FLINT* BIKE WORKSHOPS
Here is my report on the FLINT* project in Graz. I know this post is kind of stiff and not as colourful as my other posts, but I wanted to write a report that accurately described my project and what activities were included in it. I hope you enjoy it.
FLINT* Bicycle workshops took place this year in Culture Exchange, in Graz, Austria. The series of bicycle repair workshops took place in the month of December.
We are proud to call attention to our sponsor STADT Graz, building and integration, who completely funded all costs for the workshops. Based also on the factor that FLINT* persons who perhaps would have less exposure to these kind of events would be given the chance to participate.
To promote this we passed the event information to
Although we did spread the word of the FLINT* project to many different channels, it was not completely clear where all attendees had seen the information and from which channel they had found the workshops, that is one of the things we learned for next time.
The goal was to bring women from different backgrounds together in a learning platform to give them confidence not just in using skills, repairing and maintaining, but also in familiarising themselves with hands on concepts. Understanding the bicycle, getting comfortable with their own abilities and learning real skills that they can use every day. It was important for us was to break the barrier of fear that surrounds doing what are normally considered male dominated activities. Because we wanted everyone to be in the best learning environment possible, the workshops were FLINT* only. The workshops were also taught by an all FLINT* crew
Sibylle Hartung; bike mechanic at BICYCLE
Anna Kofler: Mechanic and Bike messenger at Pink Pedals
Ana Powdrill: Bike messenger at HERMES (Vienna), also project coordinator and admin.
The attendees were from over 8 nationalities, and were many different age ranges and experience levels. The languages were English and German, though we did suggest that if anyone could not speak either of those we would find a translator, specifically we had an Arabic translator available, because we wanted to include these women too. In this case we didn’t have to use an Arabic translator, as all attendees spoke either English or German. For the next one we will be trying to promote this side of the workshops more.
The system for registering for the event was via email, a short description was required and as we had minimal places we did offer a first come, first served method. The reason for this was because the space in our workshop was pretty small, only allowing a maximum of 20 people to work in there, and to be honest 15 would have been the comfortable limit. In the first hour after posting the event we had already about 15 registration requests. Sure enough each workshop was completely booked out. Proving the necessity of this kind of project and that there was a hunger for more feminist ideas and activities such as this.
The classes were covering the following topics
Anatomy of the bicycle, understanding the function of the parts of the bike, what makes it go, what makes it stop.
Brakes, different kinds, what they do, how to adjust and tighten, how to loosen, where to put oil and what kind, where not to.
How to keep your bike in top condition in winter, we taught quick and easy methods to clean and maintain. Learning what to oil and how much and how often.
The bicycle laws in Austria, where should be reflectors and lights.
In the last part of the workshops we created a short test, with simple drawings and questions. It was fun to watch our participants trying to remember all they had learned over the last few weeks. We also had a sheet of paper for them to write comments and reviews, we asked them to tell us also what we could do better next time. Here are some of the comments.
‘I learned to take care of my bike (keep it clean), I learned to look closely at it and to be careful’
’The mechanic confirmed many things that were right or wrong. It was great that I could discuss practises with a professional - a kind professional. I really appreciate that there was time taken to address all our questions. It was great, fun, inspiring’
‘I feel that I had a great time with fascinating individuals and I know that I have learned very much in detail and for putting into practise about the important features for safety (such as maintaining the brakes). How to correctly proceed (think before taking action) with working on the bike’
‘I learned how to do stuff on my own without being afraid’
Comments like these show us how worthwhile our project is. When asked what our participants felt they had learned, all of them told us that they had grown in knowledge of each topic we had covered. When asking what could be adjusted or improved, the answers were that more classes and more projects like this would help them to grow in confidence and gain more experience. Proving once again that the need and desire for feminist bicycle initiatives is there.
Photography: Valerie Maltseva http://maltseva.me
Location: Culture Exchange Graz https://www.facebook.com/cultureexchangegraz/
Special thanks to Anna Kofler and Sibylle Hartung for making it all happen and being such an amazing crew to work with
to Thomas Seidl for helping me to write the application for funding and translating all my thoughts into German words on paper. To Kate Howlett-Jones for encouraging me to apply for funding for the project and supplying me with information about where to ask and how to ask. To DRC (daily rhythms collective) for getting behind the project and supplying us with the much needed Verein basis with which we had the possibility to receive the funding.
Lastly special thanks to all who participated and wrote me to apply to come to the classes. It was made special by your efforts and courage to come forward and join in. I am so grateful that you were part of the project and look forward to seeing you again soon.