Funded cycle mechanics training for women, trans* and non-binary folk

by 164

We all know that the bike industry has been a very male dominated arena, and while that’s changing, progress remains slow. Projects and funding aimed at under-represented groups seek to redress the balance, and we’ve perhaps seen a greater number of projects aimed at getting people into bikes in the last couple of years. Back in 2016, Trek launched a similar course aimed at women in the USA and some corners of the internet took it rather badly.

Five years on Broken Spoke Bike Coop who is running this project thinks it’s the first time a course like this has run in the UK. After five years of progress (maybe?), let’s hope the social media comments are more reasoned. We live in hope.

Here’s the press release in full:

In a first for the cycling industry in the UK, Broken Spoke Bike Coop, a community cycle project in Oxford, has secured funding to train a group of women, trans* and non-binary folk up to Cytech 2 level, with ongoing mentoring and support. 

Cytech training for women, trans and non binary

These newly qualified mechanics will then form the backbone of Broken Spoke’s work with women, trans* and non-binary folk; supporting Beryl’s Night (their free monthly workshop sessions for women, trans* and non-binary folk), engaging in the other community programmes in our workshop, and running outreach with the wider community in Oxford.

Inês Rahtz, Community and Workshop Coordinator at Broken Spoke said “It’s quite a big moment for us, and the cycling industry as a whole. The cycling industry has a massive gender diversity (and diversity in general) problem, and we’re fed up. When most mechanics in bike shops are cis-men, it creates a kind of hierarchy of knowledge, where the men fix the bikes and teach others. Broken Spoke and Beryl’s night have been working hard to do away with the hierarchies and barriers that women and marginalised genders face, and this opportunity is a chance for us to deepen that work and get real about standing up to the problem, and home-grow the future of our industry.

She continued, “We’ve been lucky to have support from close allies at Active Oxfordshire, to start funding this important piece of work. I hope this inspires  other funders and projects to do something similar.

Josh Lenthall, from Active Oxfordshire said “rates of cycling, active travel and those working in the cycling industry are significantly lower amongst females, trans* and non-binary people – a pattern that needs to be broken. Projects like this begin to close that gap and enable people to be included in an activity that provides such freedom and benefits to its participants. Active Oxfordshire is delighted to be supporting this work with funding from Oxfordshire County Council via the Emergency Active Travel fund.

This follows on from the recent scheme Broken Spoke launched in August to offer heavily subsidised Cycle Training sessions (also funded by Active Oxfordshire) to people living in and around, as well as those impacted by, the Cowley Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (Church Cowley, Temple Cowley and Florence Park). This scheme offers the one-to-one 2 hour sessions, normally priced at £90, for just £9.

Cytech training for women, trans and non binary

The scheme particularly encouraged women and people of colour who face higher barriers to cycling to sign up for these sessions. Participants could be completely new to cycling, returning to cycling after a long break, or experienced cyclists wanting to gain additional skills and confidence. Cost is often a barrier for people wanting to gain confidence cycling as adults (Oxfordshire County Council offers free cycle training for children in primary schools), so to encourage people to switch from driving to cycling for short journeys, confidence on the roads is key.

Kat, a volunteer who helps run Beryl’s nights said “Beryl’s Night, provides a space for us to explore and develop our mechanical skills in a low pressure and supportive environment, has been an amazing resource in Oxford. We’ve empowered each other to take the narrative of the bike industry being cis male dominated, and dismantle it. I’m really excited about this training pathway and the new mechanics that will join our community!”The training will be led by Lucy Greaves, a Bristol-based cycle mechanic working at Bristol Bike Project. Lucy is an inspiring advocate for getting more women, trans* and non-binary folk into workshops. If you’re interested in applying or know someone who is, you can find out more on Broken Spoke’s website here.


Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 164 total)
  • Funded cycle mechanics training for women, trans* and non-binary folk
  • Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    This is a good thing.
    Both the project itself and STW for using it’s platform to share the news.

    Premier Icon stevious
    Full Member

    I agree with Matt ^^

    Also, I had no idea about the use of the asterisk in trans* so took the chance to look it up. It’s nice to learn.

    Premier Icon Josh
    Free Member

    It’s a yes from me.

    Good job.

    I also did not know about the asterix, noted.

    Premier Icon PJM1974
    Free Member

    This is a good thing.
    Both the project itself and STW for using it’s platform to share the news.

    100% agree here, good work all round.

    Premier Icon kuco
    Full Member

    This is great, I was showing a young lady at work who is pretty shy and falls under LGBT and this would have been good for her. She had a bad experience at a local bike shop once and was reluctant to go back to them and asked if I could show her some basic maintenance skills so she could maintain her bike herself. Even gave her some spare tools to help her out and now she’s confident in most of the basic stuff to keep her own bike going.

    Premier Icon Hannah Dobson
    Full Member

    Thank you for the supportive comments here. Meanwhile on Facebook, it’s clear how far the riding community has yet to come.

    Premier Icon Houns
    Full Member

    Yes the knuckle draggers are out in force on FB 😒

    Premier Icon Mike McTimoney
    Free Member

    Meanwhile on Facebook, it’s clear how far the riding community has yet to come.

    I was just about to comment on the FB comments.

    This is a great initiative; well done to them and to STW for promoting it.

    Premier Icon Michaela
    Full Member

    Awesome article, thanks for this Hannah.

    Premier Icon pictonroad
    Full Member

    I reported some of the comments on Facebook but they’ve  found that they ‘don’t go against their community standards’. I suppose that tells us all we need to know about Facebook.

    Good article, thank you for promoting it.

    Premier Icon monkeyboyjc
    Full Member

    This is great – FB is a sad place at the moment….

    Premier Icon whonickedmename
    Full Member

    Ditto the above – great initiative and saddened to see the FB responses. Roll on more inclusivity!

    Premier Icon IHN
    Full Member

    Serious Q – Given that STW Towers decided to block links to the Daily Mail, because they felt that it’s editorial policies were too much at odds with their corporate stance/culture, have they thought about pulling their Facebook presence, given that it’s been shown many times to not really GAF about what people post, and the comments under this article are just another example?

    Spoken as a hypocrite who checks FB regularly, obviously.

    Premier Icon that-looks-sketchy
    Free Member

    Discrimination on the basis of gender identity is illegal in the UK. How can this particular discrimination be justified in law? Why can certain identities be discriminated against. I believe that this project is unlawful.

    Premier Icon Josh
    Free Member

    Well it was nice while it lasted.

    If you had read the article, even glanced at it… You’d maybe see why you are so very wrong?

    Premier Icon Tom Howard
    Full Member

    Classy first post.

    Premier Icon that-looks-sketchy
    Free Member

    Interesting Josh, so you appear to argue that discrimination on the basis of one’s gender or allocated skin colour is a positive move. I think that a person should be judged on the quality of their character, not socially constructed identifiers designed to exclude. But, id you would like to promote discrimination then that is your lawful right of free speech… I just think that discrimination is wrong.

    Premier Icon swavis
    Full Member

    Appropriate user name…

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Full Member

    Is it time for a “real name” policy on this forum? Or some other way of ensuring genuine users can chat without the fresh account troll for laughs pollution?

    Premier Icon timmys
    Full Member

    I just think that discrimination is wrong.

    Could I hazard a guess that you would also like to tell us that “All Live Matter”.

    Premier Icon kuco
    Full Member

    Well, it was nice while it lasted before it went the usual way down the STW drain.

    Premier Icon Tom Howard
    Full Member

    @that-looks-sketchy. They offer courses for everyone (it’s just the are talking about the women’s etc one here), thus not discriminating.

    Back under your bridge.

    Premier Icon Josh
    Free Member

    Interesting Josh, so you appear to argue that discrimination on the basis of one’s gender or allocated skin colour is a positive move

    Are you suggesting scholarships are discriminating to wealthy people?

    The funding is to remove a barrier for a community that is underrepresented. Is there anything preventing you taking a training course in bike maintenance?

    Premier Icon fadda
    Full Member

    Sketchy will be one of the FB-ers who decided spouting their nonsensical rubbish should not be restricted to FB…

    Premier Icon that-looks-sketchy
    Free Member

    Look- it’s simple.
    Stop arguing and use the brain that you clearly have.
    I don’t care who fixes my bike, their “race” or “identity” as if such things existed (except in the minds of racists or other bigots.)

    Read Martin Luther King’s speech.

    I’m saying that any discrimination is both wrong and illegal.

    Oxon cc are are branch of government breaking the law, in this case.

    And, yes BLM matter because ALM. It’s not one socially constructed identity is superior to another . Grow up. We are one humanity and to drive division between us is evil.

    Get on your bike and ride and keep your discrimination out of my throat.

    Premier Icon ditch_jockey
    Full Member

    I think that a person should be judged on the quality of their character

    I’m certainly judging you on the quality of yours 😂

    Premier Icon that-looks-sketchy
    Free Member

    Sure thing bigot. You believe discrimination is good and I think it’s evil. You are entitled to believe that discrimination is good. That’s the beauty of free speech. I’ll not convince you that equality matters,it’s clear. It’simpossible to reason with the unreasonable…Chamberlain found that out the hard way. Discriminate and break the law as you will,,,

    Premier Icon pictonroad
    Full Member

    Can we all collectively agree to ignore that? ^ it will get bored and go away eventually

    Premier Icon Josh
    Free Member

    I’ll try once more sketchy.

    This is not negative exclusion of anyone. It is the positive inclusion of a section of society that is often missing,not just in the shops but it general cycling the numbers are still very very white male. I have female friends and colleagues who have felt uncomfortable in bikes shops before while the shop keeper kept answering their questions to the male companion. Hell I’ve had to point out it wasn’t me buying the bloody bike and they should redirect their attention.

    You are ofcourse entirely correct that people should be judged on their skills and abilities.

    However if we just do that from now on How do you break down the engrained issues, if every shop is majority men how to you promote more women applying?

    Ofcourse I might be totally off message. As someone who has a penis and feels like someone who has a penis and is attracted to people with vaginas that so far have felt that is their identity all these issues I have to open my ears to because I can only learn from others. I’ve never felt that I shouldn’t strive for what I want and I know sometimes competitors may get an external edge not available to me but so what? It’s not a personal attack on me it’s not a personal attack on people who look like me or feel like I do?

    I think it’s ace, i think single-track is great and I believe it’s better for it’s mix of contributors than most magazines. I know nothing about any of their gender identies or sexual preferences it’s just a better feeling place than most and I want that everywhere.

    One thing I do know about single-track employees. Never be behind Charlie in a morning queue for the portaloos at a single speed UK we vent.

    Edit: that last post is a belter, I knew I was wasting my time typing that, ah well.

    Premier Icon desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    Came here to say how utterly clueless and moronic those facebookers are who think promoting events for minorities is discrimination. And it seems to be their one unifying complaint that makes them puff up their feathers and feel all righteous!
    Then I scrolled up. Brilliant.

    Premier Icon Steve
    Full Member

    This is not negative exclusion of anyone. It is the positive inclusion of a section of society that is often missing

    Brilliantly put.

    Premier Icon Oblongbob
    Full Member

    Well said jv

    Premier Icon Stu S
    Free Member

    Thank you for the supportive comments here. Meanwhile on Facebook, it’s clear how far the riding community has yet to come.

    Facebook has become a proper cesspool. I wouldn’t pay attention to owt that goes on there.

    Premier Icon Steve
    Full Member

    Facebook has become a proper cesspool. I wouldn’t pay attention to owt that goes on there.

    Sadly not just on Facebook, from reports at a trans and intersex workshop I attended through work yesterday are anything to go by.

    The silent majority need to speak up more and slap down those still living in the dark ages, though that may be doing a disservice to the dark ages.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Full Member

    Discrimination on the basis of gender identity is illegal in the UK. How can this particular discrimination be justified in law? Why can certain identities be discriminated against. I believe that this project is unlawful.

    Another way to look at it is this scheme redresses existing discrimination, lots of groups are under represented in cycling and it’s related industries, put off (not unreasonably) by a somewhat male dominated culture. Are you going to deny that?

    As a straight, white, middle-aged, middle class individual I don’t feel discriminated against, I very much doubt I would have trouble accessing any training for a role in the cycling industry or find my gender identity any sort of barrier to employment or participation, I already enjoy a defacto, discriminatory advantage in almost all areas of life.

    Those who believe in actual equality look for ways to help raise everyone up to the same rights and privileges that often means looking for the underrepresented groups and making additional efforts to include and motivate them, not lazily defend an already skewed status quo with the pretense that we already enjoy “equal opportunity” when that is patently not true.

    Premier Icon reeksy
    Free Member

    So gutted to see the response to this on FB. Such a different tone to the vast majority of forum commenters.

    Over the last year I’ve spent a fair bit of time working on engagement projects with ‘diverse’ groups. It’s been amazing and eye opening.

    The best rebuttal I can think of to people that just can’t seem to comprehend that this isn’t discrimination, it’s about seeking equity is to use a cartoon.

    Premier Icon Daffy
    Full Member

    The approach is great. The title of the article (and others I’ve seen) is poor.

    I’d imagine that many aren’t reading the article before commenting.

    The title would have you believe that it’s just offering a boon to one disenfranchised group while excluding others. In reality, the paid-for-training is only a tiny fraction of what the approach is trying to do. It’s that bit that’s the most important, but the title focuses on the funding and the group, not in any way how it means to address the inequality in a systematic way.

    We’ve had similar problems in Enginnering where women are under-represented. We promote women to management positions, to achieve equality at a career level, but never leverage those women and their achievements to encourage more women into aerospace, except within the company and by that point it’s too late, people made their choices a long time ago and women in engineering is still 10% (at most) of the workforce.

    They need to be outside, engaged with universities (schools really) to encourage others by example. The above approach does exactly this. The exception in aerospace which proves the point was/is Grazzia Vittadini – she’s a great example of this. Highly skilled, highly competent, a great communicator and a great promoter.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Similarly we had online harrasment when we advertised 7 trainee Jobs for under 25s, targeted at under represented groups who work in outdoor education.

    We too were told our (government funded) scheme was illegal under age discrimination and race discrimination.

    I couldn’t care less – we’ve the most amazing team on that project now, who have well earned the job, and I expect some of them will go on to continue to alter the near dominance of white, male, straight and Christian heritage workers in the outdoor industry.

    STW and projects like this, keep it up and ignore the negativity.

    Premier Icon oldschool
    Full Member

    This is not negative exclusion of anyone. It is the positive inclusion of a section of society that is often missing

    Well said Josh. It should be this hard though should it. But. Idiots will be idiots.

    Premier Icon desperatebicycle
    Free Member

    Sadly not just on Facebook

    Yes, unfortunately some take reading shit like this online as validation for such views and then spout it out of their mouths in conversation.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 164 total)

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