05 Feb
2017

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Day 5 of Loving Winter 2017

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on February 5, 2017   comments 1

 I #lovemnwinter!  Today, I love slowing down to speed up.

Staying active in an MN winter is a solid trick for keeping a body warm, bikes upright, and mental health in functional order through very dark months. When facing a super cold front or snowstorm, the #LOVEWINTER smarts kick in and you know to store that energy and stay put. Slowing down to rest, to evaluate options, to strategize your route… when you set out, you know you’re gonna be stronger and equipped with valuable energy to fortify your journey.

I recommend using this technique, slow down to speed up, before facing a particularily mean snowstorm, OR any terrible shitstorm, as you see fit.

This winter, I’ve been “hunkering down” as an opportunity to find my way out of a personal shitstorm of burn out and avoidance. I'm starting by catching up on some reading, ready to strategize a new route forward and it starts by sticking to the work of WTFs and POC authors in my #lovemnwinter reading list:

Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America - by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History) - by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement - by Angela Y. Davis

Palante - by Young Lords Party

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness - by Michelle Alexander

I’ve also taken some time to examine my financial influence divesting/invest accordingly:

http://www.ussif.org/sribasics

And most importantly, I’ve been plotting that path forward with leadership from my community.

Native Lives Matter

Anti-War Committe

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis

15 Now Minnesota

In these cold months of winter, how are you slowing down?  What are you plotting to do?

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.

26 Jul
2016

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Las “FAQ” (Preguntas Frecuentes) de Grease Rag

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on July 26, 2016   comments 0

¿Qué es Grease Rag?

Grease Rag Ride & Wrench trabaja para motivar a ciclistas FTW (personas Trans, mujeres y personas que se identifican con la identidad femenina), facilitando actividades divertidas y solidarias como noches de taller abierto, rodadas grupales, seminarios educativos y eventos sociales. Somos una organización que opera únicamente con voluntari@s, impulsada por el entusiasmo y las ganas de hacer crecer a nuestra comunidad. Grease Rag quiere hacer el ciclismo en las Twin Cities más incluyente de ciclistas FTW, enfocándose principalmente en incluir y generar confianza en nuev@s ciclistas y en ciclistas novat@s en mecánica de bicis. El año pasado logramos tener a much@s nuev@s ciclistas en las calles, entusiasmad@s de pedalear a través de Twin Cities.

¿Qué hace Grease Rag?

Organizamos viajes de cicloturismo para principiantes, rodadas nocturnas mensuales, rodadas grupales con un destino regular, un intercambio de experiencias para rodar durante el invierno y varias reuniones sociales con el fin de hacer más incluyente el ciclismo en Minneapolis. Nuestro grupo de Facebook está activo con conversaciones sobre los retos y triunfos con que l@s ciclistas que se identifican como FTW lidian todos los días incluyendo temas sobre identidad de género, vestimenta, equipo y actitudes. Sentimos que l@s aliad@s son una pieza importante para lograr que el ciclismo sea más seguro e incluyente para las personas FTW, así que muchos de nuestros eventos están abiertos para tod@s, aunque el enfoque se mantiene en promover el ciclismo entre las personas FTW. Nuestros programas principales incluyen en tener noches de taller abierto en varias sedes, varias veces al mes, para ayudar a las personas FTW a darse cuenta de que, con confianza, pueden reparar sus propias bicis con sus habilidades y conocimientos.

¿Qué significa FTW (WTF por sus siglas en inglés)?

WTF (o FTW traducido al español) es un acrónimo que adoptamos de San Francisco Bike Kitchen y significa “Women, Transgender, Femme cyclists” (“Ciclistas mujeres, transgénero y femenin@s). Creemos que es un acrónimo explícito que satisface nuestro objetivo demográfico: personas que no gozan del privilegio de los hombres cisgénero. (Cisgénero se refiere a las personas cuya identidad de género está de acuerdo con el sexo asignado al nacer). Nuestro grupo no es único y exclusivo de personas identificadas dentro del espectro de género femenino, porque los hombres trans y las personas queer son absolutamente bienvenid@s.

¿Cómo crea Grease Rag un espacio amigable para FTWs?

Los espacios más seguros son espacios en donde intentamos identificar y combatir la opresión, que puede tomar la forma de sexismo, racismo, transfobia, etc. Intentamos hacer espacios más seguros a través del diálogo, de compartir los pronombres de género elegidos, de no etiquetar los distintos cuerpos y de crear una atmósfera de respeto.

Durante nuestras noches de taller abierto, l@s facilitadoras/es están en el espacio asegurándose que las personas FTW tienen prioridad en el espacio, que los talleres promueven nuestras políticas incluyentes y que nuestr@s aliad@s son proactiv@s y respetuos@s del espacio. Motivamos a l@s participantes a acercarse a l@s facilitadoras/es con cualquier preocupación en persona, a través de correo electrónico o redes sociales.

Cuando alguien llega a un evento exclusivo para personas FTW, no juzgamos los cuerpos de nadie, sólo preguntamos “¿estás aquí para Grease Rag?”

Nuestras rodadas son a velocidad baja o media para maximizar el número de principiantes que se puedan sentir cómod@s rodando con nosotr@s. Hay otros grupos en Twin Cities que organizan rodadas más rápidas. La mayoría de nuestros eventos incluyen rondas en las que compartimos nuestro nombre, pronombre de género y la respuesta de una pregunta “rompehielo” para crear un ambiente de comunidad. Cuando pedimos a las personas compartir su pronombre de género y si se sienten con la comodidad de hacerlo, es una forma de hacer que la gente se sienta parte del grupo aún si es su primera vez y no conocen a nadie. Además promueve la práctica de preguntar a las personas sus pronombres de género como una práctica regular y también nos recuerda que además de no asumir los pronombres preferidos de ninguna persona, existen otras opciones que los pronombres binarios “él/ella.” Hasta la hora, en español, hay menos opciones que en inglés. Si tienes ideas--como “elle” por ejemplo, ¡dinos!

¿Qué es un facilitador?

Un/a facilitador/a es el punto de contacto para una sede de Grease Rag. Nos gusta tener al menos dos facilitadoras/es para cada sede para poder trabajar como equipo. L@s facilitadoras/es se aseguran que las siguientes cosas sucedan:

Establecer la vibra y el formato del espacio. ¿Un evento tiene una hora de instrucción y una hora de taller abierto? ¿Le pedimos a la gente traer snacks, etc?

SALUDAR a la gente al entrar y asegurarse que se sientan cómodos en el espacio.

REFORZAR las reglas de espacios seguros. Intentamos fuertemente NO juzgar el cuerpo de nadie ni permitir comportamientos sexistas o transfóbicos. Si ves algo, ¡habla con un facilitador!

Facilitar rondas de presentación para darles la oportunidad a las personas de compartir sus nombres, pronombres y tal vez responder a una pregunta.

COMUNICARSE con otr@s facilitadoras/es y voluntari@s cuando sea necesario.

PEDIR AYUDA o recursos si los participantes o el espacio requiere algo.

A pesar de la gran responsabilidad del/de la facilitador/a de presentarse y hacer que las noches de taller abierto sean exitosas, no queremos crear jerarquía entre el/la “facilitador/a” y el resto del equipo y voluntari@s.

¿Qué es una noche de taller abierto?

Noches de taller abierto fueron los primeros eventos que Grease Rag organizó, en enero 7 del 2009. Una noche de taller abierto es un evento gratuito en donde tod@s l@s ciclistas FTW, sin importar su conocimiento o experiencia, pueden traer su bici y aprender cómo hacer su propio trabajo mecánico. Tenemos un@ o dos mecánic@s profesionales en sitio, pero la mayoría del aprendizaje se da mediante la ayuda mutua. Puede ser sorprendente cuánto sabemos de forma colectiva, aún si no somos individuos expertos. Cada sede define el formato particular de cada noche de taller abierto, así que si asistes a una sede y es tu estilo, ¡asiste a otra! O mejor aún…¡comienza la tuya! Lo único que necesitas es el espacio, algunas herramientas (lee más abajo y aprenderás a usar alianzas comunitarias para espacio y herramientas), y entusiasmo.

¿Cómo me entero de los eventos de Grease Rag?

Grease Rag mantiene un calendario de eventos (http://greaserag.org/calendar/) en nuestro sitio que muestra los eventos regulares de taller abierto, eventos especiales que incluyen rodadas y fiestas, y eventos que no son específicamente de Grease Rag pero que pueden ser de interés. También mantenemos una sección de eventos especiales en nuestra página de eventos (http://greaserag.org/calendar/current-present-happening/)  Nuestro grupo de Facebook también es una buena fuente de información. (https://www.facebook.com/groups/greaserag/)

¿Cómo es que Grease Rag se involucra en alianzas comunitarias?

Además de nuestros fantástic@s voluntari@s, facilitadores y participantes, Grease Rag sale adelante gracias a nuestra relación con aliad@s de la comunidad. Aliad@s comunitari@s/tiendas de bicis nos dan espacio, tiempo y consumibles como lubricante y desengrasante. Les pedimos que nos faciliten a un/a emplead@ pagad@ para consejos mecánicos profesionales. Como recompensa, l@s participantes van seguido a sus espacios, superan la barrera de “más allá del mostrador” y se sienten en confianza con l@s emplead@s de la tienda y con la tienda. Esto asegura que la gente regresará porque se sienten algo más que consumidores. Son parte de la tienda. La confianza es nuestra principal meta, pero también puede crear clientes leales.

22 Feb
2016

1 Comments

Day 22 of Loving Winter 2016

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on February 22, 2016   comments 1

I #lovemnwinter!  Today, I love knowing how to ride with ICE.

By Lee Penn

It's February, and it feels like March.... or even April!
I had a glorious weekend of riding that featured warm temperatures and good friends and MILES!!!
Lots of miles...
It felt like SPRING!

This kind of weather - with temperatures cycling above freezing and below freezing spells ICE.

When the weather cycles above and below freezing, it takes a while for the surface temperature to catch up to the average air temperature.  This means that mornings and evenings can be treacherous because ICE!  

The main roads tend to be free of ice even when the side streets and bike paths are covered in it.

Some Rs....

RIDE -- get out there because winter riding is terrific -- definitely better than the trainer!
ROUTE -- choose your route according to the conditions etc....
REMEMBER --

  • Your lights!!!!  Sun still sets early!
  • You can take the lane.
  • You cannot TURN on ice - maintain forward momentum..... If in doubt, get off and walk the scary section.

ROAD CONDITIONS --

  • POTHOLES - there are new potholes everywhere...
  • Main roads are better when it's icy

My ice filled weekend:

Friday - my lovely sweetie and I went on a walking date, with dinner after about 3.5 miles of walking.  After the sun went down, water on the sidewalks and streets cooled, and ice reformed.  It was treacherous to walk on the sidewalks!  

Saturday - A bunch of my friends and I hit the road at 730 to enjoy some fast paced riding, with some sprints thrown in.  The temperature was 36 when I left our house.  SOOOOO LOVELY!  But, the ground temperature was substantially lower than the air temperature, which meant there was a lot of ice! With the cloudy skies, the ice persisted until quite late in the morning. One of our group went down and tore up their brand new tights and bloodied their knee....  They are okay, though!!!! And still glad to have ridden. I got off to walk through several meters-long icy sections....

Sunday - A bunch of my friends and I hit the road at 800...  Similar story - ice patches everywhere, but the sun came out, and most the ice had melted by 9.... We rode to Rosemont and had just a lovely lovely ride. 

 


 

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.

01 Feb
2016

2 Comments

Day 1 of Loving Winter 2016

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on February 1, 2016   comments 2

I #lovemnwinter!  Today, I love ten things that only winter brings.

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.

bear-song.gif


2013-2014 was the coldest winter of my life, and probably the same for many others who did not live in Minnesota before the 1990s. For those who missed out, here is a recap of conditions: days on end of below zero temps; gas and electric bills through the frozen roof; several inches of ice that formed on the roads and never left; frequent snowstorms.


weather-report.pngCredit: National Weather Service Duluth

The summer before this mini(sota) ice age, I had decided that MN would be home for the next several years. With this decision came the realization that, for the good of my mental health, I would have to form an optimistic disposition that defied my perceived reality.

Putting it plainly... winter was cold, and I would have to learn to deal with it like a champ.
snow-fall.gif

That's right, I would attempt to join the ranks of those who ice fish; gardener year-round; camp on snow; jump in frozen lakes; write odes to snow falls; sled on the regular. I was going to start doing this winter thing.

Key to this attempt:

Not complaining about the weather

Letting my body get cold and paying attention to what it felt like, believing it wasn't simply "cold"

panda-play.gif

Following these two guidelines, I started getting outside and trying things I've never considered fun (let alone tolerable). Snowshoeing and winter walks around the neighborhood. Standing around a bonfire and working on bikes in cold garages. I asked my grandmother about our family's history and heard stories about how folks lived, survived, and even ENJOYED the winter before we had battery powered thermal underwear. Winter customs and celebrations became fascinating and I looked for ways to participate. Before long, I found myself saying things like "it's a dry-cold, warmer than yesterday."


sparkly.gif

What I realized in this transformation is that if you l#lovemnwinter, you get to experience something really special. You'll witness and celebrate things that other folks will never have the opportunity to. Life here is unique and nuanced and this wonder takes time to explain. Minnesotans can spend so much time defending ourselves for living in one of the most extreme states of the union (temperature wise), that we don't always take the time to describe the good stuff.

 

So, what's the good stuff?

1. Snow Sparkles
A certain kind of snow brings a certain kind of magic. It's soft, it's a "blanket", it's quiet. And you know what? There's a reason we have glitter in snow globes. Because it's SPARKLY!
snow-globe.gif
2. Food
Some foods I only enjoy in the winter: black eyed peas; squash; turkey; venison. What do you enjoy especially in the winter months?
wolf-eat-snow-food.gif
3. Pain
The sting of your nostrils, a deep inhale, exhale. A cloud of exhaust. Tingly fingers, will they ever be normal again? Toes that feel as thick as sausages and thighs that burn. Air sneaking through a crack between my jacket and scarf. It feels crazy and amazing and so much more than simply "cold." The sensations of winter remind me that my body is alive, and interesting, and strong.

4. Cardinals and House Sparrows
Without the clatter of leaves and summer activity, you can clearly hear a cardinal call and the chitter chatter of house sparrows flocked together in a hedge.

5. ComRADery
Did you catch the 28 days of #lovemnwinter from last year? And we are doing it all over again this year!

6. Prints in the snow
I'm not a professional animal tracker, but I'll never be closer to it than after a fresh snow. Then, and only then, am I hot on the trail of little critters!

7. Blinding sun is the best sun
I've never felt "thirsty" for sun the way I do when it's cold outside. Frequently, I'll find myself pausing in a sunny window, letting the sun blind my eyes so my face can feel warmed. I imagine my body drinking up the Vitamin D and it feels wonderful! Vitamin D is my favorite winter food!

8. Walking on water
Y'all know it's crazy, right? Driving on ice? Oh, that's insane too.

9. Classy cocktails
Staying in on a snowy day is the only sensible thing to do. Even better with a winter drink: boozy hot cocoa; mulled wine; whiskey drinks; and even "Milk Punch."

10. Minneapolis' Murder
Have you witnessed the thousands of crows that roost around Loring Park, Uptown, and South Minneapolis neighborhoods? Click here for a little peak:
murder-of-crows.png

 

Need more reasons to love this season?

2015 - 28 Days of Loving Winter

Winter - 28 Days of Love (2014)

 

Good luck on your journey to love this MN winter!

dog-sled.gif

08 Dec
2015

21 Comments

It is winter, we ride: Winter Skill Share recap - 2015

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on December 8, 2015   comments 21

WSS_2015_Flyer_Small.jpg
A recap of the 7th Annual Winter Skill Share

For over 10 years, I’ve been biking through Minnesota winters. I don’t bike every day. Sometimes, I just don’t want to. Sometimes, I catch myself unprepared so I drive. Sometimes, I ride REALLY slow because the conditions feel more treturous than I’d imagined. Often, I see other WTFs on the trails. Usually, I’m happy that I chose to ride, rather than use my car. I’ve never frozen to death and never experienced a hard fall.

Although I actually prefer slippers, a warm robe, hot coffee, and Netflix for most of the winter, I must admit that there's a lot of enjoyment in riding a bike through the cold and snow. Here is a short list of my favorite things, in no particular order:

  • Exercise (always good)
  • Outside (vitamin D)
  • The noises... quietness after a snowfall, birds
  • Appreciating the range of “cold” (some days feel warm, it’s appreciation)
  • My rear tire fishtailing (it’s so fun!)


Two years ago, I found myself at the Grease Rag Winter Skill Share (Here is a re-cap of that event: Grease Rag’s 6th Annual Winter Skill Share). I was surprised to find others who loved cycling through the snow as much as I did. I was excited to see all the fresh interest from those who were gearing up for their first season of winter riding. I was impressed to learn so much (that I didn’t know I didn’t know) from this group. I learned about how to properly care for my bike (my long-time winter ride is very rusty), I heard tips about clothing and safety, I communed and chatted with others who had a range of experiences and wisdom that was different than mine. The Winter Skill Share taught me much and motivated me for another year of riding.

This year, I helped to market The Winter Skill Share and attended the event. Again, I learned new tricks, left feeling energized, and scored these great ear muffs at the swap.

ear_muffs.jpg

After the event, several Grease Rag folks wrote up summaries of the sessions and I’ve posted them here, with a short description of what the event was like:

So, what is a Grease Rag Winter Skill Share?

Each Fall, the Grease Rag community pools it’s collective resources, energy, and smarts to encourage and support WTFs who wish to pedal through Minnesota’s coldest and most unpredictable months. With several teach-ins on winter bicycling related topics, our Grease Rag experts share their expertise in areas like bike maintenance, self-care, riding technique, and more.


session.JPG

schedule.JPG

After the pros have shared, we draw on the audience of veteran riders (and sometime even newbie riders!) to share even more know-how on these topics. This event helps all riders to strategize for winter riding and to motivate themselves through the toughest of winter’s biking hurdles.

resourcelist.JPG

hottips.JPG
This event provided donated snacks, organized a gear swap (winter/bike related items… shared for free!), and partnered with The Exchange (a Queer Community Space) to stock their food shelf with a bunch of goodies. All said and done, we pumped up and prepped over 60 WTFs for the winter riding season, including  at least 18 new riders who are interested in venturing out for their first time this season. Good luck to all!

Individual Session Recaps

Clothing
Safety, Handling & Maintenance (2 sessions)
Self Care

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