Pat Robertson, I’m so glad you have such a nuanced understanding of feminism.
Go check out Elly Blue’s First Annual Journal of Bicycle Feminism on Kickstarter! The first theme is grief and healing, and I’m sure that it will be a must-have read.
Please consider backing the project and pre-ordering your journal today!
Last weekend I marched in the People’s Climate March with a group from Bikes Not Bombs. It was a crazy experience to be part of a march of over 400,000 people. And by march I really mean that I stood around in the same few blocks for 5 hours before the back of the march got moving.
Anyways. The best part of the march for me was seeing all the creative signs, puppets and performances that people created for the event. Here is a picture of my favorite sign from the march. So simple. To the point. And could apply to just about everything.
I went into Babes In Bikeland 8 with one goal: to not flip over my handlebars. Which really wasn’t a very hard goal to set. The only other time I had participated in Babes in Bikeland, the largest WTF (women/trans/femme) alley-cat in the world started in Minneapolis (unverified claim, but I’m 99% sure is accurate), I broke the chain on my fixie and flipped over my handlebars in the first three blocks of the race. Afterward I slowly rode to a few stops and stopped by the after party, but left quickly because I felt pretty shaken up. So my goal of Babes being better than the last time was a pretty easy goal to achieve. I also had other goals: have fun, ride hard, finish all the stops, cheer for everyone I passed on the roads, but not flipping over my handlebars was pretty high on the list.
And let me tell you, it was beyond great. It’s hard to find the words to describe how wonderful, empowering, and rad Babes in Bikeland is.
One of my favorite things about Babes is that it isn’t just about the race – it’s a whole weekend of events. The night before there is a pre-ride, the morning of there is a brunch, then there is the race and the after party, and the next day Open Streets essentially acts as the Babes cool down.
The weekend kicked off Friday night with the Pre-Babes Wanderabout. My friend Low with a team of other rad folks have been organizing the Wanderabout for 3 years. Its a ride meant for new people who have never raced an alley-cat before and are looking for an introduction as to what to expect, want to meet some people so that they’ll see some familiar faces at the start line, and want to familiarize themselves with at least two stops of the race (the beginning and the end). I wanted to attend the Wanderabout because although I like to think of myself as a seasoned racer, I am always looking to attend events that are advertised as an inclusive environment for new cyclists, and I’m constantly trying to learn from these events as to how to bring this back to my own community. Anyways – the wanderabout was awesome. We casually rode for 10 miles, stopped by the beautiful Minnehaha Falls, and ended at SPOKES with beer and pizza. It sets off the Babes weekend on the perfect note saying that this is a race that is welcome to everyone and encouraging new folks to come out.
Then the big day arrived. Babes in Bikeland. It’s hard to describe what its like to see 400+ WTF riders converging in this one park, some dressed in crazy costumes, others in full kits with their game faces on, and everyone super pumped to be there. I wasn’t really sure what my race plan was as I arrived at registration. I hadn’t decided if I wanted to really race, ride casually, or somewhere in between. I didn’t have a ride partner, and I wasn’t entirely sure if I wanted one. And then I saw her. My old co-worker Janne was in line for registration. And I thought ‘Perfect. She is the perfect ride partner.’ After hugs and such we agreed to ride together with the motto ‘fun before fast.’ We wanted to ride fast, but still use the time to chat, catch up, and, most importantly, have fun.