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

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22 Feb
2017

24 Comments

Day 22 of Loving MN Winter

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on February 22, 2017   comments 24

I #LoveMNWinter! Don’t Complain.

By Amanda Harvey

Amanda1.pngWhen my husband and I moved back to Minnesota after living in Tennessee for about five years, we were worried about re-acclimatizing to winter. Getting used to the stifling humidity and months of temperatures above 100 degrees was a priority upon moving south.

I spent lots of summer days with the all the windows open and fans on high. Riding my bike in skirts and dresses was breezy in all the right places and helped me deal with the heat. The return back north with thinner blood was concerning. So we came up with a plan: don’t complain about the weather.

It’s winter! Don’t complain. The plan sounds negative, but it actually frees up your mind to think about the positive. Keeping to facts was important. “It’s colder than yesterday, wear more layers” or “There’s a lot of ice on the trails, ride carefully.” We came up with solutions to the cold instead of fixating on being cold.

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The Grease Rag Winter Skill Share was key in planning how to dress and shifting my perspective. Not complaining about the winter weather helped me to appreciate the positives of the season. Beautiful ice patterns on windows, muffled early mornings after a snow, and winter sports that are unique to northern climates. I started to look forward to snow and cold. My husband and I ice skated, played league broomball, took late night, snowy bike rides, watched pond hockey, and got a fatbike.

This year, I even tried a fatbike race. It didn’t go well. The problem was that it was too warm. Not that I’m complaining.

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I love winter now because I love the change in all the seasons. 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.

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

21 Feb
2017

36 Comments

Day 21 of Loving MN Winter

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on February 21, 2017   comments 36

I #LoveMNWinter. Today, I love hygge.

By Lucy Roberts

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Hygge: A Danish concept most closely understood in my mind as coziness and warmth.

I recently learned this term in a City Lab article authored by Melody Warnick (I strongly recommend giving it a read). I felt instantly inspired to embrace the fact that Minneapolis has the harshest and coldest winters in the lower 48, and it doesn’t necessarily prevent us from living our coldest days to their full potential.

I just wanted to share a few of the things I have found in this city that give me the feeling of hygge during the coldest, darkest days.

  • Grease Rag (duh)! More specifically, Grease rag open shops, skill shares & full moon rides. Shout out to you all who make those possible and enjoyable <3
  • Cheap merino wool from Saver’s
  • The sauna in the women’s locker room at the YWCA
  • #Winterbikingselfies
  • Passing someone on the greenway and giving the heads up because you are the only people you have seen for at least a mile
  • Encouragement from fellow cyclists that we can, in fact, do that damn thing and ride year round
  • The various coffee shops with fire places: shouts out to Dunn Bros near the north loop (conveniently located halfway between a work site of mine and my home)
  • Free ice skating (and skate rental) throughout the city — good looking out, Lake of the Isles!
  • Sledding!!
  • Heated benches at the downtown public library

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. Part of me wishes I did, just so I could have gotten to know this person better. What a kind gesture! Even though it was snowy, icy and cold outside, I’ll never forget how warm I felt after that interaction.

Here’s to inspiring warmth and coziness in all the WTF friends we encounter out there.

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

19 Feb
2017

1 Comments

Day 19 of Loving MN Winter

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on February 19, 2017   comments 1

 

I #LoveMNWinter! Today, I love Ice Bikes & Justice Shacks!

By Casey Wollschlaeger

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The best balaclava is a fake beard. Casey & Confession Shanty  Medicine Lake, MN, 2009

As I write this, it’s sunny and grazing 60° F in Minneapolis, MN. My winter bike (still the same Kabuki pictured above) has been back in the basement for weeks. I’m leaving my studded tires on just in case the snow promised for later this week sticks. Next weekend is the last chance of the season for biking with the snow beasts of the Art Shanty Projects on White Bear Lake, cold temps withstanding. The Art Shanty Projects have a special place in my heart as the fun and cozy intersection of an art, bike, and social justice Venn diagram on ice.

Casey2.pngLady Bear on Ice, White Bear Lake, 2016

The ice was slick at the Art Shanty Projects last weekend with studded tires and crampons getting their day in the sun. This weekend was the all-access weekend, which included audio described and ASL interpreted tours and kick sled and pedicab rides in the Seal Bike to assist with transportation. February 24 and 25 is the closing weekend and one last chance to peddle around the lake on sparkly faux fur covered bike bear saddles, warm up while writing a message to congress in the Justice Shack, share stories at the Sensa-station Shanty, and get one more ride out of your winter rig.

Casey3.pngJustice Shack, White Bear Lake, 2017

Back in town, the roads are dry and it’s t-shirt and slicks riding weather. Earlier today, I caught myself dreaming of spring rides along the river and summer bike tour plans. I can see and feel signs of the thaw all around me: smiles and waves have replaced anonymous, bundled nods of solidarity seen through glittering eyelash icicles as we plow through drifts of potato starch and sand in the bike lanes; my shoulders are starting to relax from bracing against the wind; and pogies and fat tires have given way to bare hands and scant tire clearance.

Casey4.pngInspirational Insulation in the Justice Shack, 2017

While I relish the sun on my skin and speed of getting ready without wearing my own weight in winter layers, I’m not quite ready for winter to be over. 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. Hot drinks and flannel sheets are rewards for riding home in a sleet storm. Blizzards and snow emergencies make room for reading books and writing letters. Our eyes peer out from our hats and scarves. I recognize friends by their bikes, cadence and silhouettes against a backdrop of white and gray.

Casey5.pngSealBike, White Bear Lake, 2017

I love the contrast and the balance of the seasons. It’s one of the reasons I moved back to the upper Midwest after 5 years of desert dwelling. I love biking on top of frozen lakes then swimming in them 6 months later. I love watching families ride around on seal bikes and pedal bears then switch to Surreys in spring. I love the security of studded tires on ice and a good healthy snowpack before a hot dry summer. I love the committed community of cold weather cyclists that convene at Grease Rag Full Moon Rides, on frozen lakes, at marches, and in living rooms in the midst of this increasingly unstable global and political climate.

Casey6.pngNote to Justice Seekers in The Justice Shack, White Bear Lake, 2017

Info about The Art Shanty Projects: http://www.artshantyprojects.org/

Info about how climate change affects our communities: http://www.naacp.org/issues/environmental-justice/

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.

18 Feb
2017

0 Comments

Day 18 of Loving MN Winter 2017

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on February 18, 2017   comments 0

I #LoveMNWinter! Today, I love sundogs.

One of my favorite things about moving to a new region is learning things new to me that either didn't exist or weren't part of the culture where I lived before. 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.

One morning in January last year, it was -6F outside with a wind chill of -26F when I went to check the condition of my adopted site for the City of Minneapolis biking and walking winter maintenance conditions survey. 

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"Sundogs!" I shouted in excitement as I looked south of the Ford bridge. I finally saw sundogs!

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.

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