Grease Rag Ride & Wrench


We encourage and empower women/ trans/ femme (WTF) 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

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10 Feb
2017

1 Comments

Day 10 of Loving MN Winter

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on February 10, 2017   comments 1

I #lovemnwinter! Today, I love a Wintry Checkpoint.

By Judy Kerr

Judy2.pngWhile I am not an avid winter cyclist, I do have my moments. My awesome partner and hero (JJ Kahle) is the epitome of a dedicated cyclist. I admire and wish I could feel that same level of love for bikes that they do.

To coin the creed associated with the organization from which I’ve recently retired, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” These words can also be applied to my partner and their love of cycling. I, on the other hand, sometimes have to drag my sagging self onto the saddle and force my legs to make the revolutions to propel me along, albeit slowly.

I have a bit of the naysayer in me, but usually after a few minutes of sucking in lungsful of fresh air, the oxygen reaches my brain and reminds me that riding my bike is a good thing.

What I love best about Minnesota winter is the random adventures, sometimes involving our bikes, that JJ and I set off on. New Year’s weekend was one such adventure. We loaded up the bikes and drove north… way north… to Grand Marais. Icy roads and snowy conditions be damned! After more than five hours on the road we reached our hotel on the shores of the mighty and wondrous Lake Superior.

We offloaded our bikes, the grey underbelly of the sky hanging over us, and rode through mushy brown snow to reach the park where the CheckpointMN site is located. The short ride was akin to pedaling our bikes through peanut butter. After only one minor mishap we reached our destination.

We miscalculated where the actual checkpoint was, though, and ended up not only riding/walking on the mostly unplowed road, but then locking our bikes and scaling an ice-coated barrier wall that led to a lighthouse on the shoreline. We were not the only ones brave (?) enough to skate along the wall toward what we thought was the checkpoint, a foolish decision perhaps, but still we embarked with determined caution.

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About halfway across the wall, with the light fading fast and the steely waters crashing into the barrier below us, we decided that it wasn’t worth the risk of a broken limb or cracked skull, not to mention an ice bath, so we did an about-face to head back to solid, snow-covered land. Along the way we chatted with some people who were kind enough to clue us in that the checkpoint was across the parking lot from the Coast Guard Station and not at the end of the icy precipice on which we were slip-sliding along. We thanked them and slowly retreated from whence we came (sometimes on our butts because the surface was glassy and the icy claws of water reaching for us were a bit frightening).

Once back on the snow-packed trail, we unlocked our bikes (thank god we hadn’t tried to walk the bikes along the stony skating rink) and walked up the path to the little park-like area you see in the photo above. Nice solid ground well away from the chilly waters. I am hunched against the brisk breeze (thanking all the higher beings in existence for guiding us back to shore safely) and I’m fairly certain my face is about to crack with my attempt to smile, but we made it to our destination and snapped photos to prove it.

As evening descended upon the town, we churned through the brown squashy streets back to the hotel and stowed the bikes. We bundled up and walked two blocks to an awesome restaurant, “My Sister’s Place,” and enjoyed tasty burgers and beers. We’d survived another adventure and lived to ride another day.

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Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and post about it on this blog. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

09 Feb
2017

1 Comments

Day 9 of Loving MN Winter

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on February 9, 2017   comments 1

I #LoveMNWinter. Today, I love the quiet.

By BrieAnna Lindquist

I love how quiet and in your own world you can feel on a winter's night.

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See more of BrieAnna's work at http://www.bringostarr.daportfolio.com/

Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and post about it on this blog. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

08 Feb
2017

1 Comments

Day 8 of Loving MN Winter

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on February 8, 2017   comments 1

I #lovemnwinter! Today, I love my commute.

By Bri Whitcraft

My commute takes me along West River Parkway along the Mississippi River, crossing at the Franklin Avenue Bridge. As I rush to work and meander home, I can't help but smile. It amazes me that I'm even in the city. Bald eagles soar above me on crisp, sunny mornings, and owls hoot at me in the pitch blackness of the early evening. My favorite is crossing the Mississippi River — it's never the same — roiling, rambling, rushing, freezing, thawing, but always moving forward.

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Photo by Bri Whitcraft

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Photo by Bri Whitcraft

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Photo by Ben Shovel

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Photo by Bri Whitcraft


Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and post about it on this blog. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

07 Feb
2017

1 Comments

Day 7 of Loving MN Winter

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on February 7, 2017   comments 1

I #lovemnwinter! Today, this big-city kid loves small-town MN!

By Tina Cho

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I’m a big-city kid at heart. I love the concrete jungle. I love being close to everything: friends, work, food, entertainment, even nature! I even love that we have (almost) immediate plowing after snow here, so I can zip around the frozen city on my skinny studded tires.

That being said, the grass is always greener on the other side, right?

As someone who’s always lived within city limits, I’ve always wondered what life was like on the other side. What’s it like to live in a place where you know all your neighbors, you don’t worry about locking your doors, and (the biggest shocker) don’t think twice about leaving your bike unlocked in the back of your truck...

When I first moved to Minneapolis from Chicago, it was almost like moving to a small town. There was so much green everywhere, and barely an hour’s drive outside of town put me in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees and cows. In fact, when my mom first visited me, she more or less called the Twin Cities “cute.”

Over the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to accompany my partner Anna (who’s a photographer) to the towns of Little Falls and Northfield, for a winter biking photo shoot. It wasn’t my first time in rural Minnesota, but it was the first time I actually had a chance to interact with the locals. Let me tell you, it was like a cup of hot chocolate for the soul, the kind with the cute little animal marshmallows floating on top for extra #squee!

In Northfield, we met up with a group of folks from CROCT (Cannon River Off-Road Cycling & Trails) to have us some fat-biking fun! They not only met us with warm enthusiasm; they also brought everybody, and I mean everybody: friends, spouses, kids, dogs, and even tiny kid-sized fatbikes! After the shoot, we were invited over for dinner at the home of one of the local riders without a second thought, where we were plied with good beer, amazing conversation, and make-your-own roti pizzas. Anna and I spent twice as much time down in Northfield than we originally planned for, and don’t regret a single second of it.

Often, as city-dwellers, we tend to 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. There is so much bikey stuff going on in the rest of MN outside of the metro area: bike and trail advocacy, youth biking efforts, and just plain good people who love bikes… It makes me proud to be a resident of not just Minneapolis, but of MN as a state.

Photo above from CROCT photo shoot by Laura Chihara

Read about last year’s collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter everyday in February, and post about it on this blog. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls.

06 Feb
2017

1 Comments

Day 6 Loving Winter 2017

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on February 6, 2017   comments 1

Day 6 Loving Winter 2017

I #lovemnwinter! Today, I love winter fashion.

 

I love biking in the winter. To enjoy biking on a brisk, ten-degree morning it helps to be well dressed – there is no bad weather, only bad clothing, right? I also love retro fashion and looking great while biking so I am always on the look-out for how to combine comfort and warmth with looking amazing. 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. With some basic sewing skills and equipment, you, too, can be warm and stylish! This is a how-to about sewing your own skirt. 

This article assumes you know how to operate a sewing machine and have basic sewing skills. 

Looking good picking up children

Materials:

  • About 2 yards heavy wool (This is expensive. I get mine at SR Harris and wait until they have a coupon. Joann Fabrics offer lots of coupons, but do not have the selection of quality wool that SR Harris does. I have also had good experiences with www.fabric.com.)
  • About 2 yards lining fabric. I recommend polyester/acetate lining available in the lining section of the fabric store
  • A 7-9 inch invisible zipper
  • A 1 to 1.5 inch button
  • To be extra fancy and retro use a horse hair hem. Ten yards of horse hair (don’t worry – this isn’t actually made of horse hair. It is a plastic mesh that used to be horse hair in days of old.)
    • Horse hair hem gives your dress added shape and structure – a little of that poof seen in old skirts. You can also use regular hem tape available in the notions section or forgo the hem tape and just turn up your hem.

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Measuring and Cutting

First, measure around your waist. Retro clothing generally fit at the natural waist, not lower on the hips like today’s clothing does. Measure where you want the skirt to sit on your body. Your natural waist is where your belly button is or the narrowest part of your torso. Then decide how long you want your skirt to be. For winter warmth and retro style, mine fall to about three inches below my knee. Get a friend and a measuring tape. Stand up straight and have your friend measure from your belly button to where you want the skirt to fall. Add one inch to this measurement for your ½ inch seam allowances.

I used this handy Circle Skirt Calculator to figure out my waist radius, which is half the diameter of the circle that will become your skirt waist opening. Mine is 4.5 inches.

Using the diagram from the calculator, lay out your wool on a large table. Measure and mark the distance of your waist radius along the fold and down the selvedge edge from the fold. I like to pin my measuring tape to the point and use that to mark a quarter circle between the two markings. This is your waist. From that same point, measure your waist radius plus the length of your skirt plus the inch seam allowance. For me this is 4.5 + 24 + 1 or about 30 inches. Mark another, larger circle of this radius from the same point that you did for the waist. Cut along both circles you drew. 

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Lay the half circle you cut on top of the remaining fabric, fold along the fold, and use that to cut a second half circle. Do this with your lining fabric, but make the circle about two inches shorter. Finally, cut out a waist band. For a 2-inch-wide waist band, cut a 3-inch-wide by your waist circumference plus 3 inches for a 1-inch seam allowance and 2-inch tab for the button.

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Construction.

Now, lay one side of each half circle right sides together and sew that seam. Press. I recommend finishing the seam edges with either a serger or a zig zag stitch on a regular machine. Do the same with your lining. Then, put the right side of the lining on the wrong side of the skirt, lining up the waist. Baste the lining to the skirt in the seam allowance. At this point you will have a two big circles (wool and lining) that are sewed together at the waist and one side. We will close the circle next.

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Finish the raw edges of both the skirt and the lining by either serging the edge or using a zig zag stitch. Put in your zipper using your favorite method. I will not explain how to do that, as it depends on the kind of zipper you have, but I like this tutorial for an invisible zipper and this one for a regular zipper. Sew the remaining side seams of both the lining and the skirt. I like to keep the lining separate from the skirt, but do what you want. Now you have a circle! Try it on to check for fit. 

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 Add the waistband.

Fold the waistband in half, right sides together. To make the corners nice and neat, first sew one short side (width). Then for the button tab, sew down the short side, pivot, and sew about two inches along the raw, open side. 

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Trim the seam allowances, turn out, and press. Press up a little less than half an inch on one side of the waistband. Take the raw edge of your waistband that you did not press, leaving the other raw side free, and pin it to the raw waist of your skirt on the right side. Make sure to line up any side seams and have the button tab aligned with the zipper. Ease in any extra material and baste. Check to make sure and lies nicely and sew seam. Clip seam allowances. 

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Fold over the pressed edge to the inside of the skirt and pin in place. Stitch in the ditch (meaning your stitching line from the other side of the waistband) or hand sew waistband in place. Sew on the button under the button hole tab on the waist band.

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Hemming.

Hang your skirt overnight. This is annoying, but important. The skirt is cut on the bias of the fabric and the weight of the skirt will cause the fabric to stretch. If you do not hang it overnight and just hem it, the hem will be uneven after gravity takes its toll.

After your skirt has hung overnight, check to make sure the circle is still even. Carefully trim where it might be uneven to insure the hem is even.

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If you are not using hem tape or horse hair, press up half an inch along the hem of both the lining and the skirt toward the inside, then press up another half inch and sew the hem.

If you are using hem tape or horse hair, pin the tape so that the skirt edge is at about the middle of the tape. Sew the tape to the skirt along the inside edge of the tape. Fold to the inside so that the other side of the tape (the side you did not sew to the skirt) is about half an inch from the fold. Pin in place. Sew along the tape on the side you did not sew before. There is your hem! Do the same with the lining. Do not use horse hair on the lining, just use regular hem tape.

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Fabulous!

Now you have a fabulous and warm skirt to wear out in the cold. Just make sure to sit on your skirt and do not let it cover your rear light.

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