Bike Pirates, a do-it-yourself themed bike shop on Bloor Street has its doors open for women and trans community members exclusively on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m.
The Sunday slot has been running since November 2008 and has allowed these groups to have access to a safe space of learning, socializing and feeling empowered through one another. The slot had been assigned by the store after feeling a need of more support for these groups, who may have difficulty while riding, fixing or learning about cycling.
“Our ultimate goal at Bike Pirates is to create an anti-oppressive environment for people to learn and work together every day that the shop is open,” the website says.
Surrounded by bike parts, wheels and people shuffling around
the store, Bike Pirates is an open concept store organized and run by volunteers. They provide low cost bikes to the public, instructions on how to fix or tune bikes on a drop-in basis, collect bike donations and even donate them to local charities. A kitchen program also provides meals to anyone visiting the shop, which they believe will boost store involvement and creates a sense of community.
At the end, Bike Pirates hope that women and trans folk will continue to use the store, on other days as well.
This is a message I will leave for readers directly from Bike Pirate’s site:
Allies who are not trans- or woman-identified can support Sundays by:
- Respecting the space. If you are not woman-identified or trans-identified, please come to the shop during our other open hours!
- Taking us seriously. We have created this space because we feel like we need it. It is hurtful to ask people who are trying to claim space whether they are joking!
- Being aware of the ways you interact with others at Bike Pirates. Creating a positive, anti-oppressive environment is everyone’s job.
- Educating yourself about issues affecting trans folks and women.
- Explaining to other potential allies why it is important to support trans and women exclusive spaces. It is often helpful for dudes to hear it from other dudes!