2017 was an eventful year for women at The Bristol Bike Project. In June, coordinators and volunteers from our ever popular Women & Trans* Night welcomed folks from Oxford’s Broken Spoke Co-op, who rode all the way here! We shared food, skills and ideas about how we run these sessions. We were inspired by hearing about Beryl’s Night, the monthly session they run for women and trans folk which was the starting point for Broken Spoke, and to see first-hand what goes on at Beryl’s Night several of us travelled to Oxford in September. These relationships and exchanges with other co-ops are really valuable to us a project because they top up our enthusiasm for the work we do and allow us to reflect on and discuss the way we do things. And of course, to plan more trips to see our rad pals!
Also in September we organised two film events in our Community workshop, using the awesome projector and screen recently installed by one of our coordinators. The first event was Groundswell: Bicycle Culture Rising, which was a series of thought-provoking short documentaries about grassroots bike activism made by Elly Blue and Joe Biel, publishers, writers and filmmakers from Portland, Oregon. In between films Elly and Joe asked the audience questions which elicited moving personal stories and interesting reflections on how bicycling and bike activism are different here in the U.S., and left us all inspired by what we’d seen.
The second screening was part of the Bristol Cycle Festival. Ovarian Psychos is a documentary about a Los Angeles all-female bike gang who are claiming their space on the streets and fighting patriarchy as they go. After the film there was talk about forming a feminist bike gang in Bristol but we need good name: any ideas? Because the Cycle Festival was such a busy week we know lots of folks who wanted to see the film weren’t able to make it, so we’re hoping to arrange another screening in the new year. Watch this space.
Finally, in November Jenni Gwiazdowski, founder of London Bike Kitchen, came to give a talk to a packed crowd before one of our Women&Trans* Nights. Jenni has just written a book called How to Build a Bike (available in the BBP shop!) and spoke about how to get more girls and women into STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and maths (bike mechanics is included here). She rightly pointed out that do so we need three things:
- role models
- smash patriarchy
Can you spot a recurring theme? We’re keen carry on holding more events like these and keep up the dialogue with other bike co-ops and workshops, and it’s awesome that much of the energy for this is coming from women at the Project.
If you have an idea for an event you’d like to run at the Project, please let us know!