Time to reflect a bit as the days get cooler and shorter. Though I regret not having spent more time at the Velodrome race track this year, as I knew it was the last year before another one gets built, I was very fortunate at Cherry Cycles to meet some awesome new folks. In past years, Cherry has hosted up and coming race teams such as Valkyrie. This year we worked even harder to share the love.
Early spring Valkyrie Collective Racing hosted femme/trans/women’s indoor bike training due in large part to the new club president Kristy Crouse (below on left). Many miles were ridden in the climate controlled basement of the shop! Once the weather got warmer, I did some bike fitting for racer, Paige Scheller (the right) who rode 100 miles on gravel for the Dirty Kanza. So impressive to hear what Valkyrie can do!
After getting to know Louis Moore, the President of Major Taylor Bike Club for African American Cyclists at the Cycling Museum of Minnesota’s talk I was thrilled. Learning about their origins with women fundraising and riding an AIDS bike ride then partnering with more experience and dedicated riders to form a club 20 years ago, I wanted these folks to feel encouraged by bike shop support. I worked on bikes of folks for bike touring, commuting, and transporting kids to and fro. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting them at their 20 year anniversary event which included rides and even a visit to the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum & Gallery!
Another delightful connection came when getting to know the Cycle Sisters. Organized By Kristel Porter (pictured below on left), an amazing person with enviable energy and dedication to getting and keeping more women on bikes in her community in North Minneapolis as well as helping save the planet! Cherry stored the group ride fleet and hosted a fix a bike session where I met other women who were working to support veterans, turn auto painting skills to bikes, and encourage their own daughters and sons to ride. The Cycle Sister group rides continue to look exceedingly fun!
The spirited Koochella Racing agreed to do some events and collaboration with Cherry Cycles too! As well established race team they managed to quadruple the number of femme/trans/women racers within just few years with support, encouragement, and expertise. I got to see first hand the social media skills of the fantastic Bri Whitcraft before, during, and after some awesome events! (Pictured below between two teammates) Koochella was kind enough to start their summer group rides at Cherry and even their Koochella Classic Brunch race introducing a number of new folks to the shop. I am excited to see what other collaborations can bring for us next year.
Even in my introvert comfort zone I was able to build relationships and meet some new folks. Grease Rag open shops and Queer Open shops have continued on though with lowered attendance. I hope this means that folks are starting to be more welcomed into bike shops and don’t feel the need to seek out more intentional safer spaces! I’ve greatly appreciated getting to know the facilitators better and have felt good hosting these events. I hope to do more during next spring and summer. Stay tuned for more events!