We asked Danni Limonez of West Town Bikes to talk to us about her United Bicycle Scholarship opportunity out in Oregon!
(All images courtesy of Danni Limonez)
I have been a proud employee at West Town Bikes in Humboldt Park for over two years now. As a Program Manager, we focus on engaging our staff and ourselves to spread knowledge about the power of bicycling. Specifically, I teach programs five days a week and love meeting all sorts of wonderful people. Seeing someone blossom with their bicycle is so rewarding on both ends. This year I had the opportunity to blossom myself with a scholarship to United Bicycle Institute in Oregon.
In the application process I explained how infrequent women and specifically women of color are not represented in the bicycle industry. My classmates and I were geared from community bike shops. We had plenty to chat about how women are visible but it should be better and more vivid by now in this time of 2017. We are riding and wrenching but are misrepresented and or not receiving the credit we deserve to bring other women into this bicycling mechanics world. The Women's Bicycle Mechanic class was one of the best learning experiences a person could have. We went into United Bicycle Institute with all sorts of backgrounds. What we took out will forever help our communities locally and as women identifying people in the industry.
We worked on all sorts of bikes. Coming from a community bike shop, some of it was unfamiliar. Bleeding brakes was pretty cool and rewarding. Working on road bikes that were built in the frame shop just next door was so special. The teachers Nathan and Matt have amazing stories about their history and plenty of great tips and tricks to getting that derailleur to hang just right. Sara from Sram was our guest speaker and taught a class one day. She is an inspiration to people in the industry. The owners and staff at UBI have really opened up so well to our class. The sponsors are so awesome for recognizing how important this movement of education is from these people who took the scholarship. QBP staff are super fun by the way!
One of the best memories was my experience with mountain biking for the first time. We were riding fun trails named after Alice In Wonderland references. The elevation made me feel so much more intense the higher we went up. Yet, I was in such a beautiful quiet area in nature. I went down some burms but defiantly did not do them all. I may have not done mountain biking if it was not for my dear friend Laura who kindly gave me no choice. The encouragement of each other is so important to have a healthy life. West Town Bikes has the same mission for our youth. Encouraging a healthy empowering lifestyle.
The people, I will forever stay in touch with is the most wonderful thing that had happened to me out West. My classmates, are changing the standards every day more and more. They are my new sisters, from all over the place. We took care of each other out there pretty well, making sure we stayed together, just as how a community is built on. Since then, some have gone off already to work at United Bicycle Institute and another is moving across the country to work with one of our classmates. I can not wait for my next journey because I am sure it will be with one of these new friends I have met in Oregon.
Women need to engage their youth, specifically girls and trans youth into the industry. Depending on what state you live in, support may be greater in more places than others. Luckily, learning from some of the other women here I am privileged to have the support I do in Chicago. As long as you have yourself and your bicycle you can go far. Anyone can see that a bicycle is beneficial in learning how to take care of yourself. A bicycle can lead to so many opportunities whether it is a full time job or staying healthy. Learning mechanics is vital to having a successful ride to life. I encourage women and youth to go to your trusted bike shop and ask about what rides and programs are happening in your community geared towards people of color, women and youth.
Visit Danni at West Town Bikes over in Humboldt Park!