What does it mean to be a volunteer at GNI?
Volunteering at GNI involves
- being present to welcome people into the space
- help them find tools
- provide support in problem-solving and repairs
- helping to maintain logs
People with all sorts of needs use the space, whether it is to simply lube up their chain to stop it from squeaking, start building a whole new bike or anything in between.
How much bike repair knowledge is needed to volunteer?
Not a lot! Volunteering is a constant learning process in itself, so if you want to know more about bikes then this can be a great way to be exposed to a whole range of bikes, parts and repair projects. You can always ask another volunteer if you get stuck, and we have books and internet access in the shop if everyone is uncertain about how to proceed.
How much time will I be expected to commit?
If you’re able to come help out at every GNI, then it’s a twice-a-month commitment for ~3.5 hours each time. However, if you only think you can help out one night a month, then that’s great too!
It would be great to have people commit to at least one night a month so we know what our capacity is each time, but we can also talk about more casual, drop-in volunteering if that’s what works for you.
If we have lots of folks who want to volunteer, we could also talk about holding GNI even more frequently.
Why have a women and trans folks only night anyway?
There are a few reasons. For one thing, we recognize that some folks who have experienced gender-based violence will not feel safe in a shop full of men, and so this is our effort to make a space that is as welcoming as possible to those people. Secondly, the unfortunate reality is that bike shop culture is still pretty male-dominated, which means that women and trans folks may feel uncomfortable or unwelcome due to behaviours that suggest that their skills/knowledge/perspectives/experiences are not as valid as those of men.
Thirdly, because spring/summer is a busy time of year, this allows us to open up the shop for a few more hours a week, allowing more people to access its resources. Finally, we volunteers at GNI love bikes and bike repair and we want to encourage more people to learn about them in a friendly, anti-oppressive environment!
What should I do if I want to volunteer?
First, be stoked about joining a great project! Then, you can email us at girlsnightinrtm(at)gmail(dot)com to let us know that you’re interested OR show up at the next GNIs on May 28th, June 11th, or June 25th at 6 pm and let us know!
The Right to Move space is located in a basement down ~6 stairs, with a tight turn at the bottom to open the door to inside. Available seating is backless metal and plastic stools, and one back-supported office chair. The shop space is lit by fluorescent lights, and there may be strong smells from lubricants, metal and other chemicals used for bike cleaning and repair. Gender-neutral bathrooms are available up a flight of stairs, and drinking water is available in the shop.
When you enter the shop space you can expect to be greeted at the door by a volunteer who will sign you in. At sign in you will be asked for your name, whether your are a member or a Concordia student, and what you’d like to work on (on your bike, ie. fix a flat, adjust your brakes, tune up a wheel, etc.). If you’re not already a member of Right to Move there is a 2$ fee for the use of the space and tools, or you can become a member for 20$/year — Right to Move is a not-for-profit organization that relies on membership fees for day-to-day operations.
Volunteers are present to answer your questions or help you figure out a problem with your bike, but cannot fix your bike. We have an informal ‘hands off’ policy, and volunteers should ask your permission if they need to touch your bike in order to help you. GNI is a learning space, and we hope that at every visit you can learn a new thing and that we can build our skills together!