Welcome to Grease Rag Ride & Wrench!

5/1/2012 UPDATE: Find us at our new blog, www.greaserag.org.  No updates will be made to this wordpress site, and all of the content here has been migrated to our new home.  Change your bookmarks and check us out!

Grease Rag’s mission is to encourage and empower women/ trans/ femme (WTF) cyclists in a collaborative and fun learning environment through rides, discussions, shop nights and educational seminars in a safer space.

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Girls Biking to Work blog

New Minneapolis blog, Girls Biking to Work, is becoming a favorite of mine.  Written by Grease Rag friend Stephanie, the blog is thoughtful and practical about biking, and arriving looking fabulous.  I wouldn’t describe Girls Biking to Work as a “cycle chic” blog, because it’s not just fulfilling another fashion stereotype of what a “pretty girl on a bike” should look like.  I think Stephanie writes from a personal place, trying to suss out how fashion, feminism, and practicality fit into her bikey life.

Check out the article on Stephanie’s bike!  She gives a shout out to Grease Rag.  ❤

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Happy Bike-versary, Eleonore!

We all start somewhere.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: I learned how to ride a bike.
April 17, 2011.
Which really means: I learned how to fly.
I guess I should just admit: I’m really damn proud of myself and excited about how far I’ve come and how far I can still go.
Thanks to everyone who’s helped me get here…

-Eleonore Wesserle

Eleonore learned how to ride a bicycle at a Learn to Bike event sponsored by Cycles for Change (C4C) and Seward Redesign.  Now, she is a frequent Grease Rag participant and a bicycling machine!  So proud!

I volunteered at a few of those events and, given my own journey learning how to ride, they were some of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had outside of Grease Rag.  When was the last time you helped someone learn to fly?

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Posted in Benefit, Events, Friends, Party, Why we bike! | 2 Comments

Grease Rag in the Southwest Journal

Big thanks to Alleen at the Southwest Journal!  She took an interest in the Grease Rag and after coming to an open shop night, we had the opportunity to gab about the ‘Rag at Modern Times a few weeks ago.  She turned our conversation into a lovely feature that is really positive, and features some of your voices.  I love the perspective, I hope you’ll give it a read.

Pass the Wrench by Alleen Brown

JJ Kahle’s been coming to Grease Rag since September. In February, she finished building her first bike. She said she likes that Grease Rag invites WTFs into the back of the bike shop, which tends to be a boy’s club, even in Minneapolis. “For some reason you’re treated like you don’t exist or like your somebody’s mom or somebody’s sister,” she said. “So I like that it de-centers that whole idea that you have to be kind of an alpha male in order to work on bikes.”
“Z,” a Sunrise salesperson and new frequenter of Grease Rag said in the past, she mostly rode with dudes. “I always, always, always had to prove that I could be one of the guys,” she said. “In this case, it doesn’t matter.”
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How and Why to Advocate (Baby-steps!)

You are a shining example of a cyclist.  You care about your health, your safety on the road, and you care about your bike.  Doesn’t riding your bike feel great?  Do you ever feel the urge to get other people to realize how awesome it is?  Do you want to get more infrastructure in place because you believe it benefits us all?

How the heck do you go about doing all that?

Sam, over at Brown Girl in the Lane, wrote a great guide about being an advocate that does a great job of explaining the how and why she is speaking up and taking action.

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BWK- Dana bikes with Quinn and (soon!) Daphne

Our first contributor to “Biking with Kidlets” is Dana DeMaster.  She is a married mom with two kids: Quinn age 3.5, and Daphne age 5 months.  Quinn rides a Strider and is learning to ride his Trek Jet 16.  Dana rides Euterpe, a Trek 520 touring, Circe, a Masi Speciale Commuter, Green Betty, a 1952 Schwinn Corvette, and soon she’ll be adding a Babboe City Bike to the fleet! They have two trailers – a beat up old Burley and a Schwinn. They live in the Hamline-Midway neighborhood of St. Paul.

Dana has experience biking with Quinn in a trailer, including riding in the winter, biking with cargo in utero, and will soon start Daphne in the trailer and their new cargo bike.  Read what Dana has to say about time management, safety, and how “both mothers and bicyclists are expert creative and flexible problem solvers.”  (YES!)  She would like to hear from other parents about how they bike with their families, especially parents with older children and single mothers.  After you’ve read her post, if you have questions for Dana or if you have ideas for another topic for “Biking with Kidlets,” please post in the comments section below.

April 2009. Quinn's First Bike Ride, 6 months old.

When people ask me about biking with children they always have the same concerns. What about safety? Am I not afraid of traffic? What about cold/hot/rainy weather? My kid didn’t like the trailer; how did you get Quinn to go for it? While these are considerations, they are not what I would tell bike-curious mamas about. The biggest obstacle to biking with children is time, but the greatest solutions to that problem are something that both mothers and bicyclists have to have – flexibility and creative problem solving.

This has been said before and, at the risk of sounding paternalistic, no one can even fathom what it is like to have children until you have them. Seriously. I had lots of opinions about parenting and then I became a parent and I realized it is a lot more complicated. One of the many things I couldn’t comprehend is how time is different. Running errands between naps. Getting to day care before work with a child that needs time to transition. Motivating a person with no sense of time to fit into a busy schedule. Dressing another person who inevitably requires a diaper change after winter boots, hats, coat, and so on and the bike and trailer are ready to go. Everything just takes longer and there is more to do.

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Bicycle fabric

Some of you know I’m a pretty crafty person–Martha Stewart on a bicycle but with fewer tussles with the legal system (and my my standards, nicer hair and clothes). I will tell you this: cute fabric with bicycles is hard to come by. So when I saw this design by Birch Fabrics, I had to share. It’s part of a line called “Commute.” I will be buying some of the bicycle-themed patterns (the airplane doesn’t fit into my idea of a responsible daily commute, but the streetcar does) and I’ll let you know what I come up with. But that will be a while, since there are some projects in my back-log to finish first.

White fabric with printed with evenly spaced, multicolored bicycles.Coming eventually: more info on craft-based activism, or “craftivism.” There’s a long way between cute bike fabric and craftivism, but it’s a pretty rad movement and I encourage you to check it out instead of waiting for me to finish that post, since it’s been a long time in the making already. Short version: badass people using traditional artsy-craftsy things to make political and social statements.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Grease Rag NE – Tuesday, April 10th!

Hey Everyone! It’s that time of the month again – Grease Rag NE!

Grease Rag NE is this Tuesday, April 10th.

(Grease Rag NE is the second Tuesday of every month.)

Join us at 7pm at Recovery Bikes (2555 Central Ave NE)! From 7pm – 8pm we’ll be teaching a short tutorial on adjusting gears. So bring in your bike that is making noises from a block away, and we’ll get those gears shifting perfectly! From 8pm – 9pm we’ll have open shop to work on anything you’d like. Do you have any projects you want to work on?

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MBC Happy Hour Discussion: Engaging New Cyclists

April 17th, 6-8PM
The Republic 7-Corners
221 Cedar Ave. S.

I am pleased to announce that Grease Rag will be speaking on a panel with Full Cycle and Cycles for Change about “Engaging New Cyclists,” in a happy hour discussion hosted by Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition.

I (Low) will be speaking for 5-10 minutes about what we do at Grease Rag to engage new cyclists.   Joining me is a GR participant, our friend Eleonore Wesserle.  Eleonore learned how to ride a bike just last year, and I am so excited for her to share her perspectives on barriers and overcoming them.

I hope to see you at the event, come early if you’d like to take advantage of happy hour, which ends at 6pm.

Learn more by visiting the Facebook event and the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition blog post.

UPDATE 4/17/2012:  Eleonore will be celebrating her 1 year bike-iversary with a party after the Happy Hour Discussion, at Republic!  Join us in celebration!

Posted in Events, Why we bike! | 4 Comments

Riding with Kidlets- Call for contributors

Hey mamas!

We would like to start a new feature called “Riding with Kidlets,” and we need contributions from WTFs that have experience riding with children.

We want moms, aunties, caretakers, and others that ride with kids (infants to pre-teens?) to share their stories.  Your voice will provide encouragement to other childcare providers that ride or want to start riding with kids.  We know it is possible… how do you make it happen?

Although we all know a lot of spectacular dads that are out there riding with kids, we really want to hear WTFs talk about their experiences.  That said, please pass this along to WTFs you think would be interested in sharing their stories.  The more the merrier!

I am including some additional information below the break if you are interested in participating.

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Posted in Biking with Kidlets, Blog, Participate | 3 Comments

4/5 Grease Rag- Uptown

Grease Rag is this Thursday, April 5th!
(This event takes place the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month)

Wrench with us at Sunrise Cyclery (901 W. Lake St. at Bryant Ave.) 7-9PM.

GROUP RIDE!  It’s spring, and Kat is excited to lead this season’s group rides from 6-7, starting at Midtown Freewheel on the Greenway.

Grease Rag NE will be April 10th.

Grease Rag wants you to know…

Singletrack Sistahs are doing their first rides at Theo 4/9 and Hillside 4/10

Bike a little, bike a lot, bike everyday.  #30daysofbiking

Volunteer for Heart of the Beast Theatre’s May Day Parade and Festival!!  Volunteer with Grease Rag!

STICKERS are here and at Sunrise for a suggested donation of $1!  Get ’em while they’re hot.

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