A few months back, we broadcast the announcement that Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) was again offering up its Women’s Bike Mechanic Scholarship. The time has come, the winners have been chosen, and we are so friggin pumped. Each of the 32 scholarship recipients will attend a two-week Professional Repair and Shop Operations class at United Bicycle Institute (UBI), in Ashland, Oregon. The scholarship covers the winners’ tuition and lodging, plus a stipend to help defray the personal expenses of travel and meals.
Each of these profiles brings me such joy to read, and while we all still have a ways to go before the cycling industry promotes the diversity it has, this list has a relatively broad range of ages, diasporas, and gender expression within the femme spectrum. The winners were selected from nearly 300 qualified applicants because of their passion for increasing ridership among underrepresented groups and their demonstrated commitment to the projects they’re currently working on. With the completion of this class, more wrenching knowledge gets disseminated into more communities, more folks who previously didn’t think they were the right type of person to apply for the scholarship might take a chance next year. It means more folks who have been intimidated by going into a bike shop and talking to their local mechanic might feel a bit more invited by seeing someone who looks more like them putzing around the workstation.
Sincere congratulations to everyone who was awarded these scholarships. The time spent at UBI will help each recipient build a solid foundation of technical knowledge to strengthen their bike industry career while also helping to grow the network of talented mechanics.