To celebrate International Women’s Day 2021 we have some very exciting news to share! We will soon be setting up dedicated sessions for women in Exeter to come into the Ride On workshop and learn bike maintenance skills. All experience levels are welcome and the aim of these Women’s Workshop sessions is on friendly encouragement to do something new and meet like minded people. There will be no judgement, no pressure and plenty of tea and cake!
Who are these sessions for?
We want these sessions to be as inclusive as possible whilst providing a needed place for underrepresented groups of people in bicycle mechanics to come and have a go. They are aimed at anybody who identifies as a woman, or has a non-binary gender identity. This could mean transgender any of the many other various identities which are not ‘male’ or ‘female’ in the traditional sense. We want to be absolutely clear that we include women of colour, trans women, non-binary people and any other women who may feel discriminated against in some areas of feminism. We want to create an inclusive space, full of enthusiasm and friendly encouragement for trying something new.
Why have sessions aimed just for women?
Growing up, women aren’t typically encouraged to fix bikes or given access to knowledge about mechanics in general. As a result, women can feel like they can’t fix things for themselves, or think it’s a man’s domain. All this can also be true for people with gender-variant identities. When the majority of mechanics are men, it can be hard to step outside of the comfort zone and into their shoes to give it a go. We want to create a women-led space where you are empowered to learn about your bike, share what you know (or just get on with it yourself!), all without the pressure and machismo that sometimes exists in male populated spaces. We hope to encourage more women out on their bikes regularly, and for their bikes to be in better condition and nicer to ride, to build towards Ride On’s aim of a healthier, greener Exeter.
We also want this to be a community and social space, where women can come together to do something they may have never done before in a space free of judgement and pressure. Women and men learn differently, so being women-led and for women specifically, we aim to address this so that the workshops are valuable and specific to those who come along. Whether it is to learn a new skill or have a space to do a skill they are already passionate about but might feel like they don’t have an outlet for at present.
What can I expect?
We will finalise the date and time of the first session over the next few weeks. Sessions will be around 2 hours long and include a mix of a structured, mechanic-led lesson about a certain skill and some free time to use what you learn on your own bike, or address any other issues you might want to learn. Participants are encouraged to bring their own bike along to the session to work on, but don’t worry if you don’t have a bike yet or are looking for a new one, as we have a good selection at Ride On that can also be used. It is good to get to know your own bike first so whatever you learn is specific to that bike. We have all tools required available for use in the Ride On workshop, and parts are available to purchase as required.
Places will be strictly limited at first due to distancing restrictions, but we hope these will ease over the summer so we can gradually open up more places. Keep an eye on our social media channels for further updates on the Women’s Workshop and how you can get involved. If you have any questions or would like to know more about the Women’s Workshop then you can email [email protected] for more information.