Another Successful Winter Skill Share- Thank you!
Thank you to everyone that attended Grease Rag's 4th Annual Skill Share! Big shout-outs to the YWCA on Lake Street for letting us use their magnificent classroom space again, and Claire, Christina, and Nicole for contributing and helping everything run smoothly. So appreciative of our presenters, Kat, Spanish, Janni, Cali, and Amelia for covering everything you need to know about winter biking.
Most of all, thank YOU for your attention and thoughtful questions. We hope you got all the information you need so you can feel comfortable to keep riding as winter arrives and the road conditions change. (Winter IS coming, right?) I hope to see many of the 30 of you that attended out there! Holla if you see me trundling by on my blue Lotus mixte!
Our gracious presenters have put together write-ups related to their topics. If you weren't able to make it to the event this year, please read through these recaps, past posts (2009, 2010, 2011), and view our blog's "Winter Biking" tag.
Yoga for Cyclists: Amelia's Post
Bike Setups and Options, Including Lights and Fenders: Nicole's post on tires and gear from last year
Safety and Riding Tips: Kat's Post
Clothing: Carly's post from last year
Cleaning and Bike Maintenance: Cali's Post
Get to Know Your Presenters
Amelia works at the Hub Bike Co-op and is also a yoga instructor at Embodied Health, in St. Paul. She is the head facilitator of the Grease Rag at the U of M Bike Center, which takes place on 2nd and 4th Thursdays. Amelia is an excellent instructor, and is very knowlegeable about bikes and biker bodies!
Janni is a mechanic's apprentice at Recovery Bike Shop, where she is also the head facilitator at Grease Rag NE, which happens on 2nd Tuesdays of the month. Janni uses her knowledge to teach on a topic for the first 1/2-1 hour of the Grease Rag open shop, and the rest of the time is devoted to working on your projects. Janni is very patient and wonderful at answering all of your questions!
Kat works at Calhoun Cycles and is the head facilitator at Grease Rag Uptown, which takes place at Sunrise Cyclery on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Kat plays bike polo, and is a year-round cyclist biking through her fifth winter!
Spanish also works at the Hub and is a mechanic at the Grease Rag at SPOKES which takes place on the fourth Mondays of the month. She races cyclocross, likes to go fast, and has a wicked sense of humor!
Cali is the co-owner of Alley Cat Cycles in Loring Park, apprentice at Peacock Groove, and Bolder Options Bike Mentorship Youth Program Repair Shop Leader. In addition to being a self-taught mechanic, she is an excellent instructor!
Feedback, and Plans for Next Year
The winter skill share has evolved over the past few years. It started as a very informal discussion around the workstand at Sunrise, and we got some of our friends to come and talk about how they dress themselves and what kind of lights they like to run. This year we had four presentations, and an open discussion panel at the end. We really like having a rotation of different people present on quintesential winter biking topics. Each presenter brings their own personal experience and preference to the topic, and we encourage participants to ask questions so we are sure to talk about what you really want to know. During the open discussion panel, all of our presenters were available to respond to your questions.
Were there parts of the skill share that worked well? Were there things you didn't like? Would you like to tell our presenters that they did a stellar job? Either comment below, or send an email to email@example.com. We are a small group of volunteers, so your voice will definitely be heard if you are willing to speak up!
For next year, we already have some big plans. Our friends at the Milwaukee Bicycle Collective shared their format with us, and we thought that having a panel of five or six people to talk on winter biking topics for five minutes each is a great way to share diverse experiences. We would also like to incorporate a craft swap/ sale. Do you own a pair of goggles that worked great but you don't need anymore because you just upgraded? Swap 'em! Make super sweet helmet covers or mud flaps for messy winter bikes? Sell/ swap 'em! We are also toying with the idea of having this event open to everyone, instead of having it exclusively open to WTF (women/ transgender/ femme) winter warriors. Do you have any thoughts or ideas about this format? We'd love to hear them.
Of the many helpful and encouraging tips and stories that were shared at the skill share, I wanted to reiterrate that even if you don't like winter, winter biking is doable and it is empowering. Do it for yourself and feel good about it!