I usually work nights and weekends, but I asked for this past weekend off from work. "Cultural holiday." Babes in Bikeland 9 is something to celebrate!
Babes in Bikeland is more than a race
Babes in Bikeland is the largest all-WTF (women, trans, femme) alley cat race in the country. (And probably the largest race of its kind in the Universe, we just can't confirm that.) Pre-Babes Wanderabout is an event that happens the night before the race, and is focused on friendship and socializing with WTFs.
But Babes is not just the race. Babes is the self-organizing that people do beforehand, pre-registering, finding people to ride with, and planning costumes and team names. Babes is the Pre-Babes Wanderabout, where people focus on friendship in an all-WTF space. Babes is the after party. Babes is the awards ceremony. Babes is wearing your t-shirt the day after and smiling at every WTF you see. Babes is flipping through the photo stop photos and looking at race standings and reconnecting with people you rode with, days after the race. Babes is about celebrating women, transgender, and femme power in a supportive and intentional environment.
What does Babes mean to you? Share your stories and images
ROOKIES! VETERANS! MASTERS! WTFS!! I need to hear from you. Send us your Facebook posts, your race reports, your narrative, your photos, your impressions. Please email email@example.com and I will compile your media, and we will be HEARD! Your voice will encourage others to partake next year, and your voice will show that we are active, supportive, biking BABES.
If you were able to attend Babes this year, you know how important it is to the vibe and energy of the event to pack the venue with amazing WTF presence. And if you are a WTF, you know how important it is to keep on publishing stories in our own words, and images of us being ourselves, and not sexualized, passive objects. I strongly believe that publishing what you write, photograph, record is important, regardless if it is an event like Babes or an account of your commute, or a cute photo of you and your kid enjoying bikes together. Let's show 'em how it's done.
(If you have feedback about the race itself, please help us make this event better!)
Stories and Images: Your Babes in Bikeland
Babes in Bikeland Photo Stop
Credit for photos goes to Alex MacGillis and crew. I can't recommend flipping through each one and reading what our Babes have to say. I got a little misty eyed... Photo set here.
Nicole (@nicycle) wrote a beautiful recap of her Babes experience. This is a snippet
I spent the remainder of the night very close to the Grease Rag tent... that purposeful purple awning of awesomeness that was literally paid for with community. I chipped in what I could to help make that tent happen, and every time I see it I am proud to be a small part of it. It’s a perfect metaphor for Grease Rag, really.
See, I stayed by that tent almost all night because I like looking at it. I like knowing it’s there, and that it exists, and that it is found by so many people. I have always felt peripheral to Grease Rag because I work nights and cannot often attend events. However, the Winter Skill share I made it to several years ago was one of the highlights of my biking life, helping me to understand many of the things that had felt like barriers to riding all year. Things like what to wear so I don’t freeze to death and how to not fall.
Grease Rag is all of us. While there are amazing organizers who do so much for the organization, it would not exist without you or I to want it. And I want it! I have delivered so many WTFs into the hands of Grease Rag, so I like to believe I am heavily involved by proxy. And now, we have this tent.
While hanging out near the tent I admired the amazing Abus lock I scored from the prize table, watched Liberty paint Karl’s toenails, had a sandwich delivered straight into my mouth, and ate a tootsie roll. I also had an amazing conversation with new friends about things that can’t be repeated here, but the kind of things that you get to talk about when you just crossed the whole town on your bike, and you allow yourself to be consumed by WTFs in one space. …The kind of opportunities that opens up. A big REASON WE HAVE THIS RACE, need this race. Community. Cavorting. Challenges.
Cheering. Captivating. Celebration. Coozies.
I woke up this morning with a full heart and a grin on my face. Thank you to the amazing Babes volunteers for making this race fun and welcoming. And thank you to the loving, supportive, judgment-free WTF community for being just plain awesome. Y'all are rock stars!
Melanie Steinman Kelley
Some outfits Melanie saw at Babes:
- Batman & Robin on the "tandem mobile"!
- "Babes" the Blue Ox & the Pig!
- The 9 to 5 Clerical Babes Extraordinaire!
- Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsberg!!!!
- Team Prince!!
- Cotton Candy Holly!
- glitter galore!!!
- balloons on bikes!
- Amelia Earhart
- Team high visibility orange cape super hero babes
- Lady bug
- Babe-raham Lincolns
- Minnesota Vikings!
- Team Batwomen in bustles/half-tutus
- Team Lumberjack Babes!
Ginny Marie Herman
YOU! I love you all. This race is so important & every year I become more & more aware of how important WTF only spaces are. Thank you for creating an environment where I felt safe to be silly, sassy, sexy Ginny. (Those hats are the sexiest thing in the world! I turn myself on sometimes!) Now, think of how we can create these SAFER SPACES in our everyday lives. #noBrozone Stand up for yourself, others & call it when you see it. Support each other & find & celebrate those allies!!! Happy 9th Birthday Babes! Onto double digits next year!!!
What an amazing race. Thank you Rachel for being my starter buddy and thank you Julia for taking over from there. You guys guided and pushed me to come in 1st Place Out of Town this year!
I love Babes so much and I can't wait to do it again next year!!
Had a great time last night riding the always empowering Babes in Bikeland 9 bike race! Spent the night with two of my favorite women, biked 35 miles around my lovely city, and got to cheer for fellow babes as we passed each other into the night. Thank you Kat and Jessica for organizing such a wonderful event; thank you Alex, Alex, Ayako, and Patrick for hosting such fun checkpoints; and most importantly, thank you to all the beautiful babes that help each other feel more powerful and beautiful every day.
Also, can we get Jana to host a bike racing strategy 101 course (let's be real, it'd be at the 400+ level)?!? Dang, she's good!
Photo by Ben Hovland
Still buzzing from the awesome event, Babes in Bikeland 9!
Thank you Kat, Jessica and Karyn, for working so hard to make this it happen and for your **massive** support for the WTF community! You keep coming up with ever-cooler additions: more race categories and podium levels in each category, the killer prize table, the fantastic Babes jerseys, and the scholarship. Your months of hard work really showed!
Big ups to Grease Rag Ride & Wrench and Laura and Ginny who enlisted and prepared people for safe and fun riding.
Thanks to Solcana Crossfit for once again hosting the after party!
Kudos to all of the men who cheered, set-up, volunteered, reg'd, DJ'd, cleaned up and supported to allow the most possible WTFs to ride! And Jessica Baltzley. Everyone was really helpful and supportive.
This year my goal was to have a positive attitude throughout, since it's not been my strong suit when the combo of adrenaline, competition and bonkage kick in. I feel like things went pretty well, though there's always room for improvement.
Congrats to Kate, Nikki, Hailey, Anneka and the fast person with the great bow tie whose name escapes me. And to Jenny, Dana, Nickey & co, and all of the other podium folk! It was hard to see and hear everything over the crowd, so I didn't catch it all.
Thanks to The Hub Bike Co-op for sponsoring the Felt CX bike that I won, and to Six Degrees Uptown for the 1 month membership! I'm so excited to use both!
Check out all of the Babes sponsors, and support them for supporting us!
Thanks especially to my wonderful, handsome, #1 cheerleader, Phil Velo! I love you and so appreciate your moral and mechanical support.
Shout out to Erik Noren and Peacock Groove for my trusty bike (sponsored at Babes in Bikeland 2010)!
I'm grateful for the camaraderie and backing of Sh!tgoose Race Team and our sponsors Alt Bike Board, Terry Bicycles, Pabst Twin Cities, Bryant Lake Bowl & Theater, Wheelhouse, Dangerous Man Brewing Co, Grumpy's Northeast, Taco Cat, Wolf Tooth Components, LLC and Memory Lanes. And Rock-It Bicycle Delivery, for adding this rookie to the ranks.::)
4 years ago, I entered my first ever bike race, Babes in Bikeland 6. It was full to the brim with positivity, love, support, and kindness. It set a high standard for racing that was quickly put into perspective once I entered other races that were not exclusively femme/trans/women racers. Those races were male-dominated, macho #brozones that I wanted NO part of. Today was my 4th Babes race and I completely unexpectedly placed 3rd. I am so proud of myself and all the other riders who shared their smiles, glitter, and love for bikes with me. I am so lucky to be a part of a community that creates safe spaces for WTF's so that maybe one day, those vibes will rub off on all other races.
Bjorn Christianson's photo set
Bjorn has captured amazing photos of every Babes race, and this year was no exception. Flip through the entire photoset, but this one is my favorite.
Our fearless leaders, Karyn, Kat, and Jessica
Upcoming WTF events
Spinning Stories: Grease Rag
September 5th- Spinning Stories is a place-based storytelling series that travels by bike. We produce true, Twin-Cities stories, and bring you back to where each story first happened with a slow paced group bike ride. It's about art, it's about connecting with new people, it's about connecting with the Twin Cities in a totally new way, and - yeah - it's a super fun group bike ride, too!
This month we're partnering with Grease Rag Wrench & Ride (greaserag.org), to bring you three stories centered around women/trans*/femme (WTF) identities. Struggles, triumphs, intersectional feminism - these stories have got it all. Check it out!
Full Moon Ride: Halloween edition
September 27th- Stay tuned!
October 17th- For anybody looking for more WTF allycat action this fall and want a road trip- Carolyn Weber and Milwaukee's women have a date and are planning our new annual race. Thought to pass it on as Babes has been an inspiration and a pleasure to race twice- and hopefully again next year! Check it out!
My Time in Bikeland, by Low
Read my recap of our Pre-Babes Wanderabout ride!
The day of the race, I arrived early to registration to set up the Grease Rag tent. We fundraised hard for that tent, and to see it, in its purple glory, like a beacon of friendship, chocolate, and glitter, was beautiful. What a beautiful symbol of a safer space. Our theme for the tent was #noBrozone. I left my inner bro at home!
Grease Rag tent at the start. Photo by Bjorn Christianson
I can't tell you how excited I am that I was able to race with new friend Elena, and reconnect with Buzo and Corrine- my very first Babes race partners! We aren't the fastest, we aren't the most competitive, but we love riding together, we all worked together, and we talked about bikes and cats and pickles as we moved through the course, all 27 miles of it.
I loved the photo stop, with the snacks, I have never screen printed anything before, and I loved being able to stretch my muscles at one of the stops. And you know what? Running up prospect water tower was actually a great leg break!
I was slow getting to the finish line, and my friend Liberty was worried about me. Liberty is seven, and uses she/her pronouns. She said, "I heard an ambulance siren and I didn't want it to be you. I wanted all of the babes to be safe." Precious. She also put a hat on top of my hat, as a prize for coming in safely.
Photo by Alex MacGillis
The treat bag at the end was lovely, the jams were friendly, and I got SO MANY GLITTERY HUGS. Honestly, I will never be free of this glitter. (I'm okay with that.) I wasn't able to see the awards ceremony, because I was too busy trying to work with the crowd to make sure WTFs were at the front, and all the dude-folk made space. Most listened and made space. Some ignored me. One challenged me, which was canceled about by the one who asked, "Should I stand further back?" Thank you for asking! #noBrozone
What did we all win?
If you didn't get to finish before the cut off. If you didn't get to all the stops. If you didn't place in the top 3. If you didn't win a prize. Just remember the spirit of Babes in Bikeland, and why we are all there. To support each other and to have fun. That's the best prize of all.
Thank you, Babes.