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Two female bike mechanics awarded scholarships

Published April 14, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (BRAIN) —  Two female bike mechanics have been awarded full scholarships to attend UBI's Professional Shop Mechanic and Operations classes, thanks to a program sponsored by UBI, SRAM and QBP.

The two recipients, chosen from more than 300 applicants, were Elizabeth Jose, who works at Bikeworks in New York City, and Vanessa Buccella, the operator of BFF Bikes in Illinois. 

Each is being awarded full tuition for the two-week class, plus housing expenses.

Recipients were chosen on the basis of their past leadership, their commitment to growing women in cycling and their ability and desire to use the scholarship to grow women's cycling within their shop and in the community. 

“The extraordinary caliber of applicants made the selection process tough,” said QBP distribution sales manager Alix Magner. “However, the two award winners embody what we were seeking: accomplished women who have demonstrated leadership, volunteerism, and the desire and dedication to grow participation of women in cycling.”

Besides working at Bikeworks, Jose runs WE Bike NYC (Women’s Empowerment through Bicycles). Her shop offers a 10-week mechanics course in Spanish to women in Queens as well as a “Moms on Wheels” program that helps mothers gain confidence riding with kids.

Jose said, “I love the feeling I get when I make something work and I want to be able to turn around fast, effective repairs on anything that comes into the shop. I also want to share this knowledge with other women through WE Bike NYC. The ‘pay it forward’ model of all the WE Bike NYC classes means that what I learn at UBI will not only benefit me, but also my shop, all the women I work with in WE Bike NYC, and all the women, children, and families that those women work with in the future.” 

Buccella has served on the board of the Illinois Cycling Association for two years and was part of the team that created Illinois Women Cyclists, a 300-member group that introduces women to bike racing. BFF Bikes is billed as the only bike shop for women in the Midwest. Buccella said, “Our goal for BFF Bikes is to get more women cycling, be a shop for those who already do, get them on their bikes more often, and teach them as much about the mechanics of bikes as we can.

"Being UBI certified will be HUGE for the shop. We have a mission not only to get more women on bikes, but also to get more women comfortable with the mechanics of bikes. We’ll disprove the notion that cycling is a 'man's sport,' in which women also participate.” 

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