BikeWorks volunteer

Women, Trans and Gender Non-Binary Program

We greatly value the importance of welcoming and supporting all people at BikeWorks. BikeWorks should be a safe place for anyone to visit regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, nationality, language, or ability. EBC actively addresses any behaviour that is disrespectful towards any shop user. All patrons, volunteers, and staff must treat all other shop users with respect.

In an effort to make our space more inviting and inclusive every day of the week, we offer a program on 1st, 3rd, and 5th Sundays of each month for women, trans and non-binary persons at BikeWorks South. During this program, the shop is operated by women, trans and non-binary persons.

Those who identify as women, trans or gender non-binary individuals are welcome to participate in our Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program by dropping-in. Pre-registration is not necessary, and the program is unstructured: you can bring your bike to work on it and learn, and you can also purchase used bikes or bike parts. The volunteers will be happy to help you based on your individual goals. Regular shop fees apply.

The purpose of our Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program is to promote balance by creating a safe, welcoming space for learning, socializing and fixing bikes. Women, trans and non-binary persons are under-represented as cyclists and in the world of bike repair; studies show a 3:1 ratio of male to female cyclists, and the numbers are even more imbalanced in the world of bike repair.

Mechanical repair has traditionally been a male-dominated field. Bike repair shops are often staffed entirely by male mechanics, and genders may be treated differently, sometimes in subtle ways. Differences in treatment could include:

  • assumptions that women need more help than men, to the detriment of both
  • failure to explain the nature of technical problems to women (making the assumption that women won’t understand or are not interested)
  • comments about a person’s appearance

Our Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program helps reduce barriers to bringing more women, trans and non-binary persons into our shop, which helps EBC to train & recruit non-male mechanics for public shop days, making those days more welcoming for everyone.

If you do not identify as woman, trans or non-binary, you can support this important initiative by:

  • respecting the space and not entering during the Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program
  • learning about the types of oppression (both obvious and subtle) that people may experience
  • being cognizant of how your actions can affect others
  • talking to others about the issues behind the Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program

Sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination can be obvious or subtle, neither of which are acceptable. The offending person may not even realize that their behaviour is inappropriate. All shop users are responsible for helping to make BikeWorks an inclusive space. In all cases, volunteers can help to combat discrimination at BikeWorks by:

  • welcoming all patrons to BikeWorks
  • helping all patrons equally, being conscious of who you help, for how long and why
  • letting everyone develop their own skills, and assist only where a task is too difficult for the member
  • offering assistance in a respectful way if a patron looks confused or uncomfortable
  • respecting personal space (do not touch shop users you do not know personally)

If you encounter discrimination or behaviour that makes you uncomfortable:

  • if you are comfortable doing so, respectfully intervene by telling the person that you feel they are being disrespectful and would like them to stop
  • regardless of if you intervene or not, report the incident, including the date, time and those involved to the BikeWorks Manager, or, if you’d prefer, any member of the Board of Directors

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do women, trans and non-binary persons have a special program? Don’t women already receive equal treatment?

A: We have strong policies supporting equitable treatment for all our patrons and volunteers.

Sadly, gender-based discrimination still pervades all social spaces, and BikeWorks is still a part of that broader community. We are not interested in preventing those who may harbour (knowingly or unknowingly) discriminatory attitudes from using our shop; we are interested in ensuring that when anybody uses our shop, they are respectful to everyone and aware of the power of their actions.

Because everyone is welcome, and because some of the gender-based assumptions we carry are deeply ingrained, we may still see examples of behaviour from patrons and volunteers, including:

  • double-checking the work of a female mechanic with a male mechanic
  • asking to speak with a mechanic (making the assumption that a female volunteer must not be a mechanic)
  • referring to female mechanics in a diminutive or condescending manner (e.g. the phrase “lovely lady”, while appropriate in some contexts, is usually belittling in the context of the bike shop)
  • interrupting non-male mechanics while they are explaining technical matters
  • making remarks about non-male volunteers’ or patrons’ appearance
  • making sexual advances on patrons or volunteers
  • taking tools out of the hands of non-male patrons

None of this behaviour is acceptable, from anyone of any gender or directed towards anyone. But we cannot simply pretend that it doesn’t still happen. Our Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program is just one part of a larger strategy we have to address these issues. Anti-discrimination training in tandem with strong policies, and active recruitment of non-male volunteers for other programs are also part of our solution. Our goal is to make the shop a space where no group ever dominates to the detriment of others, while encouraging underrepresented or marginalized groups to fully participate in cycling and bike repair.

We look forward to the day when our Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program will not be necessary, but for now, they help us to address real and ongoing issues.

Q: Isn’t separating a group of people based on race, gender, class, etc. called segregation, which is a bad thing?

A: BikeWorks does not exist in a social vacuum. On any given day, the shop is often dominated by males, and volunteers and patrons of all genders carry with them social norms beyond our control. These norms often include expectations that males tend to be stronger cyclists or mechanics. Our Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program provides a safer space which explicitly moves away from those expectations.

The existence of these societal norms means that traditionally male-dominated spaces such as bike shops tend to segregate, to the benefit of men, without any conscious intent. Our Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program is a conscious recognition of this, and an organized effort at countering the problems it creates, with the goal of shifting BikeWorks so that no gender dominates on any day.

Q: Isn’t restricting access to BikeWorks based on gender a violation of human rights?

A: No.

From the Alberta Human Rights Commission:

Community organizations can provide services only to men or women if those individuals have been unable to participate fully in society based on their gender, and would not otherwise have access to the services. For example, a recreation organization may set up an exercise program only for women to address the lack of such activities in the community.

It is worth noting that BikeWorks isn’t restricting access to men: as a volunteer-run organization, we program our two facilities 7 days a week. One of those programs includes our Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program, which exists because of dedicated women, trans & gender non-binary volunteers who have stepped up to run this program on a day when we would otherwise be closed. Thanks in part to the new volunteers from the Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program, we have been able to expand our hours across the week at both of our locations.

In the average month, we have about 200 hours of programmed time at BikeWorks. Our Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program composes only about 4% of that time.

Interested in helping us open up even more hours to the public? Volunteer!

Q: What about a program for gay men, or people of color, or children? Aren’t there other oppressed or marginalized groups besides women, trans and non-binary persons?

A: We have programs for youth and for people with special needs, we offer free inner-city bike tune-ups, and we are strong supporters of LGBTQ communities. Are you interested in helping us offer even more programs to groups who are currently underserved? Get in touch with us.

We also work hard across the City to make cycling accessible to everyone. Our work to promote better bike infrastructure, for example, is key to closing the gender gap in cycling.

Q: What if someone is trans and male bodied, or male bodied but otherwise identifies as female, or identifies as female only some of the time, or is female-bodied but identifies as male, or doesn’t identify as either male or female, etc etc etc?

A: If you genuinely relate to the experience of being woman trans or non-binary on a daily basis, you are welcome to participate in our Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program. And no, you cannot participate if you are man wearing a wig/dress, and we are tired of that joke. We won’t even fake a laugh.

Q: I am a man. Can I just come in and fill up my tires really fast?

A: We do not make exceptions, even for staff or Board members, as then the program would be de facto no longer be a program for women, trans & non binary folks. We cannot sell bikes, allow entry for quick repairs, or process rentals (including returns) unless you are woman, trans or non-binary.

Our Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program is currently only offered at BikeWorks South. If you need to access to a community bike shop on a Sunday, BikeWorks North is open to everyone every Sunday.

Q: I am a man. Can I send my girlfriend/wife to pick up parts for me?

A: If you identify as female, trans or non-binary, you are welcome to come work on your partner’s bike at our shop as a participant in our Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary program. Our volunteer mechanics will happily assist you as much or as little as you need, whether you have never touched a wrench before or you’re a professional mechanic in your day job.

However, if you are a man who is sending a woman in on your behalf with a shopping list while you loiter just outside the door, you are being extremely disrespectful to both the woman who is helping you and to the goals and volunteers of our program. Our aim is to empower and educate women, trans and non-binary folk. Trying to access the shop while it is closed to the public by giving directions to a woman inside is disempowering and belittling the people working inside and reinforces toxic gender stereotypes.

Q: I am a woman shopping for a bike. Can I bring a male friend with me to the Women, Trans & Gender-Non-Binary program to help me choose a bike?

A: No.

Our volunteers are extremely knowledgeable, experienced and honest, and can help you decide on a bike that is right for you and your needs as well as help you make any needed repairs to it. We work hard to dispel the common feeling many women have that they must bring a man with them to the bike shop to get fair treatment or to speak for them, or that they need a man’s opinion to make a decision on their own bicycle.

 

78 comments on “Women, Trans and Gender Non-Binary Program

  1. Jeff [Likely posting from: Canada]

    I am a strong advocate for the LGBT community. That said, I feel that quotas do more to encourage divisivenss than they do promote equality. It strikes me as an angry politically motivated agenda to me. Seem more about promoting a personal vendetta than encouraging “equality”.

    Canadian women have done exceptional well on the world sports stage. To suggest women can’t get a bike or learn to repair one is idiotic. My 10 year old daughter knows basic bike and tire repair and no one “oppressed” her in learning how. I asked my 45 year old triathlete sister if she’s ever been discriminated against for being a cyclist in the manner you describe again no.

    Based on your “logic” we need to tell women that they can use the baseball and soccer fields until men catchup to them in world rankings (cause Canadian women are kicking men’s ass on the world stage). We also need to keep women off the basketball courts to allow men to better understand how to play the sport without the aggressive intimidation of women!

    But of course I need to tell my 3 year old son that he can’t play soccer because we have dedicated women’s only soccer fields.

    Sports Rankings[edit source | editbeta]

    Sport Men’s Women’s
    Baseball (IBAF World Rankings) 6 3
    Basketball (FIBA World Rankings) 23 9
    Cricket (World Cricket League) 16 –
    Curling (WCF World Rankings) 1 2
    Soccer (FIFA World Rankings
    and FIFA Women’s World Rankings) 68 7
    Ice hockey (IIHF World Ranking) 2 2
    Rugby union (IRB World Rankings) 14 –
    Tennis (ITF Rankings). 13 21
    Ultimate (WFDF World Rankings) 1 3
    Volleyball (FIVB World Rankings)

    1. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

      Hi Jeff,

      We do not have a quota, nor do we have anything like a women’s only soccer field. We have 2 (sometimes 3) days a month reserved for women and transgender people to use our south shop; which is about 4% of our regularly programmed hours.

      Making the space available on these days is neither “angry” nor a personal vendetta; as the majority of our volunteers, board members, and myself (the Executive Director) are men, it would be strange if this were the case.

      Rather, we’d like to see more balance in our shops, which these Sundays help us to do by encouraging women and transgender patrons and volunteers to come to our shop on those days as well as regular days. I’m glad your sister has never felt discriminated against as a sport cyclist. Sadly though, working as a mechanic in the bike industry, I daily see people assuming that one person is a more qualified mechanic than another based solely on gender. And we regularly see this form of discrimination, and others, happening in our shops. It is not always intentional, but it does happen, and because we live in a society where sexism truly exists, we will continue to be faced with it.

      Your 3-year old son can’t play soccer on the pitch when a women’s team is practicing unless he’s on their team. He can’t play soccer on the pitch when a men’s team is practicing, either, unless he’s on their team.

      Our shops are run by volunteers and open to the public 5 days a week at the south shop and 4 days a week at our north shop, with additional youth, special needs, and education programs 4 days a week. That means that 4 hours in every 100 hours of programming is provided for women and transgender persons to use our shop.

      In your analogy, you can think of this as equivalent to:

      • 17 co-ed drop-in soccer teams,
      • 2 youth soccer teams,
      • 2 special needs teams,
      • 4 training camps, and
      • 1 women’s drop-in soccer team

      sharing time on two pitches (with a co-ed drop-in team playing at the same time as the women’s team, so you can pick). And the women’s team is actively recruited from, to help play on & coach all the other teams.

      I hope that, in addition the other points on this page, helps to address some of your concerns.

      Regards,

      Chris

  2. Harry [Likely posting from: Canada]

    This is discrimination, plain and simple. I don’t care how you try to dress it up or justify it. If you want to make these individuals feel welcome, simply state that are and have that as your policy. Excluding anyone, for any reason, at any time is unacceptable. Absolutely despicable.

    1. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

      Hi Harry,

      Excluding anyone is unacceptable. Despite printed policies, some people still feel excluded during regular hours, which is why we offer programs to help ensure that individuals can always find a time when they feel welcome and safe.

      1. Dave [Likely posting from: United States]

        “Feeling” discriminated against is way different than actually being discriminated against (which is what you are doing to men). If you think your shop is creating a discriminatory envionrment against trans and female people, then that’s your problem, not your male patrons’, and you need to work with your staff to correct it.

        1. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

          Sadly, gender-based discrimination still pervades all social spaces, and BikeWorks is still a part of that broader community. We are not interested in preventing those who may harbour (knowingly or unknowingly) discriminatory attitudes from using our shop; we are interested in ensuring that when anybody uses our shop, they are respectful to everyone and aware of the power of their actions.

          BikeWorks does not exist in a social vacuum. That the space, on any given day, is most likely dominated by males, and that volunteers and patrons of all genders carry with them social norms that likely expect males to be stronger cyclists or mechanics, is usually true for all days of the week except Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary Days.

          This means that traditionally male-dominated spaces such as bike shops tend to segregate, to the benefit of men, without any conscious intent. Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary Days are a conscious recognition of this, and an organized effort at countering the problems it creates, with the goal of shifting BikeWorks so that no gender dominates on any day.

  3. Patrick [Likely posting from: Canada]

    It takes a special kind of arrogance to discriminate in the name of equality. I really liked the idea behind your bike shop – but people who discriminate on the basis of skin color and gender are bad for my soul – so I suppose I’ll have to keep looking for a bike community in Edmonton. That’s disappointing ….

  4. leonardolang [Likely posting from: Canada]

    “We need to unite people.. let’s divide them!”

    BTW, the only way to include people you think are excluded from “man-only circles” is to include them *in* the “man-only circles”, so the circles will be no “man-only” anymore.

    1. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

      Women & Transgender Days help reduce barriers to bringing more women and transgender persons into our shop, which helps EBC to train & recruit non-male mechanics for all other shop days, making those days more welcoming for everyone.

      1. Luke G [Likely posting from: United States]

        If the presence of black people is a barrier to someone else entering a shop, that person is racist and needs to deal with their own bigotry. The solution is *not* to create White & Asian Days to “help reduce barriers”.

        If the presence of men is a barrier to someone else entering a shop, that person is a sexist and needs to deal with their own bigotry. The solution is *not* to create Women & Transgender Days to ‘help reduce barriers”.

        Apply your shop’s same logic to any demographic other than men and the bigotry becomes immediately obvious. Realize that you think differently about men than any other demographic and *your own* bigotry becomes immediately obvious. Just because our culture allows you to hate men doesn’t make it okay. As Terence McKenna liked to say, “culture is not your friend”.

        I’m sure you’re thinking “Oh I don’t hate men, I just see them as inherently problematic – they probably don’t even realize how much distress they’re causing.” Once again, the medicine is just to apply that same logic to any other group and see how it sounds. “Oh I don’t hate latinos, I just see them as inherently problematic – they probably don’t even realize how much distress they’re causing.”

        Please reconsider your beliefs. They are not as innocent and helpful as you think they are.

      2. Dillon Robinson [Likely posting from: Canada]

        You aren’t very bright, are you, Chris?

        Your shop is disgusting. I hope a lawsuit is brought forth and you lose a substantial amount of money.

  5. GK [Likely posting from: Canada]

    I see several negative comments above (only from men…just sayin’) about your policy above. I just wanted to thank you for doing this. I am SO TIRED of being in situations where men simply assume that because I’m a woman, I am less smart or capable than them. I was hesitant about the whole idea of a do-it-yourself bike repair shop because of that kind of past experience. The fact that you have these days makes me feel so much better about it and I hope to stop by one day soon as my bike needs some work!

    1. leonardolang [Likely posting from: Canada]

      Hey, let’s do a men-only day. When women start complaining, let’s say “I see several negative comments – only from women, just saying”.

      That was probably what people used when women complained about not being able to vote. Funny when you think how discrimination is justified the same way and it still doesn’t ring a bell to some.

      1. Chris [Likely posting from: United States] Post author

        Our post actually speaks to men-only days, if you’d like to read it.

        And no, your suggested response is not what was said to any women’s suffrage movement, because there have always been men that are able to see the injustice in denying the right to vote to women.

    2. Luke G [Likely posting from: United States]

      And I am SO TIRED of being in situations where people simply assume that because I’m a man, I am more judgmental and bigoted than they are. I’m also SO TIRED of being excluded for reasons I cannot control no matter how compassionate and understanding I am.

      Is your problem really “men”? Or is it sexist people who look down on women? How about the bike shop holds a “no sexists” day, and cracks down hard on all those behaviors that are disrespecting women? Love the sinner, hate the sin, and *don’t assume all men are on the wrong side of this*.

      Equating “you have the wrong genitalia” with “you are sexist and assume I am incompetent” is itself *incredibly sexist*.

      Please wake up and smell the coffee! Not all men are evil pigs! Not all Women & Transgender people are lovely and nice people. You can’t just make the chop on the lines of gender and be on the right side of history. If people need to be thrown out of your shop, *because they did the wrong things*, then by all means throw them right on out!

      Have Crackdown On Sexism day where if someone calls a woman “honey” they’re out the door in a flash! Heck, do that every day. Put up that list of sexist behaviors on the wall and make it clear that if you do this at all you’re gone. Just don’t, heavens please *don’t* just exclude people because of their gender. Exclude them because of their behavior, their speech, their politics, their assumptions, their CHOICES, but not because of their gender.

      How, how, HOW can people not see how wrong this is? Has the last century of progress agains this kind of thing taught nothing?

      1. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

        This program is neither about you nor for you.

        You are welcome to participate in any of our many other programs and services which we do provide for you.

    3. __ [Likely posting from: Canada]

      Hi GK, it’s nice to hear a female perspective on this policy. It stands to reason that most of the people replying would be men (people, in general, tend to speak up only when it affects them).

      I am a man, I hope you won’t hold that against me, but I do have something to add to what you said. I almost always feel less smart or capable when it comes to dealing with bike experts and bike repair. I’m extremely tired of feeling that way. I really wish I could participate in a program like this, so I would have somewhere to go and learn without feeling ridiculed or even laughed at (no seriously, I’ve been laughed at at a bike shop before). I am way too intimidated to go to Bike Works on an average day.

      I can see that feelings like this might be more prevalent in certain groups, but isn’t the whole point to learn how to do-it-yourself in a way that makes you feel comfortable and safe? I think a “newbies only” night would make more sense. I’d also be super stoked if it were mainly run by women (I, for one, would feel less intimidated. But I suppose that is my own social bias).

      Anyway, it’s sad to me that people act this way; I tend to believe that if you want people to get along and be comfortable with each other, they need to spend time together. But I definitely understand the feeling of being looked down upon and feeling excluded, and it sucks.

      (btw, I write this without any hint of sarcasm or anger. I just discovered this policy and got caught up in reading the comments)

      Now everyone, go out and ride a bike!

      1. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

        Hi there,

        Almost all of the people using our shop are “newbies”–you won’t be alone! We’d love to be able to offer an introductory program as well, if we had the volunteer resources to run it. In the meantime, you have a few options if you’re feeling intimidated by the shop:

        1) Try going anyways and chatting with one of our volunteers, and hopefully they’ll be able to make you feel welcome and take care of your unease!
        2) Visit us in the winter, when we’re much less busy and you can get more attention from the volunteers.
        3) Register for one of our Basic Bike Maintenance classes when we have them scheduled. (Unfortunately we don’t have any at this moment [Aug 15 2015], and they tend to fill up faster than we can offer them.]
        4) Register for one of MEC’s basic bike maintenance classes, which are offered every week. (Their 101 classes aren’t hands-on, however, but are definitely a good start.)
        5) Sign up as a volunteer, where you’ll get volunteer-only training and access to the shop off-hours.

  6. Terrel [Likely posting from: Canada]

    Supporter of LGBT community, and acceptance of all. I will never go to Bike Works again. It’s obvious that they don’t get the point.

  7. Ronda B [Likely posting from: Canada]

    What a ridiculous policy. Discriminating against one gender to make the other feel included is just as wrong as any other form of gender-based discrimination.

    As a feminist, I’d rather society fight oppression and discrimination by eliminating all forms of it, rather than actively encouraging and taking part in it.

    I will make sure to never step inside your shop, and will actively encourage my biking friends to follow my lead.

    1. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

      How do you feel about women’s shelters, women’s gyms, and women in trades training programs? Do you expect everyone to always feel equally comfortable in every setting, regardless of gender? i.e. Do you feel that women today should be expected, for example, to enter into trades without any special encouragement or effort, and that we should immediately eliminate (as discriminatory) programs that specifically target women and encourage them to enter trades? And that women’s shelters should also be open to men in need?

      EBC runs a free earn-a-bike program for youth, and also provides learn-to-bike training and adapted bikes for children with special needs. Is this “discriminating” against adults? Against children who don’t have special needs? Should you boycott our organization for it?

      This program isn’t about discriminating against a particular group. It’s about acknowledging that there exists in society, beyond our organization’s control, biases and barriers that discourage people who aren’t men (in this case) from participating in bike repair (and cycling in general), while the contemporary culture actively encourages men to participate in mechanics. EBC is encouraging people who don’t match the traditional description of a bike mechanic to participate. We do this, in part, by providing a safer space for people who may not necessarily be comfortable wading headfirst into a male-dominated space to learn a male-dominated activity.

      This accounts for about 3% of our programmed time at BikeWorks.

      We strive towards creating spaces where as many people as possible can feel welcome and comfortable, but different people have different experiences and different needs. Some of those needs are mutually exclusive: some people, for instance, are more comfortable in the informal setting of our busy public days, while others prefer the more formal setting of our quieter, structured classes. In order to best serve differing peoples, we must provide different spaces and services: attempting to exclusively provide a one-size-fits-all solution would be a disservice to the community.

      1. IMARAM [Likely posting from: United States]

        You can roll a turd in glitter and call it gold…it’s still a turd.

        You are denying customers based on there gender, period, end of discussion.

        You said if you are a man or identify as one you cannot shop at our store this day.

        That’s discrimination as clear as day.

  8. James [Likely posting from: Canada]

    Right on! Now, when do we get the “No-Jew” and “No-Handicapped” days? Oh wait, those would be discriminatory right?

    Every single one of the reasons you’ve cited are examples of shitty human behaviour that should be dealt with IMMEDIATELY on a case-by-case basis. If you have crappy customers, volunteers, or staff, deal with it by firmly educating and / or ensuring the neanderthal-level individuals are escorted from the premises and instructed not to return until they evolve.

    Setting up exclusive “Women and Transgendered” times and prohibiting other attendees based on sexual identity is discrimination plain and simple. Worse, it actively counters progress we’ve made toward equality, and promotes an “Us vs Them” mentality in the minds of men, women, and the transgendered community. A huge number of people of all self-identifying groups have fought hard and shed very real blood working to eradicate discrimination, and your policy laughs and pisses all over that effort.

    No response required, I can see from your previous responses that you’re only interested in ignorance and self-righteous justification. Those actually interested in equality for everyone will make sure they speak up by taking their business elsewhere.

    1. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

      Should women’s shelters immediately stop existing, as they have not been able to stop violence against women from ever taking place?

      Much of what happens outside of our walls is beyond our control. What we can do is offer a range of services to different groups that address their differing experiences and needs. As a man, I don’t feel this “Us vs Them” mentality that you’re speaking of, nor do I feel an “Us vs Them” reaction to the fact that my friend’s child wouldn’t be accepted into our learn-to-ride class for children with special needs, as my friend’s child doesn’t have special needs.

      This is not about excluding any particular group. It’s about including groups that are currently excluded, often (and primarily) due to factors beyond our control.

      I can see from your response that you aren’t actually familiar with us or our programs. We operate a volunteer-run shop and charge $2/hour to use our space. You are welcome to take your business elsewhere: but I would suggest you may wish to avoid United Cycle, Revolution, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Mud Sweat & Gears, Velocity, and many of the other local commercial shops that also support women-only classes, clubs, rides, and other initiatives.

      1. The Anti-Chris [Likely posting from: United Kingdom]

        I have no idea how what you are saying has any relevance to James’ comment in any way, shape or form.

        Did you actually read what he said?

        “This is not about excluding any particular group. It’s about including groups that are currently excluded, often (and primarily) due to factors beyond our control.”

        All I can assume is that you don’t actually understand the meaning of the word ‘including’. Here, I’ll help: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/include

        If you feel you do understand the meaning of the word, can you please explain how you intend to include the Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary group into the community when the rest of the community is excluded? All this will do is keep both groups separate. This is the ‘Us vs Them’ mentality which you are completely and utterly failing to grasp.

        To bring up another point you made, but to bring it in this context:

        You mention a learn-to-ride class for children with special needs… now if you get a male child with special needs coming to your store to have his bike repaired on your Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary days, will you refuse him as he is male? You would discriminate against someone who would be discriminated against for a disability outside his control because of your ‘no exceptions’ policy? What if it’s a female child with special needs, but with a male carer? Would the female child be allowed inside, but the male carer would have to remain outside? Would they both be refused because the male carer is denied entry?

        This screams of misguided social justice. I assume that Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary people are not refused entry to your store on any other day, so how can you justify ‘equality’ by discriminating against one group of people?

        All I see in the post above are complaints about how SOME men act, and this ‘initiative’ punishes ALL men while doing absolutely NOTHING to address the issues you’ve raised. In fact, the only thing it does is provide an example for “learning about the types of oppression (both obvious and subtle) that people may experience”, which you’re asking men to do in your post above.

        Well done.

      2. The Anti-Chris [Likely posting from: United Kingdom]

        **Reposting as it appears you’re abusing your ‘moderating’ for censorship. If your argument is solid, you should have no issue with the points I’ve raised.**

        I have no idea how what you are saying has any relevance to James’ comment in any way, shape or form.

        Did you actually read what he said?

        “This is not about excluding any particular group. It’s about including groups that are currently excluded, often (and primarily) due to factors beyond our control.”

        All I can assume is that you don’t actually understand the meaning of the word ‘including’. Here, I’ll help: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/include

        If you feel you do understand the meaning of the word, can you please explain how you intend to include the Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary group into the community when the rest of the community is excluded? All this will do is keep both groups separate. This is the ‘Us vs Them’ mentality which you are completely and utterly failing to grasp.

        To bring up another point you made, but to bring it in this context:

        You mention a learn-to-ride class for children with special needs… now if you get a male child with special needs coming to your store to have his bike repaired on your Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary days, will you refuse him as he is male? You would discriminate against someone who would be discriminated against for a disability outside his control because of your ‘no exceptions’ policy? What if it’s a female child with special needs, but with a male carer? Would the female child be allowed inside, but the male carer would have to remain outside? Would they both be refused because the male carer is denied entry?

        This screams of misguided social justice. I assume that Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary people are not refused entry to your store on any other day, so how can you justify ‘equality’ by discriminating against one group of people?

        All I see in the post above are complaints about how SOME men act, and this ‘initiative’ punishes ALL men while doing absolutely NOTHING to address the issues you’ve raised. In fact, the only thing it does is provide an example for “learning about the types of oppression (both obvious and subtle) that people may experience”, which you’re asking men to do in your post above.

        Well done.

        1. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

          Your duplicate comment was not deleted. We just didn’t have a chance to approve it in the 40 minutes between your initial post and your re-post.

          This program no more punishes men than our program for children with special needs punishes adults without special needs.

          No one is entitled to 24/7 access to our non-profit facility. Much of our programming is only available to certain groups of people.

          We have programs for youth and for people with special needs, we offer free inner-city bike tune-ups, and we are strong supporters of LGBTQ communities.

          A goal of Women, Trans & Gender Non-Binary Days is to shift BikeWorks so that no gender dominates on any day.

          We work hard across the City to make cycling accessible to everyone. Our work to promote better bike infrastructure, for example, is key to closing the gender gap in cycling.

          1. John [Likely posting from: Australia]

            You didn’t answer the question. It is an interesting thought experiment that you appear to have dodged, please don’t. Please answer the following:

            1) Would there ever be a day where LGBTIQA+ are refused entry, so that people that do not feel ‘safe’ (I am /not/ one of them, this is the purpose of the experiment)
            2) If a male-child with disabilities came on LGBTIQA+ day, would he be allowed in, even with ‘no exceptions’.
            3) If a female disabled child came with a male carer came in, would he be allowed in?

          2. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

            1) I don’t understand that sentence.
            2) No. The shop is not open to the public. If an adult women/trans/gender non-binary individual attends the program and has a male child accompanying, then he is welcome in. But we do have special programs also set aside for children with special needs, such as our adapted bike loan pool. We also do not loan out our adapted bikes to children who don’t have special needs.
            3) Probably. Although you seem entirely confused about what the program is: it’s not a LGBQT program.

          3. John [Likely posting from: Australia]

            Clarifying:
            1) Since you seem to believe that women / trans / non binary people are to have a day when only they are the be there, do you also have a day where they are not permitted, for people that do not feel ‘safe’ around women / trans/non-binary people?
            2) So you would refuse entry to a male disabled child but not a female disabled child? Boy, nice social justice you got going there…
            3) My error. It’s only women, trans, non-binary.

            You really seem very misguided.

          4. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

            1) There is a difference in power dynamics. You can’t just swap words without swapping the entire life experience of someone. Women, trans and gender non-binary persons are often implicitly excluded from bike shops, as any visit to a bike shop will demonstrate.

            2) We have programs for children with special needs. They are also not open to the general public.

            3) It would be well for you to at least read the title of the page that you’re commenting on.

  9. Jef [Likely posting from: Canada]

    Let me just say that as a genderqueer non binary male, I definetely see a huge value and feel really comfortable with going to this shop in the future. It sounds like I would be very well respected there.

    This day is not exclusionary. It is an extra inclusionary time for people who generally may experience exclusion during standard hour.

  10. Nav Kaur [Likely posting from: Canada]

    Thank you so much for this.

    As a woman who never had the class privilege to own a bike- I find it extremely overwhelming to shop for/enter the culture of commuting by bike.
    The opportunity to attend a ‘women’s only bike shop day’ – was the first thing suggested to me by my male peers (who bike) – and told me that it would be a safe place to start. They (these guys) – were the first to admit to me that shopping at bike stores would be frustrating for a woman who needs to understand the basic 101s – in a respectful way.

    It is rare that we have community spaces that understand STRUCTURAL oppression and the daily lived micro aggressions of our community members. Thanks again.

    1. Jonathan [Likely posting from: United Kingdom]

      class privilege to own a bike! whatever next. bradley wiggins who is one of the most successful riders of all time grew up in a council estate!

  11. k iulus [Likely posting from: Canada]

    I love this! I’ve never felt comfortable in bike shops because of how I’ve been treated in the past, but I’m really looking forward to coming into Bikeworks on one of these days. Thank you so much for your understanding and respect!

  12. figlet [Likely posting from: Canada]

    Thank you folks so much for posting such an extensive question/answer list! I co-ordinated the women and trans space for 3 years at a bike shop in Ontario, and we are finally getting around to making a handbook, and I will definitely use some of the articulations here as reference points.

    For me these spaces are essential. As a female identified person, and I can only speak from my own experiences, these nights helped me to find community and build skills that were definitely more inaccessible without these nights. The regular shop hours co-ordinators at the shop were and are incredibly supportive of the initiative and do everything they can to call out BS when they see it in the shop. That said, often volunteering multiple times a week, it was rare that a day would go by without some dude (sometimes women!) devaluing my skills, my experiences and my informed opinions based on gender and gender alone. Examples include taking tools out of my hands and stepping between me and a bike, interupting me, asking me a question and me giving a correct answer and then the person says “I’m going to ask that guy over there”…I could go on an on with the horrifying details of some of the events but I won’t.

    To create a space where you don’t have to doubley prove yourself every time you walk in, a space where you’re not constantly being scrutinized and objectified, whether in a “positive” (ie: Ohhhh wowwww!!! A female mechanic!!! That’s so cool!!) or negative (see previous paragraph) way, it’s exhausting to never be able to JUST EXIST as a skilled mechanic in a space. I’ve been a mechanic for 7 years, and every space I go into or have worked at from places with rad policies to more main stream high end shops, has been the same experience: it’s unique, it’s special, sure, but it’s flipping difficult. There ARE more systemic challenges just by simply existing, much oppression that goes unseen. And don’t forget how subtle much of it is, but it’s there.

    Finding bike mechanics and helping to found that space was one of the most meaningful and empowering experiences of my life. It helped women and transfolk in my community find each other, more women and transfolk coming to the shop, talking about bikes, feeling more excited about bikes. It was an incredibly healing and inspiring place.

    Don’t ever doubt the importance of these spaces. For every nay sayer that suggests these spaces are useless or discriminatory, there are at least a couple of people who benefit SUPER greatly from being able to access this space who may not come to and find bikes otherwise. Thanks so much for doing this work out there!!!!!

  13. Logan [Likely posting from: Canada]

    This is discriminatory and anti-Canadian by nature.

    Trying not to repeat anything in others’ posts, I only with to add the following:

    Whatever step you think you’re taking forward for this group of people, please be aware you’ve taken many in the opposite direction with other groups of people, namely those with penises who identify as males.

    Every human being on the planet must be somewhat aware of the cause-effect of their own behavior, yourself included, BikeWorks South.

    My first visit to your store was based on the positive image of a volunteer based community organization. I went to your south store, on Father’s Day no less, to buy bikes for my wife and I. I was met by an angry woman who told me to leave, but welcomed my wife to stay and shop. I wasn’t aware of the dirciminatory rules of that day, and the lady at the counter didn’t offer any explanation, just told me in a very aggressive tone to get out of the store.

    When I got in the car to wait, I felt like I was being punished for something, like a bad boy sitting in the corner. By definition, I was feeling discrimination (not to mention a bit of hate from the Bike Works staff that day..). It took me all of 30 seconds to go back, get my wife, and never return.

    The cause and affect of the matter is- since then, I mention this negative exerience to every single person I bump into when the topic of bicycling is brought up, in effect perpetuating resentment to Bike Works South and your silly anti-men tirades. Also, the attitude I felt at your store that day has also caused me to somewhat close my ears whenever I hear mention of women-trans-days things, where I was completely neutral before. That’s a fact, and it’s up to you to decide if your amature approach to the issue is doing more good than harm..

    I’ve discussed the matter with volunteers at the Bike Works North location, not stating names, but it’s clear not even your own organization supports this tirade whole-heartedly..

    We all require some kind of attention in our lives to feel fulfilled, good or bad. I’m sure this is serving just that purpose for a few self-righteous people at Bike Works South. Rock-on!

    1. Chris Corrigan [Likely posting from: Canada]

      Logan,

      As another penis-possessor, I do not feel as you do in regards to the regularly and clearly-marked schedule of women & trans only days.

      I can make use of bikeworks and its services on ANY other day or evening the shop is open.

      It’s encouraging to me to know that there is plenty of positive feedback by those who have taken advantage of these days for their own personal growth and education.

      No one wishes for there to be any time at which any public place may be restricted in use. However, continued examples of sexism in a traditionally male dominated environment where mechanics are concerned gives us a remarkable & unique opportunity to address the gap.

      I am indeed sorry, sir, that you feel as though it’s somehow part of an imaginary anti-male agenda, and an unpatrionic one, at that.

      -Chris Corrigan

  14. Don [Likely posting from: Canada]

    I’m another hetero, male EBC member that appreciates your inclusive environment, and supports your decision to set aside shop time especially for a group that seems to benefit from that. (If hispanics or Catholics or very tall people had some tendency to be uncomfortable OR to be unequally treated in this type of setting, I would support some reserved time for them too.) I am glad you make the vast majority of shop time open to everyone (including the likes of me), but I am happy to give up my access to the shop on an occasional Sunday if it is for the benefit of a group that might feel uncomfortable in the fully mixed environment, especially starting out.

  15. Kita [Likely posting from: Canada]

    As a Non-binary individual, thank you. It is hard enough to have to be seen as passing as either male or female to go out anywhere without getting side eye’d, but knowing a safe space like this exists and is growing as a trend is comforting.

    1. Common-Sense [Likely posting from: Netherlands]

      EBC is a non-profit society….not a company, you have the only hate here, sorry you feel this way, the only way you would understand is if you were a minority at the other 30 bicycle shops in town, that’s why this one special moment exists…..

  16. nik [Likely posting from: Ireland]

    “In an effort to make our space more inviting and inclusive”

    “Only those who identify as women, trans or gender non-binary individuals are permitted”

    shameful a shop would be sued if they did the reverse of this and tried to exclude someone because of their gender

    you really should be ashamed of yourself i hope you get sued

  17. Kate [Likely posting from: United States]

    As stated on your website:

    “If you encounter discrimination or behaviour that makes you uncomfortable: if you are comfortable doing so, respectfully intervene by telling the person that you feel they are being disrespectful and would like them to stop”.

    If my husband or I were to feel uncomfortable with his being discriminated against if he was denied entry due to his gender, does this rule apply? And would the sexist behavior stop?

    1. Greg [Likely posting from: United States]

      Doubtfully, from the replies it is pretty clear this store and it’s staff take a close minded approach to inclusion.

      Their inclusion is a form of division, quite starkly.

      One solution would be to have separate but equal “Male only” block of time- maybe split the female only days in half to make time if need be?

      That way any man who may feel excluded most of the time (due to being nervous looking bad around women, not being comfortable getting help or interacting with some people some women, etc) can have time where he feels comfortable.

      Then this whole debate could be neutralized and equality prioritized over divisiveness.

      What do you think, Chris, should Bikeworks make sure any men who lack a voice to express their discomfort at Bikeworks be given an equal amount of time?

  18. Jonathan [Likely posting from: United Kingdom]

    What an absolute affront to humanity this is. I shall be writing to the Council of Human rights on this matter.

  19. Ben Olson [Likely posting from: United States]

    You guys are absolutely awful to do this! Since when is there a ‘no-girls’ bike shop? Never. I hope this business closes down soon. I’m glad we’re going back into our old ways of segregation.

  20. Shaking My Head [Likely posting from: Canada]

    I think your responses have been great, Chris.

    To the men complaining on this thread – Do any of you genuinely believe that fighting this program is helping to dispel the idea that the male cycling community is aggressive and dismissive? Losing your minds over one day a week at one BikeWorks location dedicated to serving a marginalized population only marginalizes them further. Women and non-binary people don’t need their own shop day… because a bunch of angry dudes say so? Good one, guys. I really want to come fix my bike with you.

    I’m not writing letters to the HRC because I can’t be a Freemason. Exclusionary spaces aren’t automatically terrible – they can provide a place where people who have similar life experiences can connect and feel safe. I also support men-only spaces, youth-only spaces, senior-only spaces, etc.

    If you want to use a shop on Sunday, take the LRT or ride your bike 20 minutes to the other location. If you’re really offended – take your business elsewhere. The majority of women and non-binary people in this thread appreciate the program, so why not let them have it?

  21. Rob Butz [Likely posting from: Canada]

    As a heterosexual, non-trans* man, and EBC member, I’d just like to voice my support of women and trans* only hours. I am not at all offended, much less inconvenienced, by 4% of programming time being reserved for another group— it’s like having a scheduled private party. But also, I’m strongly supportive of the initiative because I think it really does make the overall cycling commuting community in Edmonton more accessible, diverse, and inclusive and I think that that’s a good thing.

    Just wanted to speak up, because I don’t think the board members should have to do all the arguing for the membership. I think a lot of comments on here, which deny or minimize experiences women and transgender persons face, are actually evidence of why such programming is needed.

  22. Dillon Robinson [Likely posting from: Canada]

    The fact that this day exists is fine.
    The fact that it so blatantly shuts its doors to someone just because of physical attributes is disgusting. I hope a lawsuit follows and that you turds lose your shop.

    1. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

      We shut our doors because we are closed for special programming. We also close our doors when we are closed. Not everyone is entitled to 24/7 access to our volunteer-run non-profit facility.

      Thank you for maintaining a respectful tone.

  23. Georg [Likely posting from: Czech Republic]

    I have a question:

    If I genuinely relate to the experience of being woman trans or non-binary on a daily basis, but your volunteer has doubts about this – how is it eventually decided if I can enter?

    In other words: What counts more: My own self-identification or your volunteers perception of my appearance?

  24. Mike [Likely posting from: Canada]

    I appreciate that this program exists to help people out on a day that would otherwise provide no programs. My partner (female) has benefited from it in the past and I feel that it is a positive contribution to the community. I have also benefited greatly from the use of your shop. Thank you for being awesome!

  25. Micah [Likely posting from: Canada]

    Hey all you humans! As a sometimes user of this special day at BWS, I hereby say hurrah for giving us non-dudes a place + time to work on our bikes without dudes hanging around – whatever their intent (+ or -). If I had extra hours to give I’d love to lend them to extending the four that happen every two-ish weeks. In fact, the recent furore is making me finally consider arranging my schedule so that I might.

    Chris, thanks for being so very very patient and articulate in your explanations here. I especially love the soccer analogy above (number of fields, number of drop-ins etc) and find it extremely pertinent; I sincerely hope everyone takes the two minutes to read it.

    To those of you posting from outside Edmonton/Alberta (or even from inside it): I invite you to familiarise yourselves with the shop, its mission, policies, and governance before expressing your hopes that EBC are sued, or exhorting people to take their business elsewhere. With those statements you are only excelling at demonstrating your ignorance of and assumptions about a facility, a community, and a culture that have served Edmonton very well for over 30 years.

    <3

  26. Neal Wagram [Likely posting from: Canada]

    As someone who does not identify as a woman or transgender, I am still very glad this program exists, for those that need it, and will support it, and EBC’s stance to operate it. I hope that the people who are upset with this program existing can be more selfless and understanding of the needs of others that have been marginilized. Kudos to Chris for responding to all the concerns and comments so well, and to all those that organize and/or volunteer to ensure this program exists. It’s just one of the amazing things this shop offers in its many years of service in the community. Thank you.

  27. Caleb [Likely posting from: United States]

    The AHRC requires accommodation up to the point of undue hardship if you are going to exclude someone on the basis of gender. Why not have a volunteer stand outside so that men can still make purchases without interfering with the activities inside?

    I support the goal of including more women and non-binary in biking and building an open community around the activity (especially an area where the perception as a man’s activity is a barrier in itself). It just looks like the severity of the ban puts the whole thing on unstable legal ground according to the AHRC.

    (For the record, I’m not in Canada, but respectfully hoping for an answer from Chris or other EBC person).

    1. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

      We are working on acquiring an outdoor stand.

      And it’s not a ban. It’s a program that we run when the shop is not open to the public, and we only run it for 2 or 3 days out of the month. We have a second shop not very far away that is open to the public at the same time that this program is running.

  28. FossilFishy [Likely posting from: Australia]

    A bit of relevant background. I’m yer bog-standard cis, white, straight, middle-aged male, and as such I’m aware that my understanding of women, trans and non-binary folk’s (hereafter WTNBG) experiences is second-hand and prone to error. I’m also a former employee of the EBC, I was the paid shop manager/mechanic for a couple of summers. I’ve now owned my own bike store for seven years,(in rural Australia of all places) an experience that I’d say gives me some authority on the cycling industry in general, and on the EBC in specific.

    My industry is rife with sexism, full stop. There’s no excusing it and no denying it. People who present as female do not have the same experiences in bike shops as those who present as male. As an anecdotal example: I had a woman travel half way across the country to buy a bike from me. I met her when she was working as a travelling breast cancer screener. She would set up shop for a couple of weeks in small towns like mine and then move on. She was interested in getting involved in cycling and would check out the local bike shops wherever she happened to find them. She came back to me almost a year later because, and I quote: “You were the only person to take me seriously. Every other shop I visited either dictated to me what I should buy rather than trying to assess my needs, or they pretty much ignored me entirely.”

    I full support EBC’s decision to have three days a month where the shop will exclude everyone but women, transgender and non-binary folks. The objections that it’s discrimination against men fails because those objections are based on an unspoken premise. They are founded on the premise that discrimination against women is unfair, so discrimination against men must also be unfair. But that’s a linguistic equivocation, the two discriminations are not equivalent because the experiences of those two groups are not equivalent.

    Yes, keeping men out on those days is discrimination, of course it is, but it’s not the systemic discrimination that comes from a society wide concept of the what are acceptable things for men to do. You know, the type of discrimination WTNGB folks face every goddamn day. The implied claim of these objections, that excluding men on those three days a month is the same as the discrimination that disadvantaged groups receive, is the falsest of false equivalences.

    The claim that reversing the terms, or substituting another disadvantaged group proves that excluding men is discrimination relies on that same equivocation. If every part of the situation were reversed, if men as a class were treated the same way any of the disadvantaged groups in our society are now treated, then damn straight I’d support men-only days, or white only days. So would anyone with an ounce of compassion.

    And let’s be clear here: these WTNGB days are not a fix for societal sexism. Some of the objectors have got that right. Sure it might empower a few folk who will then go on to make things better, but in the end having a few days set aside like this won’t cause significant change. These days are just one small part of the much bigger effort needed to change how our society views everyone who’s not conventionally male. Despite that, it’s still important to have them.

    These days are symptom relief, rather than cures. They are the pain killer given to the cancer patient as the chemo does its job. These days are the compassionate care that we should give to folks who suffer from society wide disadvantage because of who they are. And fuck anyone who claims that it’s coddling WTNGB people. No one but those who are discriminated against gets to decide what relief is needed. It’s like telling someone with a broken leg to walk it off. Fuck that shit. It’s rank arrogance, the stench of which should be familiar to anyone who understands just how sexist our society still is.

    Shorter: All the objections to these days are based on false equivalences, and they clearly demonstrate the lack of compassion typical in folks who refuse to understand that there are groups of people who still struggle with societal disadvantages.

    1. TC [Likely posting from: Canada]

      Thank you for this. As someone who was at first feeling angry about this policy, you’ve raised an argument that stands on it’s own. This should be the only thing in the FAQ section :)

  29. Bev [Likely posting from: Canada]

    I fully support this program. As a woman and a person of color, it is hard to find safe spaces where I won’t feel like I am judged. It is comforting to know that there are people like you in the community. Thank you so much!

  30. Michael [Likely posting from: Canada]

    I can’t tell you why I think this, but the distinction between being “Open normally, but closed for men” versus “Closed normally, but open to women” is subtle and completely changes this in my mind from being excluding to including. The way you phrase this is a wonderful approach to helping people, and I look forward to visiting your location again in the near future.

  31. starrbrainard [Likely posting from: Canada]

    This programming is wonderful. I am ashamed that you have had to deal with no many negative comments from people who aren’t aware of the implicate bias every individual holds and the negative effects that it has on women and people of nonconforming gender expression. Thank you for providing a safe environment.

  32. David [Likely posting from: Canada]

    I found out about this program the hard way on a cold rainy day in 2015 when I came to visit the shop for the first and last time. I was exhausted, in pain and really needed help. The manner in which I was turned away was distasteful, disrespectful and has soured my opinion on this organization.

    1. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

      Sorry for your experience. Without knowing more about how you were turned away, I can only say that our volunteers are trained to address this in a respectful manner. Can you please elaborate on your experience? You can contact me privately at [email protected].

      Because of the large numbers of programs that we run, all of which are run by volunteers, we aren’t able to offer public workshop access 24/7. There are days and times when we simply are not open. Our hours are posted on our website, as well as through our phone, and on our front door. This program runs only on the first, third, and fifth Sundays of the month at BikeWorks South. BikeWorks North, our other shop, is open every Sunday to the general public, as are the other Sundays at BikeWorks South.

      We have considered simply closing BikeWorks South to the public on all Sundays to avoid confusion, but determined that this would be a disservice to the community, as most bike shops in Edmonton are already closed on Sundays.

  33. Blinkie [Likely posting from: Canada]

    My wife and I tried to stop in on Sunday, in need of a seat post for HER bike.
    I saw the sign and realized it was exclude-men-day so I went to sit in the sun and read my book while my wife tried to get help. How awful of me, to belittle the women, trans and non-binary people I didn’t know would be there by respecting the request to stay out.

    My wife spoke to one of the volunteers and was bounced around between three people who repeatedly asked her what size seat post she needed and seemed to have trouble finding the correct part then began demanding that she bring the bike to the store so they could measure it, even though I had helped my wife find the size engraved on the current seat post.

    After being demeaned and treated like she was incompetent (on a day specifically intended to ensure that women don’t get demeaned or mistreated, no irony there) she came out mad as a hornet and described the experience in detail and disgust on our way to the North Bike Works where we got a seat post with no argument or fuss.

    This isn’t the first time we’ve had a poor experience at Bike Works South and we won’t be back (on exclude-men-day or others) as we found the North side location’s volunteers to be more helpful, more pleasant and genuinely interested in getting us riding on our bikes that we refurbished with help from said volunteers. On another occasion my wife went to the North side store looking for tires and the horrible sexist manthing helped her find exactly what she was looking for without ogling her, groping her or making any demeaning comments, what a miracle!?!

    I’m not going to suggest you include men in exclude-men-day but please consider not excluding women while claiming to cater to them.

    1. Chris [Likely posting from: Canada] Post author

      Hello,

      We do not have an “exclude-men day” as you suggest. We do run a number of different programs, including programs for children with special needs, programs for people with limited financial means, and a program for women, trans, and gender non-binary persons.

      It sounds like you object to the existence of this last program, wholly apart from your wife’s specific experience with our volunteers, perhaps because of your misinterpretation of it as an “exclude-men day”. Please understand that our programs are not about excluding anyone, but rather about ensuring that we offer a range of options where people with various backgrounds and experiences can find our services to be accessible and encouraging. Our website, as well as Google and other online listings indicate when we are open to the general public and when we are running other programming.

      As for your wife’s specific experience with finding a seat post: all of the people helping you and your wife are volunteers. They have a wide range of experiences and a wide range of communication styles. I’ve spoken with some of the people who were present, and it sounds like there was some miscommunication between your wife and our volunteers.

      Seat post sizes vary in increments of 0.2mm (2 hundredths of a centimeter). They are not interchangeable: a 26.8mm seat post will not fit a 27.0mm seat tube, nor will a 27.2mm seat post fit a 27.0mm seat tube. Attempting either poses a high risk of causing permanent frame damage, as well as personal injury.

      Your wife asked our volunteers for a seat post, but named two different seat post sizes. As we do not do refunds or exchanges, we didn’t wish to sell her an incorrect seat post, so our volunteers tried to clarify which seat post size she needed. They also located one of the requested sizes (27.2mm) for her, which she did not take.

      I’m glad that she was able to find the seatpost she needed at BikeWorks North and that it was a pleasant experience. I’m also happy to let you know that many of our volunteers help out at both shops, so if you do decide to visit BikeWorks South again, you may find some of the same volunteers that helped you at the north shop.

  34. TJ [Likely posting from: Canada]

    Chris Thank you and EBC for having this program!

    I am trans and it is often hard to go to public spaces without feeling in danger or unwelcome. I took a woman and trans bike 101 course a few years ago when I was still presenting primarily female and it was so helpful. I probably never would have gone if you hadn’t offered a space like that. It would have been too intimidating.

    Personally, by no means do I think all men are horrible or anything like that. But when you have faced violence over and over from men, it is hard to feel safe in a space with men present, even when those men are friends and allies.

    Chris I also want to thank you for such articulate answers to all the angry posts people have been making. You coming to bat as a male ally means so much and the fact that EBC continues to keep the program is so encouraging.

    To the angry posters, please try for one minute to put yourself in the shoes of someone who faces discrimination and threats of violence on a daily basis. Safe spaces like this are a huge blessing.

    I hope to take some more courses and come in on some of the future Women and Trans evenings. Please keep it up.

  35. Chris B. [Likely posting from: Canada]

    I’ve been a supporter of the EBC for years, though, admittedly I have to renew my membership; I’ve always believed in their work. I, personally, work for a level of gov’t, sit on a policy-level diversity & inclusion group (whose job is to reduce barriers so the workforce demographic is more reflective of the citizen demographic) and have been directly responsible for a number of internal programs and external “rental” groups who have used facilities. These have included, but have not been limited to: programs for persons-with-a-disability, for Muslim men, for Muslim ladies and ladies in general. I admit to not being as educated as to the most current language but have a working knowledge of what is understood by most.

    Anyway, I don’t point this out because of a narcissistic need for recognition; from what I can read, this program is not about opinions of individuals or customer service issues of being excluded or treated. It’s about how to best serve the community. And the EBC has done this two ways: (i) by providing space and time for a marginalised population, and (I think more importantly) (ii) providing a forum for safe discussion.

    When we discovered a need for “ladies only” programs, it began as a grass roots movement in response to how women were culturally allowed to express themselves. When we expanded the program to include all women, and not just those experiencing culturally limiting expression, it exploded. So we “stumbled upon” the community need, however, “what a need!” The program continues to expand today.

    To those offended, neutral or supportive of the program, I say “hooray!” (to all). Everyone is entitled to an opinion. If the EBC program is attended (perhaps well-attended?) on a weekly basis, then it’s a responding to an obvious community need, and should continue. Offering education to everyone is accomplished regardless of individual opinion. If I wish to approach the EBC about an evening program for orthodox Jewish, vegan-binary amputees (in a bike shop no less), I will feel quite comfortable doing so.

    Thank you for the program EBC, and the opportunity to communicate publicly.

  36. Michelle [Likely posting from: Canada]

    I didn’t read all the above comments, some were too mean and too long. But I’ll say that I’m a 34 year old woman and I was intimidated to go to the shop (so I was going to drag my husband in). And I do understand that unfamiliar situations are weird for every gender. But simply hearing that there’s a no-dude day wiped out A LOT of the uneasiness. I didn’t put much thought into the inequality of it all, I just saw myself going alone when I didn’t previously imagine going. So although I do feel sad for the gents that can’t come on that day, I will use the opportunity provided. Men are wonderful, yay, but also kind of intimidating. I’ll make an effort to go on a ‘regular’ day after testing the waters.

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