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Brassworks Bicycle Co says leave your assumptions at the door

2-minute read

Brassworks Bicycle Co says leave your assumptions at the door
Mx Patrick Carr

Mx Patrick Carr

8 June 2021

Throughout Pride Month 2021 we’ll be amplifying the stories of our LGBTQ+ customers. Here, LGBTQ+ business owner, Mx Patrick Carr writes about setting up Brassworks Bicycle Co in Newcastle Upon Tyne – and shares their advice on how others can be allies.

A perspective from a largely male industry

I think my perspective of a non-binary bisexual person in a largely male industry is an interesting one. I often ‘pass’ as a straight cis man, which leads to lots of misgendering, much of it unintentional – “look at the man fixing the bikes” a parent will say.

But also I’m invited into conversations where transphobia and homophobia is rampant. It happened even today. All-male cyclists groups are often difficult spaces where ‘banter’ rules and ‘snowflakes’ are derided.

In my business I display a Pride flag sticker in the window, as a cue to those who notice that it’s a safer space than some bike shops.

"I’ll not judge you on your old rust bucket, or your £5,000 race bike. Please don’t judge me on my pronouns badge, or my nail polish."

Could you tell us about your business?

I left a national cycling charity having really enjoyed a regional community development role focused on young people usually excluded from cycling.

I used my redundancy pay to cycle across Europe. That trip gave me the confidence and self-sufficiency to start my own business.

Cycling has boomed this year. I’m happy to be at the most sustainable end of the industry – doing repairs and maintenance from my own shop, rather than the ‘pile-em-high, sell-em-cheap’ end of the industry.

Patrick Carr owner of Brassworks Bicycle Co

Do you have any advice for others to be allies in your space of business?

Leave your assumptions about a typical bike shop owner at the door. I do this job because I’m passionate about seeing people on bikes. All people. And all bikes. I’ll not judge you on your old rust bucket, or your £5,000 race bike. Please don’t judge me on my pronouns badge, or my nail polish.

What does Pride Month mean to you?

Pride was a protest before it was a party. There are still people who need Pride to push for change. Look to those still marginalised, and those whose voices are missing from the queer narrative – trans people, non-monosexual people, aces, non-binary folk.

Why is it important for there to be LGBTQ+ owned businesses in your sector?

My sector needs to look more like the people it serves. Cycling is getting more diverse, but the industry lags behind.

Do you have any guidance for other LGBTQ+ people thinking about setting up their own business?

Do it. You’re valuable, valid, interesting, and the world needs your ideas.

"You challenge the status quo just by existing. Imagine the change you can make in society by leading your own business."

Are there any role models or other small businesses you look up to as an LGBTQ+ owned business?

The Artful Barber in Cullercoats is pretty cool – they challenge the highly gendered world of hair from within. And Ziggy’s in South Shields. I’m also a musician, and this venue really makes a difference. It’s somewhere I can let the mask slip, and just be me.

Check out Brassworks Bicycle Co on Instagram and remember to support LGBTQ+ small businesses – this month and every month of the year.

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