Every Monday evening from 6pm to 9pm, suggested donation £3-5 per session, but no one turned away due to lack of funds.
Sick of paying for repairs, want to know more, or just tired of that squeaking sound that your chain keeps making? This is for you! Bring your bike to fix, clean or just to give it a check over. This is an open workshop session run by women for women, to share knowledge of bicycle maintenance in a friendly, informal atmosphere and through learning by doing.
If you don’t have your own bike, or your bike is in perfect condition, you are still welcome to come by – there are plenty of bikes at the Project that need fixing up and you can work or learn on these. Of course, if you work on bikes for the project, there is no charge.
This is an open workshop, so drop in any time between 6pm and 9pm, no need to book a space.
We have a large selection of 2nd hand parts here at the Project that you can purchase. If you know you need new tyres or brake pads please bring your own before coming.
Why a Women-Only Space?
Because it is important to be able to fix your own bike and not to have to rely on favours of male friends or the often quite expensive bike shop. The knowledge of mechanics has been historically gendered and segregated – that is, men (and boys) are encouraged to pursue technical and mechanical activities while women (and girls) are discouraged. As such, women are often seen as unable to use tools and hence not trusted to use them. Women are perfectly capable of carrying out mechanical tasks and it is very important for them to have the space to learn new skills and practice existing skills without assumptions about ability based on gender.
Because Feminism is not a dirty word, and sexism is still something that many women experience on a regular basis. Sexism is about how women are treated in society and their need to find spaces where the agenda, tone, atmosphere and debate isn’t always defined by men. It’s about finding space where women feel comfortable to speak, to express themselves, work together and find ways, and the mutual support needed, to challenge the oppression that women experience.
“A couple of years ago, I was at The Bristol Bike Project at a beginner’s bike mechanics evening class that my friend was teaching. I pretty much only knew how to change a flat tyre and put my chain back on if it fell off the chain rings. Thanks partly to Bristol Bike Project generally, and especially the women’s night there, I got totally hooked, and had a welcoming and non-intimidating space to volunteer fixing bikes for project users, and sharing knowledge with other mechanics on various stages on the road to ‘knowledge’. Twelve months later, I had thrown myself into it, worked really hard, and found myself at a skill level where I could get paid work as a mechanic and now work full time for a bike shop in London fixing up donated bikes for sale, and I love it! I have also started an open workshop session especially for women and gender-variant people at London Bike Kitchen. It’s a bit like the Women’s night at Bristol Bike Project, which was an important space for me to start to learn mechanics in, so hopefully it can help do that for other people too.” – Fenn