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!

29 Apr
2017

1 Comments

May 6: Ovarian Psycos screening

by

on April 29, 2017   comments 1

OP16_Xela_and_Ovas.jpgMaintain a brave space by and for marginalized womxn of color.

Encourage militant, autonomous, models of community organizing and actions to address oppressive power structures.

Center our political analysis and community action to align with current struggles towards liberation.

These are just some of the radical principles of the Ovarian Psycos bike brigade in Los Angeles.  

Rooted in “feminist ideals with indigena understanding and an urban/hood mentality,” the Ovarian Psycos bike brigade unapologetically confronts injustice and creates community for Latinx riders in Los Angeles. On May 6, Grease Rag is hosting a local screening of the recently released Ovarian Psycos documentary to stand in solidarity with our xisters in Los Angeles, and build community locally.


Our goal is to raise at least $2,000 to donate to the Ovarian Psycos’ creation of a healing space in LA — and resource Grease Rag’s work to center and support BIPOC+ (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) WTF leadership here in the Twin Cities. Funds will also support our venue, CTUL, which is organizing workers for better labor conditions.

Will you join us?

  • Date: Saturday, May 6
  • Location: CTUL, 3715 Chicago Ave, MPLS
  • Time: Doors at 6 p.m., program at 6:30 p.m. After the screening there will be time to connect and discuss the film with your community.
  • Suggested donation: $20 CA$H ONLY, no one turned away for lack of funds!
  • Food: There will be snacks and refreshments!

Can you help?

Important note from Grease Rag

Grease Rag contacted the Ovarian Psycos before we decided to screen this film, to check in about the best way to share their story. Fetishsizing POC who organize their communities effectively is a form of white supremacy — and Grease Rag will not exploit the pain and struggle of these womxn for our own gain.

We determined that a joint benefit between the Ovarian Psycos and Grease Rag was a good way to support both of our organizations' goals. After the film, we'll be sharing some discussion questions that center the individuals instead of tokenizing as a means to honor their stories.

"Para todxs todo o nada para nadien."

Statement from Ovarian Psycos on the film

"We the Ovarian Psycos have been very very busy, so busy that even tonight we had to meet to do our seasonal criticisms / self criticism for our current core collective members (no time for popcorn and chill). The success of the Ovarian Psycos documentary is definitely accredited to the filmmakers’ skills and our labor of love, but in this documentary you will not find our daily work and struggles to defend our communities and you will not find our resistance! The resistance comes from our direct action in the streets and not on the screen. We are still currently and unapologetically sustaining an autonomous community space located in Boyle Heights La Conxa and have been doing so since 2014 without any federal, state, or local funding/grants and mainly through the community’s ability to come together and make shit happen organically. We also continue to support the anti gentrification movement in BH and throughout the city and are keeping our pedals firmly planted on the front line to keep that work alive.

The Ovas have been justifiably Angry/Psyco throughout the 6 years of organizing and specifically NOW more than ever we are infuriated , frustrated, and bitter with the way we as Woc, Poc, and Qtpoc are being disposed of. Whether it’s the LAPD gunning down our Brown and Black brothers and sisters, the city (sometimes our own people) selling out our neighborhood to the highest bidder, or the 64,000 black women who are currently missing, the struggle and work continues. Women are still being found dead in our community. Our working class neighbors are being pushed out of their community. We have our undocumented family living in a state of fear…..SO PLEASE DON'T COME AT US WITH THE 3rd Wave Feminism questions and CO-Ops…. We are coming from 500 years of colonization and we are never on the front lines on some photo opportunity/activism career. We are out here for our community and the 7 generations to come after. We do this for the seeds. Tlazo."

25 Mar
2017

14 Comments

Delivery Cyclists in NYC

by

on March 25, 2017   comments 14

I was lucky enough to volunteer for a few hours with the Biking Public Project in New York when I was visiting recently.

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The Biking Public Project is a group of volunteer activists and organizers trying to make bike advocacy more inclusive and representative. BPP has been working on projects relating to women, people of color, and delivery cyclists for a few years. Their most recent project is focused on delivery cyclists in NYC.

From BPP:

We can choose to hear food delivery cyclist voices and experiences, yet often we do not. BPP has started a new participatory research project with food delivery workers called “Delivering Justice.” In this project, BPP seeks to support and empower food delivery cyclists by partnering with them to characterize abuses, create counter-narratives, and generate actions to improve labor and street conditions. We plan to do a lot of surveying of food delivery cyclists along with some focus groups and perhaps even some mapping and other data collection and analysis.

Follow the Biking Public Project

Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr

Food Delivery Cyclists are Subject to Racist Enforcement

In New York, a city full of people who don't cook and rely on food delivery, it is abhorrent how food delivery cyclists are treated, looked down on, and discriminated against. (Always tip your delivery workers! They depend on it!)

I volunteered with BPP to hand out surveys to delivery cyclists in Manhattan. I handed out 60 surveys to the young brown and black men out delivering, or left them on bikes parked outside of restaurants, identifiable by their large baskets, e-bike batteries, placards showing which businesses own the bikes, and their large backpacks.

  • Delivery cyclists are low-paid, and are often subject to wage theft from shady employers who want to exploit their labor
  • Because of the low wage and high chance of exploitation, delivery cyclists are vulnerable and are often poor, and sometimes undocumented
  • Cracking down on delivery cyclists is inherently racist because the majority of them are poor, people of color
  • Citation data shows that enforcement is disproportionately affects minorities, and commercial districts where delivery cyclists work
  • Because of a weird legal gray area in NYC law, e-bikes are illegal and can be seized by law enforcement
  • Decision makers are not listening to the experiences of these workers

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Wage theft

BPP is working to collect this data to hopefully influence the system that makes being a food delivery cyclists a hard life. Wage theft is a huge part of the problem.

Workers of Indus Valley Restaurant came together to demand their bosses, Phuman and Lakhvir Singh, stop stealing their wages. They worked more than 60 hours per week, paid as little as $3/hour and never paid overtime. They won a court decision of $700,000.
Instead of paying the workers, the Singhs changed the name of the business from Indus Valley to Manhattan Valley and claim to have sold the business. These tactics are used by many unscrupulous employers—Nations Cafe, Mei Shi Lin, Grand Sichuan, to name a few–to ignore court judgments and continue to break the law.

The SWEAT bill (A628/S579) will make it harder for employers to do this and is on the cusp of becoming law. Let’s come together to pass SWEAT and help prevent wage theft!

Read here for more information about delivery cyclist abuse by employers.

Police enforcement

BPP released a report that shows how policing effects delivery cyclists.

From 2007 to 2015, 92 percent of commercial cycling tickets were issued in just four Manhattan precincts, covering the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, and parts of Midtown — areas whose populations are 75 percent white. Meanwhile, non-commercial infractions were most heavily concentrated in precincts with high levels of poverty and majority-minority populations.

The severely disproportionate policing of commercial cyclists by those four Manhattan precincts — the 17th (Midtown East), 18th (Midtown North), 19th (Upper East Side), and 20th (Upper East Side) holds true when controlling for the large number of restaurants in those areas.

In Midtown East, for example, 291 commercial cycling summonses were issued annually for every 100 restaurants. In comparison, the 88th Precinct in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill issued just .37 tickets per year per 100 restaurants.

The top eight precincts for commercial cycling infractions per 100 restaurants are all in Manhattan. “The commercial cycling infractions are all happening in affluent, white neighborhoods,” Biking Public’s Do Lee told Streetsblog. “Most [commercial cyclists] tend to be Asian and Latino immigrant workers.”

At the same time, all but two of the top 10 police precincts for non-commercial cycling summonses are in majority-minority neighborhoods. You can toggle between the commercial and non-commercial bike enforcement datasets on this map:

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“Given that most working cyclists in NYC are food delivery workers who tend to be Latino and Asian immigrants,” concludes Lee in a recent summary of the research, “this map means that in NYC, people of color who bike have been policed both where they live and where they work.”

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Click here for the study maps.

Crackdowns on e-bikes disproportionately affect minority cyclists

Further, the NYPD proudly cracks down on e-bikes, primarily used by delivery cyclists.

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NYPD confiscated 247 e-bikes, which are about $1500 each, minimum. So NYPD has just dispossessed mostly workers of color of about $370,000. Is this how #VisionZero is supposed to work? Do we feel safer because of this?

Negative narratives are racist and unfounded

If you have to speed to your delivery or risk not getting a tip, how would you ride through traffic? Are delivery cyclists a danger to other road users? Much of the narrative around these delivery cyclists is made without speaking to the workers, and negative impressions are allowed to circulate unchecked by other perspectives.

That’s the conclusion of a report from the Biking Public Project [PDF]. The authors identified 74 stories about delivery cyclists published in NYC newspapers and online outlets (including Streetsblog) between 2004 and 2014, and found that only 27 percent included at least one quote from a food delivery person.

I volunteered for this project to help raise the voices of NYC delivery cyclists. I recently read this article about their situation, and was moved by Xiaodeng Chen's words.

“Doing this job, you’re constantly reminded that you are not part of the community. You’re reminded that you’re an outsider,” Chen says. “You see the city for what it is.”

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07 Mar
2017

38 Comments

WTF Grease Rag? Podcast

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on March 7, 2017   comments 38

LISTEN TO OUR PODCAST: SOUNDCLOUD

You can stream, or download for listening later! Click here.

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International WTF Day

#InternationalWTFDay is our day.

Our day is rooted in the labor struggles that continues today.  Our day recognizes not all labor fits into the traditional economy, but that doesn't mean it is not real work. Our day celebrates the spectrum of our genders, and does not stop at "woman." Our day does not determine membership with genitals. Our day is multi-generational, multi-cultural, and intersectional.

Join the WTF labor strike! March for trans youth, for trans women of color, for Black lives, Queer rights, sex workers' rights, single moms, and for access to sexual and reproductive health. March for Jaquarrius Holland, Chyna Gibson, Ciara McElveen, Mesha Caldwell, Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, Keke Collier, and Jojo Striker.

Celebrate with us by listening to our stories in our podcast. Everyone volunteered their time for this labor of love, with the offer of sliding scale compensation, although there is no price to be put on the value of our experiences!

WTF Grease Rag?

Listen here

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Anna and Maddy!

Thank you

Thank you to Maddy Love for recording, editing, and publishing this podcast! Anneka for the ambitious idea and motivation to tell our stories. Anneka, Riley, Shruthi, Holly, Anna, Amanda, Meg, Emily, Lily, Kenzie, Anna, and Andi for trusting us with your stories!  You are powerful and important! We value you!

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And thank you to my kitties for sitting on laps and purring so we could relax into our recording session.

01 Mar
2017

0 Comments

28 Days of Loving MN Winter 2017

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on March 1, 2017   comments 0

In 2014, Low created a project to get them through the brutal Minnesota winter. For 29 days they posted stories and pictures and poems about riding through the difficult month of February. In 2015 and 2016 it grew into a beautiful collective effort, with dozens of WTFs sharing what makes them #LoveMNWinter. 

This year — my first full winter in Minnesota — I had the privilege of wrangling stories, reflections, poems and photo collections that gave me life in these dark days (on so many levels).

For so many of us, we love winter not only for the beauty we see outside but for the vitality it inspires in ourselves. MN winter makes us feel powerful and soft, determined and patient, fierce and playful. It takes us out of comfort zones and reminds us to slow down. It proves that we are brave and capable — and supported by an amazing community of fellow WTF riders.

Here's a recap of some of my favorite phrases and thoughts from #LoveMNWinter 2017!

 

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Connor, Day 28: She is still in about 40 pieces because I did that thing where you don’t bother to take a picture of how everything fits back together before you take it apart so whatever thing it is (in this case, my bike) sits there sadly staring at you like, “Why did you do this to me?” and all you can say is, “I’M SORRY I WAS TRYING TO MAKE IT BETTER!”

Clark, Day 27: Wheels crunch through the snow | Quintron line keeps me moving | She is badass

Low, Day 26: Resist that shit. We're beautiful.

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Monica, Day 25: In February it’s the nuthatches, chick-a-dees and woodpeckers that keep me smiling along with the cardinals and robins that are already starting their spring calls.

Yasmiene, Day 24: There’s a spot by my house that was as smooth as a fresh skating rink. I feel so playful when I’m sliding on the ice to watch the water underneath move.

Teresa, Day 23: I love the idea that during this time when life slows down, and we are all forced indoors to stay warm, that essential knowledge is shared in a communal way.

Amanda, Day 22: Not everywhere gets winter, so it’s special. It’s fleeting. I want more winter, more snow, more layers, more hot chocolate with marshmallows. More winter bike rides that rejoice in the cold and snow that makes our state special.

Lucy, Day 21: One evening during the very first significant snowstorm, I was biking home and must have looked ridiculous sliding around the bike lane on 26 and Bloomington all by myself. A woman in her mini-van rolled down the window to ask if I was interested in taking a ride from her... Even though it was snowy, icy and cold outside, I’ll never forget how warm I felt after that interaction.

Sarah, Day 20: false brown spring from froze | happy fat tires ride smooth | on snow forest slush

Casey, Day 19: There is a soft, stillness to winter on the plains/prairie/lake country where humans get to hibernate inside of fluffy blankets and frosty balaclavas. Silently biking through a fresh, sparkling blanket of snow on a clear night feels like a secret.

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Heidi, Day 18: Moving to Minnesota has meant learning about, among other things, neck gaiters, meat raffles, ice houses on frozen lakes, booya, and sundogs. For some reason it took me until my fourth Minnesotan winter to actually see sundogs.

Melody, Day 17: A lightbulb went off in my head. If I want people to give me space on the road out in Coon Rapids, it is best for me to smile and share a positive story.

Colleen, Day 15: Biking in the winter is an awesome, exhilarating, sometimes unpredictable experience.

Kadence, Day 14: I want to share with you my not-so-special-secret for How to Be a Bike Babe Badass, so that you, too, will become the Bike Babe Badass That You’ve Always Wanted to Be.

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JJ, Day 13: As a survivor, cycling plays a key role in my healing. I can feel the power of my body. As far as winter biking is concerned, it’s all just part of the adventure. I wouldn’t have it any other way and I love riding in winter.

Anna, Day 12: Sometimes community means getting a lot of help to do something really stupid. For me, this year, that was finishing my first-ever fat bike race.

Joy, Day 11: I feel powerful when I pass another powerful winter cyclist and we give each other the all-knowing nod. To me the nod says, "I see you. We're doing great. It's damn cold."

Judy, Day 10: As evening descended upon the town, we churned through the brown squashy streets back to the hotel and stowed the bikes... We’d survived another adventure and lived to ride another day.

BrieAnna, Day 9: I love how quiet and in your own world you can feel on a winter's night.

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Bri, Day 8: My favorite is crossing the Mississippi River — it's never the same — roiling, rambling, rushing, freezing, thawing, but always moving forward.

Tina, Day 7: Often, as city-dwellers, we get wrapped up in what we do here, and our world shrinks down to the borders of what we can immediately see. This weekend, the universe conspired to break us out of that loop, a chance to experience and appreciate the warmth and wonder of rural Minnesota.

Dana, Day 6: This year’s great discovery has been the wool circle skirt. Even in below zero temperatures, I am cozy and stylish in heavy wool with a pair or two of fleece leggings underneath.

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Holly, Day 5: This winter, I’ve been “hunkering down” as an opportunity to find my way out of a personal shitstorm of burn out and avoidance. I'm starting by catching up on some reading, ready to strategize a new route forward and it starts by sticking to the work of WTFs and POC authors in my #lovemnwinter reading list...

Lauren, Day 4: I love MN winter. But love does not always look like excitement or appreciation. Sometimes love looks like patience.

Anneka, Day 3: I love the Midwest winter because, more than ever, this is how I want to be: fierce, unpredictable in my tactics, disrupting the system so that there is space and fertile ground for new seeds to grow come spring.

Hilary, Day 2: I love wearing all my layers not only because they keep me warm, but because they remind me of all the friends and family that helped me be the badass I am today.

Carolyn, Day 1: I don't know if it's moving through the world as a woman that makes me feel subconsciously exposed at all times, but I like wearing sweaters and mittens and two pairs of pants. Maybe the layers make me feel bigger in a world that often makes me feel small — or more protected from the hurled insults we all defend against daily when we ride.

HUGE thanks to everyone who contributed!

28 Feb
2017

0 Comments

Day 28 of Loving MN Winter

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on February 28, 2017   comments 0

I #LoveMNWinter. Today, I love that we’re one day closer to real spring.

By Connor Phelan

Well friends, we made it! It is officially the last day of February (can I get an Amen?), even if the temperature has been feeling much more like spring.

I’m new to Minneapolis as of August 2016 and this is my first year tackling winter biking. Can I really even say that I’ve been trying winter biking, though, when we’ve had, like, three days of snow? Meh.

But what an adventure it has been. This February has taught me more about how to layer than basically any month ever (or at least since I’ve been bike commuting). I’ve learned that you may be wearing your fleece and windbreaker on your way to work in the morning, but by the time you leave the office, you’re trying to remove as many layers as possible while maintaining an acceptable level of non-nudity in public (and if you’re me, the instant you get home you rip off your shirt because even after stripping down, you’re STILL a hot mess).

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Me, after my freezing (literally, it was -6 degrees that day) ride to the office.

February also taught me that when the snow melts and it becomes that kind of gross slush, the roads become littered with all of the sand and salt that was used to de-ice the roads a month ago. Totally fine for cars — but where does said salt all end up after a few days of snow-free roads? The bike lanes, of course! I discovered this quickly (and unpleasantly) after a day or so when I pulled my beloved Hot Tamale road bike back out of hiding and rode it to work and home. It felt great to be back on my favorite bike and I remembered all over again why I love biking so much.

And then, that dreaded sound hit. The sound of your chain squeaking and grinding all of that gritty sand with each pedal rotation. At first, I was just straight up confused — it was a new chain and I took super good care of my bike! But then one day I got smart and pulled the chain off to wipe it down. And what did I find? All of that glorious sand stuck in every little nook and cranny of my freewheel. Whyyyyyy??!!

Good thing we were still in a full-swing global warming week so it was warm enough to wash the Hot Tamale outside on the back porch. She is still in about 40 pieces because I did that thing where you don’t bother to take a picture of how everything fits back together before you take it apart so whatever thing it is (in this case, my bike) sits there sadly staring at you like, “Why did you do this to me?” and all you can say is, “I’M SORRY I WAS TRYING TO MAKE IT BETTER!” And then you just can’t look at your sad bike anymore so you turn the other way and go get yourself a glass of kombucha. Or whatever kale-loving people are drinking these days.

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The beloved Hot Tamale’s pieces, after being scrubbed clean, now lay out to dry.

Anyway, I realize this is now getting way off topic from what I learned about biking in MN winter and why I love winter biking so much. So, I will leave you with this: Winter biking has taught me a lot about dressing for whatever temperature Mother Nature decides to throw at us, the importance of cleaning out your chain frequently, and that you should smile at other bikers you pass on your way to wherever you’re going because no matter why you bike, we are the people that make the biking community beautiful.

Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February of 2016. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

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