January 19, 2011

Ladies Night…alone.

By Elisa | 5 Comments »

(image from here)


The 3rd Wednesday of every month is ladies night at Bici.  Just me and our trusty (and very nice, in a not creepy way) mechanic Tyree hanging out at the shop, trying to make it easier for ladies to feel comfortable.

So far, we are averaging about 0 ladies per month.  One month was really exciting and we had 2 ladies come in! Most of the time it is just he and I, working on my bike or chatting about life.  Which is lovely, but WHERE THE LADIES AT?!

Coming to a bike coop or collective can be totally daunting, no doubt.  Ladies night is a chance to not worry about that.  We rarely have ladies on regular shop nights, so we thought this might be a good plan.  Still hardly any ladies. Which makes me ask: why aren’t more ladies in Birmingham trying to learn about biking?  I would like to think that they all already know how to fix their bikes and are at home in their garage shops wrenching away, but I suspect that is not the case.  Every time I go the local bike shops I see ladies taking their bikes in for flat tires or to have bar tape wrapped.

I personally love ladies night, even when no other ladies show up.  I can learn from the mechanic free of any insecurity or fear.  No bike shop hipster boys around to make me feel silly when I say “It’s just shifting kind of janky when I really crank down on it.” or “This thingy is acting weird.” More time to learn exactly how to do it and feel empowered to actually get dirty and get it done.  I learn so much on ladies night.  Just tonight I put on new brake levers and bar tape, learning about cables and tension in the process.

Would the ladies in the local bike shop rather pay someone to do it?  Are they still intimidated by our shop?  Do they even care?

Folks, what are your thoughts?  This is a mystery I would like to clear.

We don't bite!

Enjoyed This Post? Share with others:
digg | stumble | del.icio.us


  1. On January 19th, 2011 Bethany said:

    I would be there if I lived anywhere nearby!

  2. On January 20th, 2011 lowrah said:

    I would love to talk more about this!

    I co-organize a WTF (women/ trans/ femme, hehe) open shop night at Sunrise Cyclery, a local bike shop in Minneapolis. We do this night on the first and third Thursdays of the month, and have been meeting regularly since July 2009.

    Grease Rag Ride & Wrench can be found here: http://www.greasragmpls.wordpress.com

    Attendance varies widely from 0, to 15. (15 WTFs to the 3 stands and one female mechanic is considered a hoppin’ night.)

    One thing that affects attendance here is the weather. Although more and more people are winter riding, our event tonight might be sparse because of the massive arctic system moving through. =]

    Another thing that I’ve hypothesized affects attendance is the nature of the event. “Open shop” is not a seminar/ skill-share, so the people that come might only come when they have a problem with their bike, not just to hang out or observe. I also think that the nature of the event might intimidate some people into thinking they already need to know something about their bike to come in. (Not true at all!!)

    I have other thoughts and theories, too. One thing you might want to try is to put a page up on the Bici website! A button right on the front that says: Women and Trans Night!

    If you ever want to chat, I hope you’ll send me an email or something. The more of us putting our heads together, the better.

    Rubber side down,

  3. On January 21st, 2011 stephanie m said:

    i keep up with your bike-capades and i even got a fix-er-up-er bike from the coop. i will admit i’ve been thinking about coming to the ladies night just to get the bike fixed up and ready for spring. it’s sort of intimidating going alone (even though i know you will be there). also for someone who doesn’t ever ride, getting a bike into my car, in the cold and driving down to the shop – that just seems like a daunting task. (i’m a wuss, i know).

    maybe i’ll just get over it and do it already.

    i hope ladies night isn’t cut before i get the nerve to show up!

  4. On January 21st, 2011 Kara said:

    I wanna go and hang out! I do know there is a ladies night at my local bike co-op, after reading this I need to commit to going.

  5. On February 17th, 2011 caetee said:

    I am totally down for this! I didn’t even know anything like this was happening. I live literally a few blocks away and wouldn’t mind learning how to fix my piece of crap bike. I think I just missed the one for Feb. but I will definitely put the one for March on my calendar.

RSS feed for coments on this post
Both comments and pings are currently closed.

No public Twitter messages. You Should Follow Me on Twitter
  • Things We Believe In