Patriarchy and Bicycle Repair
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The bike world, like almost everything else, has a lot to do with gender -- men and women have different kinds of experience in it. Bike repair, in particular is extremely male dominated. A typical scenario in a shop is an all male team of mechanics who tend to treat women paternalistically, presuming what they need, and giving them much more help than they do men. Much of this reflects some inappropriate attitudes held by both men and women, as well as the structure of the cycling industry.
Bicycle Collectives should be breaking down class, race and gender barriers in bike repair, so it is important (especially since most of you are likely to be men) to be aware of these issues. Try to be aware of what type of help you are giving to whom (particularly when you do the work for them), and why.
A common response within the radical cyclist / mechanic community is Women-Only and WTF safer spaces. While not a perfect solution, they have a strong history of helping with the common conundrum of the gender binary and how it affects the cycling world.
how to make bike collectives more accessible to a wider variety of people
- access to basic food
- if music, multicultural music
- pedagogically-oriented learning environment
- value all work, including admin work
- safer space training for core volunteers
- upholding clear shop guidelines and boundaries for appropriate behavior
- providing an option for clearly defined volunteer tasks
- informative, accessible website
- have contact info for a mediator available
- physical shop safety
- being predictably and punctually open
- having a functioning, physical land line telephone in the shop