.jpgOPC-screening--Pacha-Skye-Magdalena-Low.jpg

OPC-screening--Kat-Julia-Cheslea-Anne.jpg

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23 May
2017

21 Comments

Pink Pussy Hats: Peak #ciswhitefeminism

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on May 23, 2017   comments 21

There was recently a discussion in our Facebook group about the pink pussy hats popularized by the women's march in January. I've collected some thoughts and resources here in this post.

Women and trans folks need to buck the cis heteropatriarchy in solidarity with each other

Reproductive rights, trans health, women's health, immigration reform, services for survivors of domestic violence, healing from sexual violence, wealth equity.

All of these things are critical to women/trans/non-binary/queer survival. None of these things are inherently white, or require a pussy. All of us who do not have white cis male privilege need to have access, rights, and resources.

That said, I'd like to ask everyone to join me in considering what a sea of pink pussy hats says to QTPOC women and trans folks who are struggling. What does solidarity look like? What doesn't solidarity look like?

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Assigned Male Comics by Sophie Labelle

Pink pussy hats are not inclusive of BIPOC and Trans women

This article verbalizes some of the reasons why pink pussy hats are unwelcoming and threatening to me, as a QTPOC.

Respect to Angela Peoples in this photo taken by Kevin Banatte.

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