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!

14 Feb
2018

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Day 14 of Love MN Winter

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on February 14, 2018   comments 2

I #LoveMnWinter! Today, I love the solitude.

By Minsun Song

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There is something about riding alone at night that brings out the romantic in me. I often bike home in the late evening, when the world is dark and dimly lit by street lights. The traffic reduces to occasional cars and buses.

When I’m biking, I’m truly by myself. There is no one to entertain, no calls or messages I can answer. It’s just me and the bike. I love the sight of the city blanketed in slow. I love the darkness surrounding me and the small circle of light that illuminates the road ahead. I love the quietness accented by the sound of the studded tires rolling down the road.

For all the challenges winter biking throws at me, it also allows me to truly exist in the moment. I love MN Winter, and I love the quiet solitude of the night ride.


Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and sign up to share a post in 2018 here. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

13 Feb
2018

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Day 13 of Love MN Winter 2018

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on February 13, 2018   comments 0

I #LoveMnWinter. Today, I love radical acceptance.

By Scout Fleckenstein 

Let go of fighting reality and accept what is.

When I moved to Minnesota in 2013, I was scared of winter. I was scared of the cold and the snow and the ice and the wind. I was scared to winter bike. To cope with my fear that first year, I focused on the positive — the sun glinting off glittery snow, a patch of dry pavement, or the fact that my toes stayed warm for my entire commute. It turned into a game. Distracting myself from the discomfort and anxiety that come with learning a new skill allowed me to see how winter biking could be fun. I learned to appreciate my body and my bike for getting me to my destination. I started feeling like a badass as I survived and then thrived as a winter cyclist.

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Radically accepting the humidity and giant tropical plants at Como Conservatory

Over the next few years, my positivity game turned into an anxiety game. I pushed myself to focus on the exciting parts of cold-weather biking and ignored my gut in dangerous riding conditions. My mindset became more and more rigid and the “shoulds” started to creep in. “I should bike instead of take the bus. I should only need one extra layer. My commute should always make me feel awesome.”

Even though exercise and being outside usually make me happy, biking because I thought I should made me feel sad and tired and ashamed. I felt like I had no choice but to grit my teeth and enjoy riding through anything. I was ashamed to admit that winter biking was really hard and sometimes, I didn’t like it.

Last year, the combination of a stressful home environment, a brand-new job and a long commute made that winter the worst of my life. Anxiety ruled as I pressured myself to do all the things I thought I should do to be healthy—bike to work every day, practice gratitude and meditate. As it turns out, those things don’t work when you ignore that you are also exhausted and incredibly stressed. I needed a reality check.

Exactly one year ago, I had my first appointment with my new therapist. We have done a LOT of work since then. Over the past 12 months, I’ve learned that I have choices. I can accept the reality of super duper cold days and take the bus. I accept that my body needs fuel and carry extra snacks and hot tea in my pannier. I bring TWO extra layers if I want! Accepting the facts and acting accordingly is not shameful—it is healthy.

So this winter, I radically accept reality. Bad days are a fact of life. I am allowed to feel cold and lonely and wonder if the snow will ever melt. Because those feelings are just as real as the exhilaration of arriving at work after a commute I was ready and excited for. Winter is beautiful. Winter is also hard. And I love winter the most when I accept all of its realities.

 

Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and sign up to share a post in 2018 here. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

12 Feb
2018

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Day 12 of Love MN Winter 2018

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on February 12, 2018   comments 0

I #LoveMnWinter! Today, I love winter sensations.

By Anne Sombor 

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I love how Minnesota winter lets me feel more deeply in my body. 

Big bicycling drinks of cold air feel like scratching an itch at the very back of my throat. Too cold air, below zero, feels thick when I pucker my lips and breathe in, like sipping air through a straw. 

I love insulation and ventilation and circulation and (how is this happening? surely, it's too cold?) perspiration.

After riding, my thights are itchy with kinetic energy, but burning cold when I rub them with my hands. In the summer, I don't notice sensation in my thighs unless they hurt. 

I love the moment when, all at once, my hands fill with warm golden blood on my ride and my fingers feel thick and pulsating with life. 

My winter body gets to transform. It gets its own sensations that my sumer body will never understand. 

 

Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and sign up to share a post in 2018 here. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

11 Feb
2018

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Day 11 of Love MN Winter 2018

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on February 11, 2018   comments 0

I #LoveMnWinter! Today, I love ritual.

By Julia Winkels

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I was over winter early this year. For the first time I really felt that I suffered from the cold, a menacing force that  compounded my anxiety and fatigue. I began to dread leaving the house, whether it was climbing into my warmed-up car or braving the cold on my bike. I felt clumsy and irritated by the endless cycle of layering winter clothes. I began to simmer with self-loathing, frustration, and resentment because I wasn’t as tough as I “used to be,” since I found it all to be such a damn drag.

Until one day I came home. I walked through my back door, pulled it shut and turned the lock without thinking. I set my mittens and my backpack on the steps, bent to take off my boots. I unbuttoned my jacket and pulled my hat and scarf into the sleeve. And up to that very ordinary day I had found this process a oppressive chore, something I labored through because it’s winter and that’s just what we do — we cope. But as I reached to pick my backpack up, the thought crossed my mind that those 30 seconds weren’t a chore, but a ritual. The simple act of undressing from the cold had — has — become a mellow ritual that I rely on to keep the clockwork of my day ticking smoothly along. When I saw that little moment clearly, met it and accepted it and embrace it for what it is, my mind shifted completely.

In that moment, winter taught me a lesson, about stillness, about clarity, and above all, the power of ritual. This is a season of letting go, stripping down. Trees have let go of their flowers and leaves, we’ve put our gardens to bed. There isn’t an outward sign of growth — the work is underneath, in our roots. It’s a necessary and supportive process that I’ve come to love and crave. In the stark stillness of winter, I’m learning to embrace nourishing rituals. There is so much ease and sweetness in these little daily practices that gently guide me through my day. I feel so deeply grateful for them.


Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and sign up to share a post in 2018 here. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

10 Feb
2018

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Day 10 of Loving MN Winter 2018

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on February 10, 2018   comments 0

I #LoveMnWinter! Today, I love riding in a snowstorm.

By Claire Milldrum

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This is my first full winter in Minnesota. All my friends from other cold weather states questioned my logic, but as we know, they were very wrong. Minnesota is great in the winter, in that there is both no expectation you have to leave your home but there’s enough to do that you choose to lose your toes anyway.

For about a month, I didn’t really bike. The logistics of getting to work that way were terrible, so I drove. And to be honest, biking should have taken precedence. Biking is the way I connect back to myself, and set my priorities for the day. So when I did start biking, I was totally unprepared for how different and exciting winter biking is.

I think my favorite day was the snowstorm on January 22, which revealed to me both how ridiculous but also how strong I am. Without consulting the weather, Frankie (my bike) and I went out to my office job. It was fine, beautiful even. Snow quickly began falling after this, and my boss sent me home at 2 p.m. Excited to try snow biking with no fat tires, I borrowed some cash from a friend in case I needed to get on a bus.

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"Stay loose, flexible but firm," kept going through my head, from the wisdom of Grease Rag(gers). That trifecta got me through a terrifying but thrilling ride. I kept stopping as the car ruts I biked in would get turned into curves at intersections. I was cold, but not that edge of frostbite that I normally feel.

At Franklin and Park, my glasses got decrusted, and “what is wrong with me” went through my head, along with “I am a badass with a very cute butt.” I was about half of the way.

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My commute usually takes 16 minutes; this took 32 minutes. Yet, I instinctively knew this. When at Marquette and 7th my bike chain gave up, I pulled off the road for the last time. I walked the rest of the way, just a couple of blocks. I put Frankie to bed in the apartment’s bike room, and imagined all the ice melting off of my trusty steed. I took a selfie, changed, and got a couple beers with a friend. Those two beers were some of the best I’ve ever had, as we watched the snow get deeper.

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While I’m a summer kid through and through, I have learned a lot about myself in terms of how to handle tough situations like poorly maintained icy roads with no lights, or how to yell at people parked in my lane. Each day I don’t get to ride is a real lost opportunity, as each ride is precious. I will put away Frankie in a couple of months and take out Delores, my soulmate bike. But I’ll still miss Frankie and our struggling successes.

 

Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and sign up to share a post in 2018 here. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

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