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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08 Oct


10th Annual Winter Skill Share!


Raindrops are falling now..but soon it will be snowflakes! Make sure you’re ready for the winter by joining us for the 10th Annual Winter Skill Share!

At the Winter Skill Share participants can join in for sessions to learn from and with other femme, transgender, nonbinary, two-spirit, and women cyclists. We will be covering topics such as self-care, choosing a route, handling your bike in wintry weather, and more! Grab a snack and a raffle ticket for a chance to win some goodies, and stick around for the gear swap to snag some new-to-you winter gear. This event is beginner and newbie friendly - come with questions and leave feeling confident!

This event is FREE and open to all FTW (femme, trans nonbinary, two-spirit and women) riders!  If you are a cis man who benefits from cis-male privilege, please respect this space and do not attend this event.


Find the event on Facebook here for ongoing updates and more information!


You are welcome to come and go as you please. Here is a tentative schedule for the day:




10:30 - 11am: Sign In and Snacks


11am: Welcome and small group go-arounds


11:30am - 12:30pm Session 1 (one hour):

Room 1: Bike Maintenance and Bike Set-Up Options

Room 2: Self-Care


12:30pm: BYO Lunch, quick post lunch stretch


1:15 - 2:15pm Session 2 (one hour):

Room 1: Safety, Handling and Routing

Room 2: What to Wear


2:15 - 3:30pm:

Panel Q&A and Community Announcements


3:30 - 4:00pm:


Gear Swap

After spending the day learning about the joys of winter biking, you’ll have the chance to score some new and gently used gear to get you where you need to be! The gear swap will include some wonderful items created at our craft event as well as gear and clothing donated by our generous community members. Clear out your closet and bring winter clothing, gear, bike stuff in good condition to share with other femme, transgender, and women cyclists. Nothing to donate? No problem! The Gear Swap is free and everyone is welcome to participate, even if you don't bring anything to swap. Anything leftover will be donated.


The Winter Skill Share is an annual event that centers the voices and experiences of femme, transgender, and women cyclists. It’s a friendly and supportive space where we share our wisdom and perspective, give away small prizes, swap gear, and inspire each other as we head into the winter biking season. But it’s only possible with the help of volunteers like YOU!


We need day-of volunteers to help set-up, greet participants, time sessions, and more! It’s a fun and easy way to help out our incredible FTW community, and make some new friends along the way. Interested? Sign up here!



This year we are asking participants to bring a non-perishable food item. We will be donating these items to Face to Face and the Franklin Hiawatha Encampment (also known as The Wall of Forgotten Natives) to support people experiencing homelessness and hunger. For more specific asks, check this list for Face to Face and this list for the Franklin Hiawatha encampment.

See ya soon!

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.

10 Sep


Introduction to Cyclocross Racing


Introduction to Cyclocross for femme/trans/women

Hosted by Atsuko Fukushi of TacoCat Racing


Cyclocross racing is a fun type of off-road bike race, typically happening in the autumn months. There are official and underground races, but figuring out how to get into the sport can be confusing. This skillshare covered the different types of races, how to find out about them, how to prepare for them, and what to expect on race day.

What is cyclocross?

  • Cyclocross (often abbreviated to “cross” or “cx”) is a circuit race, meaning you do multiple laps, on non-paved terrain. Laps are usually around a mile long and can consist of grass, gravel, mud and sand. There are natural and human-made barriers that may require you to get off your bike and run, such as stairs, sand pits, stream crossings, hairpin turns, and barriers to jump over. It can be a contact sport, with riders jockying for position on the course. Throughout a race, there are many changes of speed and direction.

  • Terms to know:

    • “off camber”: riding across a hill, rather than straight up or down. This can be tricky especially in wet conditions.

    • “Getting lapped”: Sometimes, slower riders will get passed by the leader of the race, who has essentially ridden one lap further and is coming up on the back of the field to pass.  The leader should give a verbal cue that they are passing, but it is up to the rider who is being passed to decide when it is safe for them to move over to let the lead rider pass.

    • “Heckling”: is when spectators jokingly taunt racers during their race.  Rather than cheering encouraging words, heckling is often yelling insults to encourage riders to go faster. Heckling is part of the cross culture - but spectators should only be heckling people they know. If someone is rude to you, don’t hesitate to tell them to shut up.

    • “Handups”: When spectators hold out beverages (sometimes alcoholic) or food for racers to grab and drink/eat during the race. These are technically not allowed in sanctioned races and you may be disqualified if you are caught taking a hand-up.

    • “Barriers”: Wooden structures typically 16” high that are spread out the full width of the course. Typically there are 1-2 sections of barriers in every race.  Most racers, especially beginners, will need to dismount their bikes, lift their bikes up, and leap over the barrier, before getting back on their bike and continuing the ride.Barriers.jpg


    • “Skinsuit”: A one-piece garment designed for bike racing. These are preferred by many racers because there is less loose clothing to snag on the bike during a race. They typically have a chamois (pronounced “shammy”) in the crotch. A skinsuit is not required for racing.

    • “Pre-ride”: Checking out the course before your race starts.  You can either walk or ride around the exterior of the course while other races are happening, or you can ride on the course when there are no races happening.  This allows you to get a feel for how to approach technical sections.

    • “catting up”: during a sanctioned race, riders are awarded points based on finishing place. A rider must accumulate a certain number of points from multiple races before being eligible to upgrade their race category. All beginners start as a category 5. As they increase their skills and start placing well during races, they will “cat up” to a category 4 and so on. Category 1 races is the highest level of the sport, where athletes typically travel across the country and world to compete against other elite athletes.

    • “Embro”: short for embrocation, a type of skin salve that helps the skin feel warmer in cold weather. Some racers prefer to add this gel-like barrier to their skin instead of wearing extra layers of clothing. A cautionary warning - this only gives the body the illusion of feeling warm, you will still need to dress properly once your race is over.

  • Sanctioned vs unsanctioned: Sanctioned races are the official races with the seal of approval of USA Cycling.  They require each racer to obtain a license to race. You can either purchase a seasonal license for $75 or a one-day license for $10. Sanctioned races require a registration fee (usually around $30) because they are staffed by race officials, the events carry insurance, there is usually medical staff on hand, you can earn “upgrade points” if you place high enough in the rankings, and there is often prizes or cash to win. Unsanctioned races are not approved by any governing body, they are often free, casual, and just for funSwitchback.png.


How do I find out about events?

  • USAC and MCF websites: USAC website lists all sanctioned bike races in the US. This is where you purchase your annual license, pre-register for races, and find races in your area.  The Minnesota Cycling Federation website is for the Minnesota chapter of USAC. This will only list races happening in Minnesota.

  • How do I register, online or day-of: Sometimes you can save money and time by pre-registering for races before the day-of. This is often non-refundable, so I only register for races that I know I will go to for sure. You can register the same day as the race. Be sure to arrive with plenty of time before your race starts, as there are often long lines.

  • What race do I choose: If you have never raced a sanctioned cyclocross race before, you will be in the Women’s Category 5 race. This is for beginners, and races are usually 30 minutes.  If you weigh 160 pounds or more, you can enter the Athena category, which races at the same time as the Women’s Category 5 race, but has separate scoring and podiums. Once you have done 10 races or have placed high enough in the category 5, you may be eligible to “upgrade” to category 4.  *USAC does not currently use language that includes non-binary or transgender individuals. I don't have experience navigating this, but my gut says to just go ahead and register under the category that you would prefer to race in. If you want support doing this, please let me (Kat McCarthy) know.

  • How do I read this race flier?: Once you find an event, view the Race Flyer. This has all the information for the race including location, cost, time of races, prize money, and how to register. Look for your category listed to see when the start time of your race is.  Your category may have multiple options. For example: a Category 4 woman can race in the 45 minute Women’s 3 / 4 race at 9:46am or in the 30 minute Women’s 4 / 5 race at 2:25pm. You can choose to race one or both of those races. Multiple races can be happening at the same time, but will be scored separately.

How do I prepare?

What do I wear?: Since cyclocross if a fall sport, what you wear will change as the season gets cooler. You will want to wear clothes that are comfortable for biking. Most people wear some sort of padded short because the courses are often bumpy and you will be jumping on and off your bike many times during a race. Some folks wear a “skinsuit” which is a one piece lycra racing uniform. These are quite expensive and are not required, but folks like them because they are very tight fitting with no opportunity for clothing to get snagged while mounting/discounting. If it’s cold, you may consider wearing arm-warmers and leg-warmers. Some people use “embrocation / embro” (defined above), in lieu of wearing extra layers. Gloves that allow free range of movement and dexterity are recommended for retaining the ability to shift and brake efficiently. It’s recommended to bring a few changes of clothes: a set of warm cycling clothes to wear during your pre-ride warm up, your racing outfit/”kit”, and a set of warm and dry street clothes to wear after your race.

What kind of bike can I ride?: A cyclocross specific bike looks like a road bike but has clearance to fit wider, knobby tires. It is legal to race mountain bikes in local cyclocross races.


Where do I go to buy a cx bike?: If you want to buy a used bike, there is a buy/sell/trade group on Facebook for women/trans/femmes in the Twin Cities.  Lots of local bike shops carry new cyclocross specific bikes.

What to bring to a race?: The three changes of clothes outlined earlier (pre-ride warm up clothes, race outfit, and dry street clothes for post-race). You will also want to pack your helmet, bike specific shoes, snacks, water bottles, checkbook or cash if you are registering day-of.  There are usually basic bike repair facilities on-site, and basic first aid supplies handy.

What happens on race day? During the race?

How early should I get there?: To have plenty of time, look at the race flyer to determine the start time of your race, and work backwards.  You will want to have time to pre-ride the course before the start of your race, so look at the start time of the race that happens immediately before your race. You will want to pre-ride the course before that race starts. For example, if you are racing the Women’s 4 / 5 race at 2:25, the race before yours starts at 1:20. You will want to be ready to pre-ride between 1:00 - 1:20.

Getting numbers, chips, etc: If you pre-register, you still have to check in when you arrive to get your race number and timing chip.  Volunteers should tell you which side of your back your number should be pinned to. Typically the timing chip is strapped to your left ankle.

Warm-up routine: The course is “open” for pre-rides when there are no races in progress.  Typically, there will be a sign near the start/finish line that will say “Open” or “Closed”.  When in doubt, ask a race official (khaki pants and baby blue polo) or listen to the announcer for cues. If you are wearing a chip timer during your pre-ride, do not ride across the start/finish line, even if no races are in progress. Ride one full lap of the course slowly so you can take in all it’s features and get a sense of where the hard parts are.  If time allows, practice riding or running through the challenging areas and make note of how you want to execute it during the race. While other races are happening, walk along the outside of the course to watch other races to see how they handle each section.


When to be at the start?: You will want to start heading to the start area of the race about 15 minutes before your race time.  The officials need you there early to give instructions and get everyone lined up. They don’t wait for stragglers, so be there early!

How the lap counter works, bell lap: During the first lap, officials will time how long it takes the leader of the race to complete one lap. Then, they calculate how many laps can happen within the race time. Typically for a 30 minute race, you will do 2-4 laps. At the start/finish line, there will be numbered cards showing how many laps remain.  When you hear a bell, that means it is the last lap for everyone in the race. If you get passed by the leader of the race (“getting lapped”), you will finish on the same lap.

What’s the etiquette when I pass someone?: When you are coming up behind a rider that you would like to pass, call out to them that you would like to pass when they have a chance to move over. They may need to wait for a clear opening before it is safe for them to move over.  Thank them when you pass.

What’s with people yelling rude things at me and handing me food / beer?: See “heckling” and “handups” defined earlier.

What do I do when I’m done? The race officials will tell you when your race is over (if you happen to miss the bell lap or lap counter cards.  You will need to turn in your chip timer - typically they have buckets set out after the finish line. You’ll want some time to cool down, grab a snack and some water.  Usually about 20 minutes after a race, the results are posted on print-outs near the registration table. If you want to stay for the awards ceremony, those can happen up to an hour after the race.

How do I eat for the race?: This comes down to personal preference. Some folks try to eat two hours before, some prefer to eat within about 45 minutes of race time. You’ll have to experiment to see what types of foods you like and how soon before racing you need to eat to feel great.

How do I set my tire pressure?: Tire pressure is also a personal preference, and will also depend on what time of wheels/tires you have, your body weight, and the terrain of the course.  Generally speaking, for 700c wheels, a range of 15-30 psi is average. If you have inner tubes, you will need the tires to be pumped up on the higher end of that spectrum to avoid getting a “pinch flat”.  If you have a tubless set up, you can run lower tire pressure. If the course is hard-packed or grassy, you might want higher pressure so you can go fast. If the course is sandy, rocky, or muddy, you will want lower pressure to give your tires more traction. This will take some practice and experimenting to find the right combination for your body, bike, and the terrain.


How do I improve my racing?

Practice, practice, practice! You can practice all on your own, or will a group of friends.  Or, if you are wanting to get serious, you can hire a coach who will meet you with you one-on-one and provide you with a training plan.  

Check out the Facebook group “Twin Cities Cross Practice” for dates / locations.  Some bike racing teams will host practice nights.

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