“I never knew there were so many places a bike could be dirty!”: Bike maintenance in the park with All Girls Bike Camp

This summer, campers have had the chance to learn hands-on bike maintenance from local mechanic and educator Tori Bortman. Tori is the proprietor of Gracie’s Wrench, a local business that teaches clients bike mechanic and commuting skills. While not busy with Gracie’s Wrench or hosting KBOO’s Bike Show, she has also generously shared her time and enthusiasm with our All Girls Bike Camps.

During one recent visit, Tori engaged campers in activities ranging from “slow races” (to build riding and balance skills) to basic maintenance and bike cleaning. Campers especially enjoyed the bike cleaning lessons. One camper, McKenna, said “I thought all you did to clean your bike was turn on the hose!” Mikala proclaimed, “I learned how to clean my bike in the right order.” The girls learned how to extend the life of their bicycles through proper maintenance that they can do themselves.

Tori emailed us later to share her thoughts and experiences with our campers this summer, “Working with so many bright young women is a gift. Seeing the flushed faces, big grins and sense of accomplishment made my day. The number one reason given as to why they were in the camp was “because I love bikes and I wanted to be with other girls.” This is not your everyday summer camp. These girls ride away stronger and more empowered to make their way through the world.”

We are lucky to have so many local bicycle luminaries involved with this year’s camps. The All Girls Camp has also spent afternoons learning how to report the news with BikePortland editor Elly Blue and how bikes are constructed from Sweetpea’s Natalie Ramsland.

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Hours: 10am-6pm daily (fall/winter)Bike Shop Address: 1700 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

Phone: 503.287.8786