The Femme Bike Mechanic

29 06 2012

Bike shop culture is changing (though not fast enough if you ask me)! No longer a boys club, women are stepping up and fixing bikes, and doing it our style.

How to spot a femme bike mechanic:

  • Purse is super heavy because it’s full of tools and tubes, you know, just in case.
  • Wardrobe is chosen on the basis of how well the clothes will hide bike grease. Skirts are chosen on the basis of how easy it would be to test ride an oversized diamond frame while wearing it.
  • When teaching people how to mount a tire, uses an analogy about pulling on tights or pantyhose if they get frustrated.

When this happens, it’s not a bother, not even a little.

  • Has a personal nail brush stashed at the shop.
  • When getting ready for a BikeWorks dance party, nail polish is chosen on the basis of how well it will camouflage the dirt under the nails.
  • Speaking of nail polish, possesses colours that were chosen to match bikes to touch up paint first, and go all matchy-matchy second.
  • Despite the above, still knows which hand cleaner’s the best.
  • Can recommend a saddle that’s actually comfortable for a woman.
  • At the salon, requests a haircut that will look good after being windblown on a bike – “My bicycle is my blow-dryer.”
  • Never scoffs at the idea of putting a chain guard, fenders, kickstand, etc. on any bike.
  • Bike shorts under skirt.
  • Gets a little irate every time someone walks into the bike shop and asks for advice from the dude she’s helping and ignores her.
  • Gets slightly more irate when greasy-handed, apron-clad, and the sole person in the shop, someone walks in and asks her where the mechanic is.
  • Knows every trick for increasing leverage but never strips a bolt.
  • Talks about spoke nipples, lube, and male and female parts without blinking.
  • Like gender pioneers in other male dominated fields, has to be twice as competent to get half the respect.

So, to all the dudely dudes out there turning wrenches, get ready, because the ladies are coming to shake up the bike shop backrooms!

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4 responses

6 07 2012
Karen

I use a colourful cloth tube under my helmet to keep my curls from frizzing out on my bike commutes. The nail polish – great idea!

I keep a spare purse and cloth shopping bag at work (a downtown office), for when I make daytime excursions but don’t want to haul the bike pannier around.

6 07 2012
Bike to Work

“Knows every trick for increasing leverage but never strips a bolt.” Great line – this gives me something to aspire to. Thanks for writing this post.

10 07 2012
l

You should see the look of incredulity on the faces of my office colleagues (of both sexes …. especially the males) when they caught me, for the first time, doing some basic bike maintenance when they dropped by at my home (on some weekends and without giving me prior notice). They did not expect a female to dabble in this even when I told them that it was /had always been my ‘hobby’ (that relaxes me).
l

4 05 2014
sonoracycles

It is nice to finally see a woman so passionate about bikes, nonetheless, spinning the ratchet. I have my own bike shop and my g/f, though supportive of my work, just cannot grasp the mechanical end of it. She is a very good sales woman though, if not for her I’d be giving the bikes away and is she pushy, in a pleasant way. Keep it up and great site!

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