bikes bikes bikes! Love to ride, love to learn. So happy to be part of the Grease Rag world!

09 Jun


Grease Rag NE is TONIGHT, June 9th!


Calling all Women, Trans & Femme folks,

Your GRNE Co-Facilitators would love to see you at Grease Rag NE tonight! 

Stop over to our host & sponsor Recovery Bike Shop (2504 Central Ave NE) at 7pm for our discussion & open shop night. Today we'll talk about looking for signs that you need new tires. Come by to learn what to watch for in tire wear & tear to head flats off at the pass, & gain insight on what makes certain tires cost double their counterparts. Open Shop starts at 730p, so bring in your bike and let's start cranking.

Oh, and you know there will be coffee. Hopefully treats too; feel free to bring some by.

Hope to see you soon!


I like bikes.

03 Feb


Day 3 #lovemnwinter 2016


Day 3 #lovemnwinter 2016

I #lovemnwinter! Today, I love early mornings.

I'm an early riser. Maybe you can't take the farm out of the farm girl... I'm a high school teacher, and the students begin arriving as early as 7:00. Since I have to change from biking gear to school teacher get-up, and I like to have my day well organized as part of my daily practice, I leave home around 6 am, and bike my half hour ride in the quiet solitude of the morning.

There's something magical about the dark. The crunch of ice and snow under my studded tires. The slap of cold that makes my eyes water as I pick up speed to the first major intersection. Traffic is light, and I ride the first 15 minutes on city streets. My body warms, I settle in, and then I drift down to the Stone Arch Bridge, and the rest of my commute is on trails. 

I see my fellow early risers on my way. Cordelia (mother of one of my students) gives me a low 5 as I wish her "Buenos días!" The nice condo dweller with the large poodle is always cordial. As I pass the commuter train on the trail, I spy the human in the khaki parka, sleeping in the train window--just like always. Then it's under the stadium and out past the buildings. Magical thinking time. I run through conversations that I've had, or that I'd like to have. I think about my partner, my children, my siblings. Maybe a song niggles its way into my thoughts.

I love the peace and quiet of early winter morning. I love the swoosh of my wind pants, the rhythm of my cadence, the distant chattering of birds in a parking garage. I love that I get to have my thoughts and to really concentrate on my day. I'm so grateful to breathe fresh air, have a sip of brisk water upon my arrival to school, air-chilled from the ride. I sit on the same bench every morning, and I'm grateful for being here, grateful for the air and water, for my healthy body powering my commute to school, and I'm ready to start my day.


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


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15 Nov


2017 WSS: Self-Care Write Up!


The 2017 Winter Skill Share was a smashing success, with over 60 participants coming to learn and share with awesome local femme, transgender, and women cyclists. Presenters covered a wide range of topics, including self care! Grease Rag participant Joanne did an incredible write up of self-care, which I've posted below. I have also included a link to the handout that Ali included with their presentation here


Thank you both!



FTW-Style Self Care

Self care can be equally as important as mechanical maintenance when it comes to biking. To preface the session Lo reminded us "not to let shame or bad feelings get in the way" and that sometimes, when the weather is just too cold or you are feeling too tired,  the best thing to do might be to "give yourselfpermission to take the bus".  


Biking can make you feel good, but a holistic self care strategy is crucial sustaining your own emotional and physical health, which feedback into one another. Lo suggests using physical movement (move your body, get those endorphins pumping!), outdoor experiences (Vitamin D!), getting together with friends, and attending Grease Rag events. These experiences can in turn promote emotional health, your feeling of belonging in a group, framing your own experience in a larger context, and maybe even a little "tree therapy" will pull you out of that winter time slump that kept you in bed in the first place.



Next Lo explored more ways to take care of your body both inside and out. Evening or morning stretching and movements throughout the day will prevent soreness and give you a moment for reflection to check in with your emotional health. You can do some of these favorite stretches, or try following a simple YouTube stretching sequence.


Machine generated alternative text: Standing stretch Quad bend Butterfly


What's On the Body

Your living and working environment can effect your physical and emotional health too. When biking in cold weather, temperature regulation is crucial. Staying hydrated and dressing in layers can help prevent both over and underdressing. Also pay attention for open windows and cold air leakages in your own home, and invest in a humidifier if you are prone to dry and creaky joints.


Need a little more body care? Try soaking your feet or entire body in Epson salts (mix a few drops of essential oil for added aromatherapy benefits), and rubbing balms and oils on dry weathered skin. Aly suggests using Coconut, Almond, or Olive oil (good for those with nut/seed allergies) combined with essential oils to make your own balm using this simple recipe:


Basic Body Balm

.2 oz beeswax

1 oz coconut oil

1 oz almond oil

12-24 drops essential oil (optional)


Heat the beeswax in a double boiler over low heat, When the wax is melted, mix in oil, mix until uniform, remove from heat and add essential oil. Transfer balm to a clean sealable container.


Not sure what oils to use? Aly suggests these ones:


  • Eucalyptus - cool and refreshing, it stimulates the immune system, acts as a decongestant, anti-inflammatory, and relaxes the muscles.

  • Rosemary - invigorating, it improves circulation, relaxes muscles soothes joint pain and calms headaches.

  • Citrus (lemon, orange, grapefruit) - cheerful, energizing and uplifting.

  • Lemongrass - uplifting and muscle soothing

  • Mint - stimulating and uplifting, it helps with breathing, soothing headaches and muscles.

  • Clove & Ginger -  spicy and warming, it improves circulation, soothes joins and pains.


What's In the Body

What you eat affects how you feel, and in colder weather it is important to consume warming foods (use spices like tumeric, cumin, and chilli) and fueling fats (butter, oils, fish, seeds and nuts). It may be helpful to also take supplements like Vitamin D and magnesium (found in leafy dark greens, dairy and fish) or other minerals if you still flee sluggish. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietician to figure out what would be helpful for you. Aly shared her recipe for Chicken Ginger Soup as a warming mean that is good for fighting off the cold and viruses.


Ginger Chicken Soup

  • 1 oz dried shitake mushrooms

  • 3 cups boiling water

  • 1 lbs chicken

  • 1 inch piece grated ginger

  • 2 minced garlic cloves

  • I head chopped bok choy

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • Cayenne pepper to taste

  • 2-3 chopped green onions


Pre soak mushrooms (follow package directions). Add everything except green onions in a pot, bring to boil and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. If using pre cooked chicken or meat alternative - substitute vegetable/chicken stock for water. Garnish with green onions.


How do you self care?

Other Grease Rag people shared their own self care tactics like scheduling regular dinner date appointments with friends, planning outings in advance to hold yourself accountable to showing up, going to the gym or library, opening your blinds early each morning to let the sun light in or investing in artificial sun lamps, going on walks outside, playing with kids, surrounding yourself with bright colors and comfy fabrics, practicing yoga, getting body work done (i.e. massage, reiki, or acupuncture), and prioritizing your own mental health. Try out some of these awesome FTW-owned resources:


Am'l K & Kim at Constellation

Zum bars from Indigo Wild

Mizashima at the People's Movement Center

Sarah at Village Healing Arts


14 Feb


Day 14 of Loving MN Winter


I #LoveMNWinter. Today, I love persistence.

By Kadence Hampton

Picture of author with beloved bicycle, Dale, set against snow

As a year-round bike commuter and winner of Babes in Bikeland 10 short course, I want to share with you my not-so-special-secret for How to Be a Bike Babe Badass, so that you, too, will become the Bike Babe Badass That You’ve Always Wanted to Be. First Action: Acquire Bike, Any Bike. Second Action: Show Up - Anywhere, Everywhere. Final Action: Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. And that’s it – you don’t need the best bike equipment, although it’s nice to treat yourself; you don’t need to be brave, fast, or fearless in all of your bike-related endeavors – all you need to be bestowed your Bike Babe Badass badge is persistence.

If this process seems like an absurd oversimplification, you’re right, but it’s also how I became the winter and bike racing enthusiast that I never thought – or intended – to be. My journey begins in my hometown of Austin after winning a road bike in a game of black jack nearly seven years ago. Only after I moved to Minneapolis (and sold my car) in 2012 did I muster up enough confidence to be a fair-weather bike commuter. Still an inexperienced cyclist and intimidated by winter, I never even considered winter bike commuting as a possible, much less wise, course of action during my first three winters in Minnesota – until I found myself participating in cyclocross racing events in 2015.

First known picture of author participating in a cyclocross event

Wait, what? Yeah. I still find myself wondering what happened. As a person whom considers themselves a quiet, timid, risk averse, unathletic academic for whom trying new endeavors, especially Any and All Remotely Athletic Activities, requires ample external encouragement and several attempts, seeking out off-road and fast-paced riding opportunities has taken me by surprise. But something happened in 2014 that sparked a curiosity and desire to Try Something New. After watching my partner race (and petting lots and lots of dogs) at Green Acres, one of the state’s premier cyclocross race weekend events, my partner inspired me participate in That Thing Looks Fun: all I needed was a bike and a desire to start. 

Equipped with a bike and a desire to start, it took me almost a full year to build my confidence before finally participating in any cx-related activities. I nearly backed out of my first “race,” the All-City Championship bandit cx, due to a suffocating lack of self-confidence on a bike, but was encouraged by complete strangers to at least start. That was my first introduction to DFL > DNF > DFS, which translates into Dead F!@king Last is better than Did Not Finish which is still better than Did Not Start. It was the Hardest Thing I Had Ever Done.

The next chance I got to participate was at a beginner’s race as part of the Wednesday Night Cross (#WNCX) series. The following week, I threw up in my mouth before pulling off the course on my last lap. It was also the Hardest Thing I Had Ever Done, and it hated it. I was nearly convinced that the sufferfest that is cx wasn’t for me, but again there were those who encouraged me to keep participating; I would not have stuck around the cx community if not for the support of the Freewheel Bike cx club and members of the All-City X Fulton team among countless other folks.

Author smiling while shouldering bike up a sandpit during a cyclocross race.It took me four solid attempts before Something Clicked and I felt like I had broken through my biggest mental barriers. As it turns out, Cx Is Fun, and You Learn Stuff, too. Having the opportunity to test the waters by riding through mud, sand, dirt, gravel, dry grass, wet grass, beer and occasional donut handups in an auto-free environment surrounded by a supportive community was paramount to building enough confidence in my bike handling skills to try winter bike commuting.

Last year, this Texas transplant found a love in winter bike commuting that did not melt with the arrival of spring or evaporate on enjoyable hot summer days as I found myself craving the challenges presented by snow, ice, cold, and darkness long before this past winter solstice. It’s a weird feeling to me to crave winter, and an even weirder feeling to crave a physical challenge beyond the utilitarianism of bike commuting. In 2016, I participated in Riotgrrravel, took the track class at the velodrome, and raced (as opposed to just participating in) my first alleycat, the Koochella Classic, and came in 6th WTF!

But Babes in Bikeland was the ultimate test. Fueled only by fried State Fair food on zero hours of sleep due to a traumatizing ordeal involving online harassment and doxxing from Some Random, But Also Some Known People in the Ill-Defined Twin Cities Bike Community, the person I surprised the most when I came in first for short course was myself because I almost #DNS that day. I had just enough time to reach the race start until I became stranded at the fairgrounds post-volunteer shift with a flat tire and fading determination. I walked myself and my bike as close to MPLS as I could before the weight of not sleeping and feeling unsafe pushed me into the ground outside a gas station where I sat down, and cried. At a quarter to 4 p.m., I was rescued by the world's best partner with a hug, a ride, and a spare tube. Needing to Feel Something, Anything Else Other Than This Crushing Weight, my singular goal was to simply finish the BIBLX course. I did that, and more.

I won BIBLX not because I am Relatively Fast Compared to Those Who Are DFL But Especially Faster Than Those Who DNS, nor did I win the short course due to routing skills alone - I won BIBLX because I am persistent. This weathered persistence, cultivated with each desire to show up, exercised with every attempt on my bike, reinforced by the support of a community, is what kept me going through the emotionally exhausting days and moments leading up to BIBLX when I almost Could Not Even.

I’ve already achieved my 2017 Hardest Thing I Have Ever Done with what was also my first fat bike race, and then crossed it out and replaced it with the Dumbest Routing Mistake I Have Ever Made racing my first Speed Stupor Bowl, followed by That Was Truly the Hardest Race I’ve Ever Almost Quit a Dozen Times at the Loppet fat tire race

So, I encourage each and every one of y’all to find what fuels your desire and need to be persistent, and to let that persistence permeate all areas of your life. You already have so many tools, so what things will you show up to in 2017? Challenge yourself, but also be patient and kind to yourself and others.

Just remember: Be persistent. And if you want to get more involved with the racing community, join me and my team, @allcityxfulton on our community rides starting in April or check out Minnesota Cycling Federation on Facebook for training, ride, race, and clinic opportunities. 

Animated GIF of author as cat wearing cycling cap with #purrsistence

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.

Winter Biking, #lovemnwinter

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Kat is a GR facilitator at Sunrise, the Uptown location. Her favorite thing about open shop is meeting all the fabulous, motivated people who attend Grease Rag events.

15 Feb


Day 15 of Loving Winter 2016


I #lovemnwinter! Today, I love first tracks.


First Tracks

Imagine a fresh snow fall.
Imagine the flakes slowly filling in all the cracks in the sidewalk.
Imagine the fluff blanketing the roads, wrapping them snugly in a white sheet.
As it accumulates, imagine every blemish covered.
Everything is smooth, even, and calm. Everything is quite.
No critters or commuters to disturb the pristine dusting.
Except you. Except your tires cutting through the snow.  
A simple tire track pressed in to the white.
Evidence of one lone rider.
Just you and your bike. 

First Tracks



Kathleen Ryan

Kathleen migrated west to Denver via Mpls/Cleveland. She is interested in biking related topics and people...among many other things.

27 Feb


Day 27 of Loving Winter 2015


I don't know aobut you but winter saps my both of so much and I find I need to replenish my mind, body and soul more often. Below are a few things I found that really help & maybe you'll enjoy too! 

Replenish the mind

My mind often is checking off a bunch of to do lists and creating others; thinking, sorting, etc. And like every good mind it deserves a rest too. To do this I just BREATHE. Whenever I think about it, I take a few momentBy simply taking time to focus on the breath and nothing else it slows down my mind and body and replenishes the soul. What's nice is that you can do it anywhere and no one is the wiser! s to reset. A deep breath in, pause, deep full breath out. Repeat at lest three times. I have post its at work and home that just say breathe. It is such an easy tool yet so easy to forget to be mindful of the breath. 

Replenish the body

While I love winter my skin kind of hates it. My face gets crazy dry and chaffed from skiing and biking. I have found an awesome tool that works so well: Worker B balm, made in Minneapolis. This stuff is amazing. I put it on my face before getting on my bike or the slopes and it really does wonders to protect my skin. It is also great on hands, elbows, etc. whatever needs some added mositure. 

I also make this awesome sugar scrub. It is so easy. I use this Whole Foods recipe as a general guideline and add whatever essential oils I am needing in my life at that time. 

When things get really rough (literally) I also use Bag Balm out of Vermont to help seal in moisture and help my skin repair. 

Replenish the soul

Biking is cathartic but it can also suck my soul sometimes. I'm tired. This hill is big. My butt hurts. Am I almost there? It isn't always sinshine and lollipops. However,I find that yoga benefits my mind, body and soul. There is an awesome studio here in Denver called Container Collective, Brittany, a fellow cyclist put together this 12 min sequence that is geared towards release after biking. Check it out and if you’re ever in Denver see about taking a class!

There is also this awesome zine: Pedal, Stretch, Breathe The Yoga of Bicycling that I love to refer to and is only $5!

All in all, I have found this stuff beneficial to reset. I hope you enjoy.

Happy cycling & living!




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

#lovemnwinter, lovemnwinter


I live in Minneapolis, and I ride to work, I ride to play, and I ride my bike everyday that I can. I've been attending Grease Rag since July, 2009, and I'm happy to be a part of this positive group of WTF cyclists.

03 Jul


2018 FTW Bike Camping Retreat


Grease Rag is all about community. Gathering together is a sacred act of power and love. And on the full moon, too. What could be more magical?


Grease Rag Group Camp August 25-26, 2018

Deadline to register: August 14

Mandatory planning meeting: August 17

Every year we host multiple bike camping trips. We try to do a lot, so you have to worry very little. We want our trips to be accessible to as many FTWs as possible! Inspired by NINE YEARS of successful camping trips, we wanted to host an FTW-only group camping retreat!

Low barriers!

Don't want to/can't bike? We are arranging a vehicle to get you to the camp site. Don't want to/can't pay $20? It is a sliding scale of $0-$20 fee. BIPOC camp FREE! Don't feel confident about your ability? You can do this! (Go on one of our  Our route is mostly flat, mostly on trails, at a casual pace, and we will have mechanical support on the ride. Don't have all the gear you need? We will hook you up with borrowed gear! Our community is mighty, and will provide us with everything we need.


We will have a few ice breakers and casual get to know you activities before and after the ride. There will be games at camp, and nothing is more fun than being in the company of Grease Rag Friends! We will be taking care of the main meal and route planning and transporting gear so you all can focus on FUN!

Safer spaces!

We will have a quiet area of camp, designated people to help deescalate conflict, a safer spaces policy, and name tags with pronouns if people choose to share them. Any concerns or ideas on how we could make this a safer space? Hit us up!


Our goal for this trip is all of the things above, and to get to know each other better. We have space for 35 people on this trip. Not saying that I guarantee you'll meet a bff or anything... but the chances are good that you'll meet some rad FTWs you click with. Let's all be open to the experience of meeting new friends!


Details about the trip

FTW-only! (If you are cis male and benefit from cis male privilege, you are not welcome on this trip.)

Reserve your spot

Femme/Trans/Women: Let's throw all of our camping gear into some vehicles, and take a chill ride from Powderhorn Park to Carver Park, 22 miles away. This trip is beginner friendly, and you don't even have to camp/bike! Don't have camping gear? No problem.

Sign up here until August 14 If you do not sign up, you are not able to join us- space is limited! We will send out an email on August 16 to hook people up with gear, etc. Can't wait to camp with you all!

Meet up

Saturday, August 25, 12pm. Meet at Powderhorn Park, near the corner of 10th Ave S and E 34 1/2 St. Please arrive before 12:30. At the park we will have a welcome activity, and some stretches to warm us up. Roll out is 1p.

The ride

The ride is almost all on trails, and mostly very flat. There will be multiple ride leaders, mechanical support, and 35 of us riding together. This will be a great experience!

To get us to our campsite we will bike out on the Greenway, to Hopkins, where will will take our first break at Depot Coffee House. We will continue through Hopkins to the SW LRT trail to Excelsior, where we will stop. There is a brewery and a grocery store. We will continue on the trail until we reach our campsite.


Zumbra 2: Capacity 35 people/5 vehicles
  • central fire pit
  • fishing access on Lake Zumbra (a short walk from the sites)
  • 20’ X 30’ stone barn shelter
  • water pump
  • picnic tables
  • pit latrines
  • fire ring



We will be providing some meal basics (vegan, halal, rice and lentils), but you are responsible for bringing your own snacks and we welcome you to contribute to the dinner/dessert meal! We will be having a "salad bar" where we provide some lettuce, and you all can bring a protein, dressing, veggie... whatever you like! We will have a basic breakfast (granola and fruit) in the morning, with an optional brunch spot on the ride back. Please bring your own plate, bowl, napkin, fork, knife, spoon, mug, cup. We will not be providing these things unless you specifically reach out.


This is a sliding scale cost trip, with a suggested donation of $20. If you are not able or unwilling to donate, Grease Rag funds will be used to cover the cost of your spot! We want all FTWs to camp with us! We are able to have 35 people on the site. Please consider donating to cover the cost of someone who might not be able to pay! Thank you!

Email questions to greaseragmpls at with the subject "Grease Rag Camping Retreat."

Camping/ Touring

Maery Rose

I live in Anoka and work in NE Minneapolis. I commute to work by train and bike whenever I can. I recently got a fat bike and am having a blast on it. In 2015, I hope to do my first bicycle tour and I want to learn from Grease Rag how to handle emergency bike repairs and regular maintenance. Because I’m in my late fifties, bicycling for me is about continuing to stay active and living with the childlike joy that bicycling brings to my life.

16 Feb


Day 16 of Loving Winter 2015


Day 16 of Loving Winter 2015

I #lovemnwinter! Today, I love the challenge of learning new winter skills  

snow wonder

As I begin this post about what I love about Minnesota winters, it’s 5 degrees fahrenheit outside, with a real feel of -13, thanks to wind gusts of up to 32 mph.

Hmmm… what was I saying about Minnesota winters?

Oh yeah, how much I love them!

I do love Minnesota winter fashion, with all its layers. I especially love tights with funky patterns and that fuzzily warm feeling. Winter clothes are cozy and comforting and forgiving.

winter hat and balaclava

Plus snow. I love lots and lots of snow! To keep from going insane during a Minnesota winter, it helps to have an attitude of making the best of it, which for me has meant learning how to cross county ski. I even tried skijoring but my dog, Java, didn’t quite grasp the concept of staying in front of me.

skijoring backwards

Horses are fun to ride after a fresh dump of the white stuff. It’s like moving in slow motion while bouncing on a trampoline.

horseback riding in fresh snow

This year, I was hoping to add fat biking through the snow to the mix.

fat biking

Instead, I’m trying to figure out how to afford studded tires because what we have this year is ice. When it’s your first winter of bike riding, that makes for a steeper learning curve than what I was prepared for.

bicycling on ice

So it’s been a bit of hit and miss on my outdoor adventures. I’ve gotten out a few times, but not as much as I had hoped for. I’m looking at this as a learning experience and hope to be better prepared next winter for icy conditions. But then, next year, there will probably be a ton of snow.

So maybe that’s what I really love about our winters, is what a sense of humor the Minnesota Snow Queen has.

bicycling along Mississippi River

Read about this collaborative challenge to love one thing about winter every day in February, and post about it on this blog. Tweet your own loves: #lovemnwinter @greaseragmpls, or check out last year's #lovemnwinter posts.

Cross posted on

Winter Biking, #lovemnwinter, lovemnwinter