In August 2011, Casey McKeel, Gabby Vigo, Sandra Morrison, Myloh Jackson, Tiffany Finck-Haynes and Rebecca Lopez convened to begin discussions of creating a bike collective owned and operated by individuals of female, transgendered, and queer identity. The outcome of that meeting is Bearings: A Women, Transgendered, and Queer Bike Project.
Once established, Bearings bike co-operative will function as a place where persons from all walks of life may come and explore the many dimensions of bicycles through education and instruction. Participants will develop project awareness by volunteering with the space, work with collective members to learn the anatomy of bikes, build or repair their own bikes, and engage surrounding communities with their contributions. Bearings will establish a tiered system of operation that begins with the application of volunteer hours. Once participants satisfy a certain threshold of volunteer hours, the co-operative will offer workshops, access to supplies and workspace, as well as one-on-one tutorials with respect to building and repairing bicycles.
This project represents a significant undertaking for many reasons. The ultimate purpose of this initiative is to create a safe and inclusive space built upon pillars of respect and education. Biking is a male dominated activity. Cooperatives run by this male majority tend to most heavily attract participants of likewise background – heterosexual males. As a result, interested parties who represent the minority within the biking community may not find those establishments approachable, or even comfortable, to learn in. As owners and operators, we would represent teachers whom our participants can identify with and, thus, feel comfortable learning from and collaborating with.