Check this out, Grease Rag!
9 years ago, Alisa Hoven, Betsy Popelka Massnick, and Sarah Broich rode their bicycles from Minnesota to New Orleans. And then they wrote a book about it!
Generously, they have decided to donate all their profits from their book (available here) to Grease Rag to support FTW bike tours. How rad is that?!
In the fall of 2008, Sarah, Betsy and Alisa packed up their bicycles and rode the length of the Mississippi River--from the headwaters in Minnesota to New Orleans, about 2,300 miles. It took them two months, they took their time, they lingered and listened to the river along the way. They gathered stories of life along the river, visited farms and cities and small towns and flooded out fields. They were curious about life along the river, and with the stories and people they met, they put together a book. A travelogue, of sorts, with short stories, poems, rants and their most humble sketches of their (mis)adventures. The book is titled It's Not all Downhill--which they self published and put together as three writers the year after they returned from the trip. In an effort to share their experiences, they've sold books here and there, and gave many away to folks they met along the river--but almost 10 years later--they are ready to donate the profit they've made from the book sales to Grease Rag!
Why Grease Rag?! Because we love FTW spaces! One of the most common occurring, infuriating comments we received along the trip was this: "Why don't you have any men with you?! You're not safe alone out here." It was a daily struggle to validate ourselves and claim the space we needed to have this experience, as folks who identify as women, without men protecting and guiding us. We are safe, brilliant, brave and powerful and we challenged a lot of folks who were socialized to believe we needed a male presence on this trip. We reflected on this--and appreciated the fem-space we created; a supportive learning environment in navigating the route and fixing our bikes, we made decisions collectively as to our pace and rhythm and our goals, we leaned into each other's strengths and challenged each other to grow where we needed to. We weren't afraid to say "I don't know" or "I need help." We believe this kind of environment is critical and special and magical--and it is often challenged within the patriarchal system--so to make space and hold it--that is what made our trip what it was. And that is why we want to support Grease Rag! We want to support the magic that happens when we come together and hold space--and get a little grease under our finger nails, take a new route and take risks together. We are happy to donate and support Grease Rag!