In honor of 30 Days of Biking, I decided that this month for Women Wednesday I would focus on bikey things. Sexism is rampant in the bike industry (see this story about a ridiculous lady’s mountain bike webpage that says that “female cyclists do not generally need to push their limits, race against time…they just want to enjoy the time spent in nature on their bike;” or this story about how Chrome Industry literally used women’s bodies to sell their brand), but fortunately there are a lot of brands, organizations, and shops that are fighting this and making women/trans/femme (WTF) folks feel comfortable in the cycling world.
In Minneapolis, there’s a beautiful organization called Grease Rag, which holds various events throughout the year to empower WTFs to feel safe on a bike and maintain it. They have open shops at local bike shops, where people can get free assistance to tune-up or fix their bikes. They have full moon rides, which are monthly group rides for WTFs. They hold winter bike skill shares to help empower new winter cyclists to feel comfortable on their bike in winter conditions.
QBP, an enormous bike part distributor based out of Minneapoland, gave 16 bike mechanic scholarships to women around the nation. Those women then spent 2 weeks in Oregon at the UBI’s Professional Shop Repair and Operations Workshop. This was the first all-women class for the workshop, and one of few to have a 100% pass rate!
Babes in Bikeland is a all WTF alley cat race held annually in Minneapolis. Alley cat races are ones where there is no set course, but rather a list of stops is provided at the beginning of the race; each racer then determines how they want to get to all of the stops.
Finally, there are blogs and other publications focusing on the empowerment of women in cycling. A couple that I’ve been peeping this week are Pretty Damned Fast (which I found because one of its writers was one of the 16 to receive a bike mechanic scholarship) and Bike Shop Girl (who recently did an interview with 30 Days of Biking founder Patrick Stephenson).
It’s infuriating that sexism in the cycling world continues, but thankfully there are countless people out there working to empower women and create safe spaces for them on bikes.