The bicycle, said Susan B. Anthony, “has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”
Without further adieu, I announce that SRAM, Quality Bicycle Products, and United Bicycle Institute is offering two Female Mechanic Scholarships for UBI’s bike school. The recipient’s scholarship will supplement the advanced certification seminars for experienced mechanics or the two-week Professional Shop Repair and Operations class. Whether you perpetually have grease under your fingernails, or you want an introduction to bicycle repair, the benefits will pay off, respectively.
Female mechanics are still sparse among community and corporate bike positions, especially as mechanics. Statistics show more female mechanics are making ripples in communities where the number of cyclists are increasing. The lack of female representation may also point to a condensed portion of the population that pursues technical specialities, let alone specialized bicycle skills.
Civil engineer Finnaula Quinn noted on the Washington Area Bicyclist Association blog that on the emerald isle, “Before the bicycle, the women and girls of rural Ireland had never had this freedom of travel and the options that brought with it.”
In the New York Times article “Women with Wrenches,” graduates from UBI and female bike shop owners in Brooklyn mention the scarcity of female mechanics in bike shops and the battle to have their skills taken seriously. Even when supported by male customers or coworkers, their approach to repairing the bike is described as “sensitive,” as mentioned by a male interviewee. I think knowing how to fix and handle bicycles, with their intricacy and simplicity, offers highly transferable skills, even a sleight of hand.
“Like most bike mechanics, Ms. Dyer has always enjoyed working with her hands. Before becoming a mechanic, she worked as a landscaper, a floral arranger and a cabinetmaker. She has also built amplifiers and modified instruments, including a baritone ukulele, for her band, Buke and Gass. “It all relates to fixing bicycles,” she said.” – from “Women with Wrenches”
In a future blog post, I will expand on Fionnuala’s story in relation to why women choose to ride bikes because of safety, indicating that walking on sidewalks is dangerous option.
Scholarship applications are due March 22. To compliment this exciting announcement, I plan to read and review the following books: