Photo provided by Claire Dehm.

Making a community bicycle-friendly requires education as well as infrastructure, and learning one skill can make a big difference in a person’s ability to reliably travel by bicycle. In summer 2021, Ithaca resident Claire Dehm addressed this need with a free “Women at the Wheel” workshop series funded by a Neighborhood Mini-Grant from Sustainable Tompkins.

Open to women and non-binary residents of Tompkins County, the three single-day workshops were held at the Steamboat Landing pavilion used by the Ithaca Farmers Market. A total of 21 participants learned the full process of fixing a flat bicycle tire and brought home a set of tools. They had opportunities to ask questions about other aspects of bicycle repair and maintenance, and expressed interest in workshops focused on these topics. Claire hopes to provide similar workshops in the future.

Participants testified to the workshops’ success:

Photo provided by Claire Dehm.

“The fact that it was hands-on and we got to try everything not only helped me understand how to do it but gave me the confidence that I can do it on my own. I also love that we were able to walk away with all the tools that we need to fix our own flat tires.”

“Claire provided lots of hands-on working with each aspect of fixing a flat from start to finish and support and encouragement for when it was challenging. I think the fact that it was just fixing a flat (not many other aspects of bike maintenance in the same workshop) will mean that I’ll retain the info better. I am practicing at home too!”

“It was great to work in such a small group so that no one fell behind. It also allowed us to ask individual questions about bike repairs, maintenance, etc. at the end.”

“It was all wonderful. I really appreciate you having the idea to offer this, seeking funding, and doing a great job putting it on! It was also really nice to be able to take home some new tools. Thank you Sustainable Tompkins for funding this workshop.”

The Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program provides seed money to diverse initiatives to build environmental, economic, and social resilience and well-being in Tompkins County. The program is sponsored by Craig Riecke, Beck Equipment, and local donors. We need your support so we can help more citizen leaders act on their values. Please donate today and help us support more wonderful citizen-driven projects to improve life in our community.