Text and photos from our Grease Rag friend, Rachel! Thanks so much for reporting on WTF bike spaces outside of Minneapolis. Now I want to visit Bicas in Tucson!
Recently, I took a trip to Tucson, AZ with my sweetheart to visit some of his friends. Though we were only there for a few days, we made a point of checking out bike-related businesses and events. One of the events we went to was the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association Bike Swap Meet.
I was new to this idea, but basically it was like a farmer's market of all things bike, mostly in the form of parts. You know, ingredients to make a delicious feast of a bike. There were many vendors who were selling random used bits - clunky metal parts I'm only beginning to be able to recognize and name (cassette! crank!) - and others doing fancy resale of clothes and accessories. There were frames of every persuasion, tires of every color, fixies and beach cruisers.
While at the bike swap meet we came across BICAS (pronounced BEE-kuhs), which stands for Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage. BICAS is "Tucson's Bicycle recycling and education center. The BICAS mission is to promote education, art, and a healthy environment while providing service and opportunity for those in need." I was extremely excited to see that they have a Women, Trans, Femmes night. I'm copying the text of their flier here, because I thought you might find it interesting to see how they structure their space and how they conceptualized what WTF means in terms of gender.
BICAS PRESENTS: Women, Trans, Femmes
Monday nights, 4-8 pm.
Creating a supportive, non-patriarchal environment to learn and practice bicycle mechanics.
This workshop is run similarly to the BICAS open shop but with a supportive all-WTF atmosphere. No sign-up required, drop in for all or part of the workshop. Cost is $4 per hour or $12 for the entire afternoon.
Open to all women, transfolks, genderqueer folk, femmes and other people who've had gender bias, homophobia or transphobia keep them away from the wrenches.
On the flip side of the flier...
Please Respect This Space:
This space is for:
Women: A female person and/or a person who identifies as a woman.
Trans: Transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, anyone whose gender identity is fluid, transgressive, or transitioning.
Femme: A gender identity in which someone (female, male, or other) actively embodies a feminine appearance, role, or expression.
Children: Kids under the age of 6 are welcome to attend the workshop regardless of gender. All children must be supervised.
Ways to Support WTF night
Respect the space. If you are not female or trans, please come to the shop during other open hours.
Tell all your female and trans friends about WTF Mondays at BICAS and encourage them to attend.
Educate yourself, become more aware of women's and transgender issues.
They also have a work-trade program, which is "an opportunity for you to help out at BICAS and earn shop credit that you can trade in for a used bike, used parts and shop rent to fix your bike." My Tucsonian friend used to volunteer with BICAS and told me that many of the organization's staff are women-identified folks. That made me happy as well. Check out their website here: http://bicas.org/
I wish I'd had the foresight and the time to go check out their actual space. The next (bike) trip I take, I think I'll make it a priority to more proactively check out any bike organizations - not just businesses and events - and to attend any WTF events. Connection to community is power!
Should-haves and by-gones aside, even just traipsing through the bike swap made me feel full-hearted, hopeful, and like we were getting right with the world. Bikes are magical. Bikes move me.