by Johanna Bleecker
What: Women/trans/queer only open bike repair night
Where: New Hope Community Bikes, 1422 Main St. E at Kenilworth
When: July 21st 6-9pm (drop in anytime), and the third Tuesday of every month after, same time
Why: Because bike shops can be intimidating, insensitive places and we want to change that! You can read more about the “why” here if you’d like.
Back in the winter, I wrote on this blog about starting a women/trans/queer* only bike repair class at New Hope Community Bikes, a local Hamilton nonprofit bike shop focused on cycling and bike repair education. The monthly course became one of the most successful programs at New Hope, with consistently strong registration and attendance–even more so than the version of the course which is open to all genders.
Clearly, there was a need for this kind of supportive space centered around bike repair. But I knew from the beginning that the course wasn’t for everyone. Some people already have the bike repair knowledge that the course provides, or may not want to or be able to pay the $25 fee, or just may want to work on a smaller repair without doing the full three-hour course. So in addition to continuing to offer the course on the first Tuesday of every month (registration for the next one, on August 4th, can be found here), there will also be a women/trans/queer only open shop night on the third Tuesday of each month.
This is an extension of what New Hope Community Bikes already does day-to-day, where people are welcome to drop in and use the shop’s stands, tools, and volunteers to work on their own bikes, but in a welcoming, supportive environment for those who might feel intimidated or uncomfortable in the usual male-dominated space of a bike shop. This is a more casual, affordable option compared to the course, and will be good for those who want to work on a specific issue rather than taking the full three-hour course.
We’ve had one open shop night so far and it went great–lots of learning, laughter, and encouragement all around, and we even got written up in the Hamilton Spectator as part of their Pride Week coverage.
Come work on your bike using our stands, tools, and knowledgeable volunteers/staff in a fun, supportive environment, or just come to help or hang out! No pre-registration or previous bike knowledge required, just drop in anytime from 6-9pm. We ask that you pay for parts (we have a large selection of $5 used parts) but it’s a pay-what-you-can donation for shop time–we suggest $5-$10/hour depending on how much help you need, but it’s totally up to you. If you’d like to volunteer on this night we’d love that as well–no previous bike knowledge needed for that either!
*Queer is being used as a positive umbrella term for the community of folks who are either not cisgender and/or not heterosexual.
When Johanna’s not busy mastering the art of mind blowing vegan snacks, she works as the Education & Community Outreach Coordinator for New Hope Community Bikes.
Illustration by Meredith Park