07 Feb
2017

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Day 7 of Loving MN Winter

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on February 7, 2017   comments 1

I #lovemnwinter! Today, this big-city kid loves small-town MN!

By Tina Cho

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I’m a big-city kid at heart. I love the concrete jungle. I love being close to everything: friends, work, food, entertainment, even nature! I even love that we have (almost) immediate plowing after snow here, so I can zip around the frozen city on my skinny studded tires.

That being said, the grass is always greener on the other side, right?

As someone who’s always lived within city limits, I’ve always wondered what life was like on the other side. What’s it like to live in a place where you know all your neighbors, you don’t worry about locking your doors, and (the biggest shocker) don’t think twice about leaving your bike unlocked in the back of your truck...

When I first moved to Minneapolis from Chicago, it was almost like moving to a small town. There was so much green everywhere, and barely an hour’s drive outside of town put me in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees and cows. In fact, when my mom first visited me, she more or less called the Twin Cities “cute.”

Over the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to accompany my partner Anna (who’s a photographer) to the towns of Little Falls and Northfield, for a winter biking photo shoot. It wasn’t my first time in rural Minnesota, but it was the first time I actually had a chance to interact with the locals. Let me tell you, it was like a cup of hot chocolate for the soul, the kind with the cute little animal marshmallows floating on top for extra #squee!

In Northfield, we met up with a group of folks from CROCT (Cannon River Off-Road Cycling & Trails) to have us some fat-biking fun! They not only met us with warm enthusiasm; they also brought everybody, and I mean everybody: friends, spouses, kids, dogs, and even tiny kid-sized fatbikes! After the shoot, we were invited over for dinner at the home of one of the local riders without a second thought, where we were plied with good beer, amazing conversation, and make-your-own roti pizzas. Anna and I spent twice as much time down in Northfield than we originally planned for, and don’t regret a single second of it.

Often, as city-dwellers, we tend to get wrapped up in what we do here, and our world shrinks down to the borders of what we can immediately see. This weekend, the universe conspired to break us out of that loop, a chance to experience and appreciate the warmth and wonder of rural Minnesota. There is so much bikey stuff going on in the rest of MN outside of the metro area: bike and trail advocacy, youth biking efforts, and just plain good people who love bikes… It makes me proud to be a resident of not just Minneapolis, but of MN as a state.

Photo above from CROCT photo shoot by Laura Chihara

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.

04 Feb
2017

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Day 4 of Loving MN Winter

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on February 4, 2017   comments 1

I #LoveMNWinter

An it's-ok-to-not-love-MN-winter story

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By Lauren Johnson

I love MN winter. But love does not always look like excitement or appreciation.
 
Sometimes love looks like patience.
 
This January for me, love is skidding out on ice several times and getting up and putting your bike on the bus.
 
Love is taking a lift or a Lyft when you need it.
 
Love is making the hard choice to ride when you know it will feel brutal rather than invigorating.
 
Love is when you do it anyway because you want to reduce carbon emissions or because you want to keep your body strong and healthy or because you set a goal and you're invested in doing a thing.
 
Sometimes love is choosing to forego your immediate comfort to be pushed further or to work for something greater.
 
Other times it means staying home to read, reflect, and take care of yourself.
 
Sometimes I #lovemnwinter means recognizing it (winter) for what it is and doing the best you can with it.
 
Love looks a lot like resilience.
 
Ride on, brave friends! Take care of each other and yourselves no matter how you are feeling about the winter.
 
I'll see you out there!
 
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.

01 Feb
2017

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Day 1 of Loving MN Winter

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on February 1, 2017   comments 1

In 2014, Low (an amazing Grease Rag founder) created a project to get them through the brutal Minnesota winter. For 29 days they posted stories and pictures and poems about riding through the difficult month of February. In 2015 and 2016 it grew into a beautiful collective effort, with dozens of WTFs sharing what makes them #LoveMnWinter. Follow along for this year's #LoveMNWinter series — and add your name to this list if you'd like to contribute!

I #LoveMNWinter! Today, I love bundling up.

Carolyn_S_scarf.jpgWhen people ask me where I'm from, I generally pause and say, "Well, nowhere really." I was born in Chicago but have bounced around the United States, with a stretch of my childhood in Switzerland and a stint during college in Australia.

Part of that meandering stuck me in the Lone Star State.

Now, I could say many things about Texas, but during a recent 18 months living in Austin I realized how much I love winter.

Austin is indeed a great cycling city — bike infrastructure all over, a wealth of different riding groups and nary a day under 60 degrees. Even I thought the ever-balmy temperatures would be one of the best things about living in the South. But it turned out to be one of the things I hated the most.

As a car-free commuter, having spent the majority of my adulthood riding in Kansas City and Washington, D.C. I had grown accustomed to — and had the wardrobe to match — a four-season climate. About six months into our residence in Austin, I remember putting on a tank top for the umpteenth time in November and telling my partner, "Ugh, this is ridiculous. I miss my scarf."

I honestly don't remember when and where I got my blue scarf — a thrift store sometime in my late teens or early twenties. But I love it. Like, really love it. Like, when I put it on it feels like some sort of Harry Potter thing happens and I'm cozy and safe and protected somehow.

I don't know if it's moving through the world as a woman that makes me feel subconsciously exposed at all times, but I like wearing sweaters and mittens and two pairs of pants. Maybe the layers make me feel bigger in a world that often makes me feel small — or more protected from the hurled insults we all defend against daily when we ride.

But there's also something about feeling... bulky that reminds me to slow down. When I was living a perpetual summer I felt a pressure to go go go all the time. The gray skies of winter remind me that we mammals need moments of hibernation to recharge. The slick streets mandate I slow my cadence and sometimes tell myself, "You know what? If you're late, everyone will not hate you and the world will not end." 

Many people looked at us sideways when we said we were moving from Texas to Minnesota. Why would you choose to live somewhere with such brutal winters, they wondered? For me, the winter was one of the biggest selling points.

And if you could see beneath my beloved blue scarf as I ride around the Twin Cities for my first full winter, you'd probably see me smiling. 

29 Jun
2016

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Celebrate Grease Rag's 7th Birthday!

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on June 29, 2016   comments 0

Celebrate Grease Rag's 7th Birthday!

We’re lucky — lucky to have YOU as part of the Grease Rag community. So come out to our 7th Birthday Party and celebrate the auspicious milestone with food, friends and a post-sunset swim.


Mark your calendars and revel with other WTFs from 6 to 10 p.m. on July 8. First, we’ll kick it on the patio of a swank pad in Northeast Minneapolis (near Stone Arch Bridge). Organizers will bring vegan, gluten-free food, and cake (of course!) but invite you to bring a potluck dish to share, as well. Before the sun goes down, we’ll enjoy bikey crafts, a gender unicorn activity and a playlist crowdsourced from the Grease Rag community.


After taking in the sunset from the roof, we'll all take off on a slow ramble to a nearby beach spot for some swim time. RECIPE FOR A "BEACH BODY!" Bring your body to the beach. We are a super posi and affirming group. ♥


Never been to a Grease Rag event before? Here's your chance to try one out! Everyone is welcome. Please bring friends; the more the merrier!


Want to help? We need volunteers to help with food, crafts and activities! Sign up here.


Happy birthday, everyone!! YOU EARNED THIS!


The deets:


Who’s invited: ERRYBODY and ALL BODIES welcome. Please center the experiences and voices of WTFs.


Date: Friday, July 8, 2016


Time: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.


Location: A Mill Artist Lofts (315 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN 55414)


Updates: RSVP to the Facebook event here


This event is a#NOBROZONE — is a term that applies to all/no genders. Don't make sexual jokes, hit on people, show off, or use your privilege in this space in ways that could make WTFs feel uncomfortable. Let's do our best to hold this space for WTFs. If you see something, call it out. If you need a hand, we've got your back.

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