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.

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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!

08 Dec


WSS12- Bike Yoga with Amelia


on December 8, 2012   comments 0

Our 4th Annual Winter Skill Share started with group stretching, led by our friend Amelia.  Amelia works at the Hub Bike Co-op and is also a yoga instructor.  She is the head facilitator of the Grease Rag at the U of M Bike Center, which takes place on 2nd and 4th Thursdays.  She was kind enough to write down some tips and stretches for us.  If you enjoyed stretching with Amelia, you can take a class with her Mondays from 9-10:15 at Embodied Health, in St. Paul.

More recaps from our 4th Annual Winter Skill Share.

Ever feel your legs grow tight, your shoulders crunch up to your ears, or your hips get achy or tight? Do you have lower back pain or knots in your shoulders? 

If you are a human being who bikes in the winter the answer is probably yes.

Biking, like running and walking is a repetitive movement, and so the muscles that help your bike go forward get tighter and tighter because they are repeatedly extending and contracting. Add in how your muscles tighten in response to cold, quickly avoiding icy patches, and dodging traffic, and by the time winter cyclists get home from their daily commute, its not uncommon to feel like one big knot. This tightness can accumulate over time and cause chronic back pain, sciatica, and many other ailments you do not want.

You may be thinking, "Oh no! What will I do? I love biking in the winter!" Well, if you love your body and bikingyoga might be an answer for you (I admit, I'm a little biased-but it helps I swear). 

A few poses that I recommend for every cyclist

For Hips and Legs:
Pigeon (or sleeping pigeon on your back if your knees don't like it- my personal favorite)
Triangle pose
Side Angle Pose
Pyramid Pose

Downward dog is great for the legs and your upper body. 

If you're really tired just bring your legs up a wall and lay on your back, this is a gentle stretch for your legs and lower back and I've heard it can help drain lactic acid from your legs.

Also any shoulder stretches or poses to stretch your pectoral muscles (lots of back bends- bridge, wheel, even just passively laying over a block, books, a bolster or a folded up pillow and letting your shoulders drape off the sides). 

For your hands you can make fists and rotate your wrists, for your fingers you can make fists and energetically spread your fingers wide (think fists to jazz hands-like blinking headlights). To stretch your feet you can sit back on your heels with your shins on the floor and then tuck your toes under so all of the fascia in your foot gets stretched. You can also roll your foot over a tennis ball and give yourself a nice foot massage. 

Lastly, don't forget to BREATHE! It will help you release tension (and prevent the build up of tension in your muscles) as you bike. Focus on breathing all the way in to your belly. 

If you want to learn more in person you can come to my classes, Monday from 9-10:15 at Embodied Health

Be well, Ride Safe, Bike Fast, Have Fun.

More recaps from our 4th Annual Winter Skill Share.

07 Dec


4th Annual Winter Skill Share Recap


on December 7, 2012   comments 0

Another Successful Winter Skill Share- Thank you!

Thank you to everyone that attended Grease Rag's 4th Annual Skill Share! Big shout-outs to the YWCA on Lake Street for letting us use their magnificent classroom space again, and Claire, Christina, and Nicole for contributing and helping everything run smoothly. So appreciative of our presenters, Kat, Spanish, Janni, Cali, and Amelia for covering everything you need to know about winter biking.

Most of all, thank YOU for your attention and thoughtful questions. We hope you got all the information you need so you can feel comfortable to keep riding as winter arrives and the road conditions change. (Winter IS coming, right?) I hope to see many of the 30 of you that attended out there! Holla if you see me trundling by on my blue Lotus mixte!

Recap Posts

Our gracious presenters have put together write-ups related to their topics. If you weren't able to make it to the event this year, please read through these recaps, past posts (2009, 2010, 2011), and view our blog's "Winter Biking" tag.

Yoga for Cyclists: Amelia's Post
Bike Setups and Options, Including Lights and Fenders: Nicole's post on tires and gear from last year
Safety and Riding Tips: Kat's Post
Clothing: Carly's post from last year
Cleaning and Bike Maintenance: Cali's Post

Get to Know Your Presenters

Amelia works at the Hub Bike Co-op and is also a yoga instructor at Embodied Health, in St. Paul. She is the head facilitator of the Grease Rag at the U of M Bike Center, which takes place on 2nd and 4th Thursdays. Amelia is an excellent instructor, and is very knowlegeable about bikes and biker bodies!

Janni is a mechanic's apprentice at Recovery Bike Shop, where she is also the head facilitator at Grease Rag NE, which happens on 2nd Tuesdays of the month. Janni uses her knowledge to teach on a topic for the first 1/2-1 hour of the Grease Rag open shop, and the rest of the time is devoted to working on your projects. Janni is very patient and wonderful at answering all of your questions!

Kat works at Calhoun Cycles and is the head facilitator at Grease Rag Uptown, which takes place at Sunrise Cyclery on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Kat plays bike polo, and is a year-round cyclist biking through her fifth winter!

Spanish also works at the Hub and is a mechanic at the Grease Rag at SPOKES which takes place on the fourth Mondays of the month. She races cyclocross, likes to go fast, and has a wicked sense of humor!

Cali is the co-owner of Alley Cat Cycles in Loring Park, apprentice at Peacock Groove, and Bolder Options Bike Mentorship Youth Program Repair Shop Leader.  In addition to being a self-taught mechanic, she is an excellent instructor! 

Feedback, and Plans for Next Year

Read More

06 Dec


WSS12- Bike Maintenance & Cleaning with Cali


on December 6, 2012   comments 0

There's no doubt that Cali Jirsa did a STELLAR job during the Winter Skill Share talking about bike maintenance!  Read her recap, below.
Cali is the co-owner of Alley Cat Cycles in Loring Park, apprentice at Peacock Groove, and Bolder Options Bike Mentorship Youth Program Repair Shop Leader.  Please contact Cali if you are interested in volunteering at or learning more about Bolder Options: 
We're switching up our hours. Come by 12-6 Tuesday through Sunday (Closed on Mon). If you're thinking that gosh darn it those hours just don't work for you, we can stick around late, come in early, or even show up on a day off!! If you need parts, service, or want to customize a bike build, just call or email!
I like that.  =]

More recaps from our 4th Annual Winter Skill Share.

Winter Bike Maintenance & Cleaning


Hand Lotion – so you’re skin doesn’t absorb the grease
Simple Green Spray –For chain and frame
Simple Green Foaming Cleanser – for chainrings, and tough grime
Phil Tenacious Oil – for pivot points on brakes and derailleurs
Chain Lube – On cleaned chain, drip on, & wipe off excess
Steel Wool – super gritty!
Sand paper – Also super gritty!!
Anti-Seize – for pedals, seat post, stem
Adjustable wrench
Super Soap – Most awesome hand cleaner known to woman-kind

#1 Repair it! Read More

23 Nov


Bikes aid in DISASTER! situations


on November 23, 2012   comments 0

Grease Rag friend, Elly Blue, is asking for contributions to volume 9 of Taking the Lane Zine, with the theme of "DISASTER!"

I’m seeking your nonfiction submissions about the role of bicycles in preparing for, surviving, and responding to disasters … natural and otherwise. Nonfiction only, under 1,000 words. The initial deadline is coming up soon, on December 1st.

Rough drafts are okay. Questions and pitches welcome. Illustrations sought. Send submissions to elly at taking the lane dot com.

This is a very timely topic, not only because of the recent Hurricane Sandy, but because of predictions of the increased occurance and intensity of major storms as a result of climate change.  We all saw the images of long lines of cars in NJ and NY waiting, with police escorts, to fill up at gas stations that still had electrical power.  (Gas stations without electrical power had gas, but no way to distribute it.)  There are alternatives.

I started to do some web research on bicycles in disaster situations, but found that the relevant and thorough Bike Portland blog had it covered.  

Read More

22 Nov


"Rolling" by Transportation Alternatives


on November 22, 2012   comments 0

About this short film...

It's from Transportation Alternatives -- the number one advocate for New Yorkers who ride a bicycle, take public transit, or a need safe way to walk from A to B. For the past 40 years, Transportation Alternatives has been demanding (and winning) new bicycle lanes across the city. Now, it’s easier to bicycle than ever before.

The image that was most striking in this film was the young girl and her father, smiling and enjoying the separated/ buffered bike lane together.  I love PSAs with young female protagonists!

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