New Minneapolis blog, Girls Biking to Work, is becoming a favorite of mine. Written by Grease Rag friend Stephanie, the blog is thoughtful and practical about biking, and arriving looking fabulous. I wouldn't describe Girls Biking to Work as a "cycle chic" blog, because it's not just fulfilling another fashion stereotype of what a "pretty girl on a bike" should look like. I think Stephanie writes from a personal place, trying to suss out how fashion, feminism, and practicality fit into her bikey life.
Check out the article on Stephanie's bike! She gives a shout out to Grease Rag.
We all start somewhere.
ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: I learned how to ride a bike.
April 17, 2011.
Which really means: I learned how to fly.
I guess I should just admit: I'm really damn proud of myself and excited about how far I've come and how far I can still go.
Thanks to everyone who's helped me get here...
Eleonore learned how to ride a bicycle at a Learn to Bike event sponsored by Cycles for Change (C4C) and Seward Redesign. Now, she is a frequent Grease Rag participant and a bicycling machine! So proud!
I volunteered at a few of those events and, given my own journey learning how to ride, they were some of the most rewarding experiences I've had outside of Grease Rag. When was the last time you helped someone learn to fly?
Big thanks to Alleen at the Southwest Journal! She took an interest in the Grease Rag and after coming to an open shop night, we had the opportunity to gab about the 'Rag at Modern Times a few weeks ago. She turned our conversation into a lovely feature that is really positive, and features some of your voices. I love the perspective, I hope you'll give it a read.
Pass the Wrench by Alleen Brown
JJ Kahle’s been coming to Grease Rag since September. In February, she finished building her first bike. She said she likes that Grease Rag invites WTFs into the back of the bike shop, which tends to be a boy’s club, even in Minneapolis. “For some reason you’re treated like you don’t exist or like your somebody’s mom or somebody’s sister,” she said. “So I like that it de-centers that whole idea that you have to be kind of an alpha male in order to work on bikes.”
“Z,” a Sunrise salesperson and new frequenter of Grease Rag said in the past, she mostly rode with dudes. “I always, always, always had to prove that I could be one of the guys,” she said. “In this case, it doesn’t matter.”
You are a shining example of a cyclist. You care about your health, your safety on the road, and you care about your bike. Doesn't riding your bike feel great? Do you ever feel the urge to get other people to realize how awesome it is? Do you want to get more infrastructure in place because you believe it benefits us all?
How the heck do you go about doing all that?
Sam, over at Brown Girl in the Lane, wrote a great guide about being an advocate that does a great job of explaining the how and why she is speaking up and taking action.
Our first contributor to "Biking with Kidlets" is Dana DeMaster. She is a married mom with two kids: Quinn age 3.5, and Daphne age 5 months. Quinn rides a Strider and is learning to ride his Trek Jet 16. Dana rides Euterpe, a Trek 520 touring, Circe, a Masi Speciale Commuter, Green Betty, a 1952 Schwinn Corvette, and soon she'll be adding a Babboe City Bike to the fleet! They have two trailers - a beat up old Burley and a Schwinn. They live in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood of St. Paul.
Dana has experience biking with Quinn in a trailer, including riding in the winter, biking with cargo in utero, and will soon start Daphne in the trailer and their new cargo bike. Read what Dana has to say about time management, safety, and how "both mothers and bicyclists are expert creative and flexible problem solvers." (YES!) She would like to hear from other parents about how they bike with their families, especially parents with older children and single mothers. After you've read her post, if you have questions for Dana or if you have ideas for another topic for "Biking with Kidlets," please post in the comments section below.
April 2009. Quinn's First Bike Ride, 6 months old.
When people ask me about biking with children they always have the same concerns. What about safety? Am I not afraid of traffic? What about cold/hot/rainy weather? My kid didn’t like the trailer; how did you get Quinn to go for it? While these are considerations, they are not what I would tell bike-curious mamas about. The biggest obstacle to biking with children is time, but the greatest solutions to that problem are something that both mothers and bicyclists have to have – flexibility and creative problem solving.
This has been said before and, at the risk of sounding paternalistic, no one can even fathom what it is like to have children until you have them. Seriously. I had lots of opinions about parenting and then I became a parent and I realized it is a lot more complicated. One of the many things I couldn’t comprehend is how time is different. Running errands between naps. Getting to day care before work with a child that needs time to transition. Motivating a person with no sense of time to fit into a busy schedule. Dressing another person who inevitably requires a diaper change after winter boots, hats, coat, and so on and the bike and trailer are ready to go. Everything just takes longer and there is more to do.