Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

05 October 2018

En Vive B Vivit: A UBI Scholar Teaches Other Women

One year ago tomorrow, I reported on the scholarships Quality Bicycle Parts (QBP) was offering scholarships for women to learn bicycle mechanics at United Bicycle Institute's (UBI) school.  It's being offered again this year.

One of the great things, at least to me, about that scholarship is that it's open to all types of women, including trans folks like yours truly or anyone else who identifies as female or femme.  

Now, you might wonder how such a thing is an advancement for women, as being a bike mechanic isn't the steadiest (in most places, it's seasonal) or most lucrative work.  Learning the bicycle inside and out at a place like UBI can help someone prepare for other work in the bicycle industry, whether as a shop owner or for companies like QBP.

In fact, what's being offered isn't just a "mechanic's scholarship", as some of the bicycle press has reported. Rather, it's a Professional Repair and Shop Operation curriculum.

The only qualification, aside from gender identity, for a candidate is current employment in a bike shop in the US or any of its territories.  The employment needn't be paid:  interns, volunteers and trainees will also be considered.  Thus, I imagine, someone working in a community recycle-a-bicycle program would be a candidate. 

The deadline to apply is 2 November.

The 32 women who win the scholarships will attend the February 2019 classes in either of UBI's Oregon campuses. (Ashland and Portland)  

If you are one of the lucky ones, there's a chance that one of your instructors will be B Vivit, who graduated from the course last year.

B Vivit (left) at UBI's school


At that time, she was the floor manager at Huckleberry Cycles in San Francisco.  After the course ended, she was giving feedback to some of the instructors via text. "They recommended I apply to teach," she said, "because they overheard me helping other students and teaching during class."

That sounds like as much of an endorsement as any:  The course uncovered a talent a student could contribute to, not only the UBI, but the world of cycling generally.  After all, to paraphrase someone whose name I won't mention, it isn't just about the bike.

Oh, by the way, Park Tool, one of the sponsors of the scholarship, supplies each participant with a travel tool kit she can take home with her.

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