15 Nov


2017 WSS: Self-Care Write Up!


on November 15, 2017   comments 4

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


10 Oct


9th Annual Winter Skill Share!


on October 10, 2017   comments 0

The leaves are falling and the air is cool - winter is right around the corner! Curious about winter biking? Looking for advice on how to ride a little longer into the cool weather this year? Do you like door prizes, yoga, and FUN in a relaxed and inclusive environment?! Then join Grease Rag for the...

9th Annual FTW Winter Skill Share and Gear Swap!

9th Annual WSS Flyer (1).jpg

Winter riding is fun and convenient! At the Winter Skill Share, participants can learn from and share their own winter biking experiences with other femme, transgender, and women cyclists. Come with questions and leave feeling confident and ready to take on Minnesota's most challenging season!

This event is FREE and open to femme, transgender, non-binary, two-spirit people and women. If you are a cis man, please respect this space and do not attend.

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 winater 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 (more details below!) 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.


Related Events & Activities

Looking for more ways to participate in the in the 9th Annual Winter Skill Share? Here’s how!

Our pre-event craft night will be held on Sunday, October 22 from 11am - 4pm at  Our Streets Minneapolis. Get more details and RSVP on the Facebook event page here.

Join us for the November Full Moon ride and roll slow with rad femme, trans, and women cyclists. Connect with our awesome community and build new friendships to help you through the winter. Watch our Facebook page for details!



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!


We are still looking for volunteers!

We need people for pre-event organizing and well as day-of support!


We need pre-event organizers to help coordinate food, prizes, and volunteers. Interested? Sign up here.


We need day-of volunteers to help set-up, greet participants, time sessions, and more! Interested? Sign up here!


Questions?  Please ask in the comments!  

Remember, this event happens the day daylight savings ends! Don't forget to "fall back" and enjoy an extra hour of sleep.

See ya there! :)

14 Mar


Guest Post: Alisa's First Winter Riding


on March 14, 2015   comments 0

A Guest post from Alisa about winter riding! Enjoy!


My first winter bike commuting


As winter in Minnesota is quickly drawing to a close (although I know Minnesota well enough to not put the winter bike away quite yet), I thought this would be a good time to share some random thoughts on my first winter bike commuting. I’ve been a bike commuter during the spring, summer and fall for the past five years, but I would put the bike away and start taking the bus after the first snowfall. It was the ice especially that made me nervous. During the past year, I tried to bike more and more to run errands and get around, and come November realized that this was the year I would become a winter bike commuter. The thought of having to wait to catch the bus at the end of the day – my least favorite part of my day – wasn’t a routine I was interested in getting back into.




My winter warrior: After doing some research on all my options, I decided to find a used, beater bike for my winter ride. Luckily, one trip to the Recovery Bike Shop was all I needed to find my winter bike. I decked it out with studded tires, fenders, a rack and new lights. I have to admit, I thought this bike was pretty ugly when I first purchased it, but I’ve come to appreciate it more and more as it’s carried me through a wide variety of winter conditions.


Biggest challenges: I wasn’t sure what my biggest challenges would be when I first started riding in the winter – the weather, road conditions, equipment, darkness, etc.? I faced all of these challenges at different times throughout the season. The road conditions were pretty tough after the first snowfall in November, but that just meant I learned a lot about winter riding in the first week. Although dressing for the weather has been surprisingly easy, I have often overdressed and occasionally underdressed at different times. In fact, I think I made a new rule of thumb for dressing for winter riding almost every time I ventured out. Remembering to charge my lights, struggling home in a brisk headwind, learning how to see in the dark with my rose-tinted goggles have all been challenges at some point, but overcoming these challenges have been a big part of the fun.


Favorite pieces of clothing:

I could go on and on about my different layers, but here are a few pieces that I couldn’t have gotten through winter without:

  • Scarf:  Figuring out how to keep my face warm while still being able to breathe was a huge challenge early on. Luckily, I dug out a scarf my grandma had made that had been sitting around for a few years.  I can wrap this scarf twice around my neck, pull it up over my face and still breathe! It was great to have something lying around the house that I never really used become a critical part of my daily commute.
  • Windshell jacket: I picked up this piece at the Grease Rag gear swap for FREE! I don’t wear it every day, but on the coldest days this thin shell keeps my surprisingly warm.
  • Thin, fleece hoodie: Another key piece of advice picked up at the Grease Rage winter skill share was that thin hoodies can provide a nice layer of warmth to both your core and your head. I found a few at a good price at Marshall’s, and wear one every day.
  • Lobster gloves: The cross-country skier in me already swore by lobster gloves, but I splurged on some biking-specific lobsters that provide a bit more wind protection. These have kept my hands warm enough at -30 windchills.




Least favorite riding conditions (early on): ½” or so of loose snow on top of the packed ice and snow. At first, my heart would jump into my throat every time my bike got a bit squirrely in these conditions.  To keep me going, I kept reminding myself how much better I would be at mountain biking after this winter! Which leads me to…


Least favorite riding conditions (now): I got more comfortable and things got less scary. My heart jumps into my throat a little bit less, and my least favorite riding conditions in winter now are clear, dry roads. I like the sound my tires make when riding on some packed snow, feeling like my studded tires are being put to good use.


Least favorite weather element: The wind. It makes things so much colder and harder than it needs to be.



Least favorite days: When I wasn’t able to ride! I found that no matter the weather – snowy, 20 degrees below, salty, muddy, etc. – I would miss the time I got to spend on my bike when I wasn’t able to ride. Riding in the winter has really changed my perspective on biking weather - to me, there really is no bad weather for riding anymore.


Favorite rides: Some of my favorites rides this winter have occurred in all sorts of conditions – I never knew when a ride would become one of my best rides. A few of the magical rides I’ve had this year:

  • -30 windchills when Minneapolis schools were cancelled. After deciding that no, I wasn’t crazy for riding my bike in this weather (I’d probably be colder waiting for the bus), I threw on an extra layer, made sure that I didn’t have any skin exposed and ventured out. Being dressed perfectly for some extreme weather made me feel invincible.
  • Enjoying the increasing daylight in late February and hanging out with some bald eagles on the shores of the Mississippi River on my way home (on what just happened to be International Winter Bike to Work Day).
  • Riding in newly falling snow at the beginning of March after a winter of yearning for more snow.




Least favorite label: Badass. I find that the conversations I have about riding in the winter with colleagues and friends tend to follow the same pattern. The person I’m talking to admires me for biking in the winter, but then expresses how they could never do it themselves. I find this so frustrating. I try to explain that they could – I’m just a normal, impatient person that loves biking and hates waiting for the bus! The more I have these conversations, the more I want people realize that biking in any season is very doable and not relegated to badasses (or at least, that anyone can be a badass!).



02 Feb


January: Where I've Come From and Where I'm Going


on February 2, 2015   comments 1

In honor of the first month of the new year, I volunteered to write about what I did this year and what I’m looking forward to over the upcoming year. As is my style, I’m a little late, but this year is still newish, right? So here it goes:

Last year was an incredible year of firsts for me. I dove in headfirst and tried pretty much every kind of riding I could get my hands on. I learned how to ride a track bike and then I raced that bike at the velodrome and sometimes I even managed to finish with the field. I bought a mountain bike and tried, with limited success, not to fall too much at Theo Wirth. I raced a criterium race and learned the true meaning of pain. I took my first solo bike camping trip, complete with insane B roads and emergency thrift store purchases, and slept on the shore of Lake Superior and in the deep woods of Wisconsin. I biked 100 miles. Then I biked more than 200 miles and stood on the podium at Riverwest24 with two other incredible women. I helped to organize and lead the best social ride of the year, The Pre-Babes Wanderabout, and then I got to race alongside the raddest babes I’ve ever met.

 photo babes.jpg

At the heart of all this, I learned just how just how much I love to ride, how much I live to ride.  Whether it’s my daily commute or a long training ride or a race or a casual social ride, I want to be there. I learned the deep satisfaction of  ride can be, whether the miles are ticking serenely away beneath me or my legs are begging me to stop.

 photo velodrome.jpg

Most importantly, though, I learned that my powerful, amazing, and diverse the community of women, trans*, and femme riders here in Minneapolis has got my back, always. Most of what I learned this year I learned from WTFs and every member of our community has, in some way, been a source of encouragement or wisdom for me. WTF riders taught me how to wrench and how to race. They showed me how to compete hard and fast but also how to laugh at myself. They helped me to figure out how to keep my body in shape and my makeup on my face. They lifted me up but kept me humble. I feel deeply grateful for the vibrant community around me; I know that whether I’m at the track or on a full moon ride, someone’s there to meet me where I’m at. My community is strong, so my heart is full. Because of you all, I learned, I am learning, how to be brave. 

 photo IMG_2810.jpg

This year, I’m looking forward to a lot, too. I’ve started training, for the first time in my life, and I’m feeling eager to see the results of my hard work when I start the race season. I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do, to pushing my body harder than I’ve ever pushed before, to racing more often and with more discipline. But besides my own individual athletic pursuits, which I think contributes to and participates in one contingency of the ‘rad babes on bikes’ culture here in Minneapolis,  I’m looking forward to doing more for the GR community. I’d like help lead and organize more rides, and I’ve committed to posting once a month (or more!) here on the blog. I’ve made a commitment this year to support and nurture WTF culture at large, and in this instance, that means blogging more, discussing more, racing more, wrenching more, training more, showing up more.


 photo rw24.jpg

Writing this post and adding all these ridiculous pictures of myself has been a great start to my year and helped me get my head straight in the worst part of the winter. It's helped me to remember that I really have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to. Most of all, I'm looking forward to taking a spin with you. 

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