Bikesexual is an upcycling project, based in Vienna. We design vegan sextoys, belts, bicycle accessories, jewellery and other stuff out of trash, out of broke bike parts. We give workshops in Vienna and everywhere (where we don’t need to fly!). We combine principles of DIY, vegan, ecological, and bicycle culture and queer politics and keep it affordable. Green, queer, cheap and you can ride it:)
there is almost nothing I wouldn’t be able to learn and do myself, just things I wouldn’t want to do.
Bikesexual is a project for self-empowerment, to challenge body norms and sexual norms and practice of free education (free as in freedom, not free as in beer), while keeping it cheap, ecological and fun. We create visibility for waste reduction and alternative materials, veganism, queer politics and desires and we create space for a discourse apart from the mainstream. We always prefer the easier methods, and use common tools and materials, so people can easily reproduce what they learn, and create long lasting and practical products. There have been workshops in Germany, Austria, Hungary, and soon in Italy, Netherlands etc., in For-free-shops, bicycle workshops and community spaces, feminist festivals and ecological and alternative gatherings. With that we bring visibility for queer-feminist topics in bicycle-rooms, or the animal rights movement and we bring ecological and vegan ideas in queer-feminist spaces. We network with companies, bike shops and bicycle collectives, party-spaces and magazines, universities, non-commercial and ecological organizations, so we reach a wide range of people with our work. We create the workshops as an easy to access environment: no previous technical knowledge is required, neither regarding bicycles, nor sextoys, and we keep “frontal education” to the minimum, to create a relaxed atmosphere. In the small talks during the workshops we end up discussing several topics: about bicycle repair, and how you can distinguish what is broken and what can be repaired, in order to know, what to upcycle, what to donate the local bicycle collective. We also talk about where materials come from, what do they all include, how, under what conditions are they produced. We encourage and empower people reduce their trash and to create their own lives, be that at the moment a piece of jewellery, a belt, a reflecting trouser clip made from an old bike tire, or a strap on dildo or handcuffs made from bike inner tubes, a piece of furniture or a bicycle itself. We discuss a lot about consent, and safer sex, and risks, and create a big common pool of knowledge beyond taboos! We put a big emphasis on safety and consensuality, and we do that while being in a playful – but not at all oversexualised – environment. At the end of a workshop usually people already show each other how to use a chain-breaker, what to take care of when cutting the inner tubes etc. Noone is more entitled than you to make decisions of your own life, we provide the space, infrastructure and some inspiration, and an exchange of knowledge, to go beyond mainstream, stay within (or actually, first reach) sustainability, and leave the industrial animal- and plastic-production far behind!
About workshops and collaborations
Among the things I don’t want to do, is for example flying to propagate upcycling or buying materials for “trashdesign”. Many trashdesign projects, designers that experiment with upcycling buy their materials because they are more shiny, colourful, or simply just easy to get. This is however not trashdesign, as it’s not made of trash and have nothing to do with an ecological approach. My products are from 90% to 100% recycled, and I only use materials that are bought when it’s not possible to replace them with something else, and in those cases I always go for recycled materials if possible. Because of this almost every piece will be unique, a tiny bit different, have their own character and their history. About giving workshops somewhere, and about sending products by post, our policy is to only go to places, or send products to, when it can be done without flying, for the same reasons, so to keep things environmental friendly.
We work with people who inspire us, and who are reliable and stand stable on their feet, and who have the goal to question themselves and reflect on their projects and on their behaviour. We are based in Vienna, Austria, and plan to keep it as a base for longer time. In D.I.Y. culture, in giving workshops about sextoys, I prefer working with women* and trans, or genderqueer and feminist social environment, or in a general mixed gender environment at least half women* and trans, and them being part in decision making processes, in organising is very important. I like working with migrants, and also girls and (not too young) kids. (The age is important in the case of for example a jewellery workshop for kids, that they are somewhat independent and can take care of themselves using simple tools like scissor, cable cutter or smaller pliers etc. or there is more adults or older youth helping them with assistance.)
As these collaborations grow and progress, Bikesexual becomes more an more a team, and though it has started as a one-(wo)man project, it is open for others to join who share the principles of the project and who are inspiring and want to be inspired, and who are reliable, and committed as well. We have got a space now to regularly work in, and hopefully there is the need in Vienna to have a special Upcycling workshop space one day and this need or wish will bring people together – and it won’t just become a pile of junk that “might be good some day” but an organic, lively community space. Who knows:) but that’s ahead, ideas, images…