Empowerment and Women’s Basic Bicycle Maintenance
Riding a bicycle regularly can be a very empowering experience. The realization that you can transport yourself most places you need to go, using your own bodily power, is incredible. For many, the natural progression of this empowerment is to learn how to fix their own bicycle.
We offer a variety of bike maintenance classes at our shop, focused on a range of skill levels. This includes Basic Bicycle Maintenance for Women, a class that teaches maintenance skills in a friendly all-female environment. Sarah Mirk, a reporter for the Portland Mercury, took the class last year and said “it was great to get my hands dirty while I learned the ins and outs of my bike. I was able to ask all the stupid questions I’ve been afraid to ask my bro-mechanic friends for years.”
The current session of this five week class is being taught by one of our expert staff mechanics, Alice Pennington. Alice has been a mechanic for many years, in addition to being a competitive bike racer. She acknowledges that, for many women, being in an all-female class is a more comfortable place to learn and ask questions. One current participant, Sara, explained, “It’s just less intimidating [being in an all-female class]… coming into the bike shop, with all the guys who know about their bikes, it’s a bit much.”
We visited class during the lesson on proper cleaning of your bike. Participants were scrubbing off layers of dirt, adding grease, and getting familiar with the inner workings of their bicycles. Trish, a lawyer who bike commutes daily, was having a blast. “I love this class so much, it’s super fun,” she said. “It just makes me feel more confident riding my bike, because I know that if something happens, I can take care of it…I’m just having fun, it’s a good excuse to get my hands dirty.”
There are still slots available in the next session of Women’s Basic Bicycle Maintenance, beginning on October 31st. Sign up now and begin learning the proper care and cleaning of your bicycle.
Photo by Nickey Robare