2016 Babes in Bikeland TEN Recap

If you were following #biblx on Instagram and Facebook, you probably saw some of these updates. I heard so many amazing and inspiring stories about that day, that I wanted to collect them in a fun recap with your voices, stories, and photos.

Here on greaserag.org

Four Babes organizers

Photo by Alex MacGillis

I wrote about my experience as a Babes organizer, and included perspectives from Karyn, Jessica B, Jessica N, and Elena.

You can read a post about Safer Spaces at Babes, and how we made some moves to create a More Inclusive Event.

And don’t miss out on the Grease Rag Pre-Babes Wanderabout recap!

Your stories

Some of you wrote the most touching stories, still riding the high of Babes TEN:  The Babes with the WTF only dance floor at First Avenue.  The Babes with DJ Seven, and Sweetpea leading the Wobble.  The Babes with the Wolf and Moose mystery stop.

Thank you for sharing your stories!

Kat took a break from organizing Babes for the last FIVE YEARS (one year completely on her own, what) to ride Babes.  Her words are beautiful.  Almost as beautiful as my memory of us slow dancing to Purple Rain at the end of the night!

Kat and Mo

Two generations! Kat and Mo- photo by Alex MacGillis


What an incredible community to be a part of. I am so honored and proud to see what Babes has become. It has continued to grow in number while digging it’s roots deeper in centering WTFs and making safer spaces in our bike community. I have never felt so much joy than to see the First Ave dance floor packed with WTFs learning the wobble from SweatPea, while Jessica, Karyn, Laura, and Jessica ran a smooth ship from start to finish. This wouldn’t have been possible without Kayla’s brilliant idea ten years ago, and without the continual support of amazing folks like Sica and the the fox den salon and Grease Rag Ride & Wrench. Special shout outs to Elena for running the pre-game show, my teammates Jana, Nikki, and Elise for slaying the race, our pals Amy and Morgen at Solcana Crossfit, and my family Maureen, Amy, Ann and Cayla for riding with me. I was a puddle of tears at the end of the night because all of you! I love you!

– Kat McCarthy

Mona rode Babes stoking on a tandem, borrowed from one of our top level sponsors, Sunrise Cyclery, with Lee Penn.  There were a few rad tandem teams out there this year!  Mona is definitely the first blind racer we’ve had at Babes!

Two riders selfie

Mona and Lee- Photo by Lee Penn

This past Saturday I had the awesome experience of participating in a local bike race called Babes in Bikeland and biking over 20 miles! We were one of three tandem bikes to compete. I believe I was the first blind women to participate in this race since it started 10 years ago and apparently even though we participated not for the win we still came in 42nd and 43rd!

-Mona Minkara

My friend, Julia is a powerful and kind person.

Rider by U of M Health sign

Photo by Elise Denham Probasco

First time riding since kidney donation surgery was the Babes in Bikeland WTF alleycat race on Saturday. Elise and I made our own bonus checkpoint and visited the hospital.

– Julia Bulbulian Wells

Fox Den Salon has been enthusiastically donating and supporting Babes for NINE YEARS.  This year, their donations made an MC and DJ possible at our after party.  The salon has services that are not gendered, and all of their stylists are raddd.

Two people in selfie

Goodie Bags on table

Bags! Bags! Bags! – Photo by Sica

If you didn’t hear, one of our favorite events, Babes in Bikeland 10 happened last night! While we were honored to be invited to support this WTF (women/trans/femme) bike race for the last 9 years (we missed the first one because we didn’t totally exist yet, oops!) we were EXTRA happy to see some of our super fly client-friends nab the top two spots!!
Congrats to ALL the riders our there, you killed it and made history with the biggest ride yet, at 670 riders!
And a VERY special thanks to our burly buddies Sweetpea and DJ Seven for rounding out the night with some EPIC entertainment!!

And from Sica, the owner of Fox Den:


Two people in selfie

Sica and me at the race launch!

So, I’m not a super emotional person, but I just can’t stop tearing up this morning thinking about how insane last night was. I could sit here and list all of the ways that Babes in Bikeland has helped the cycling community, our WTF community, our DIY Community, or our town as a whole… But I’d rather tell you about my experiences, and those are rich with the authentic gratitude of a group of eclectic women with different strengths coming together to make a HUGE impact and do something special.
I look forward to this event for 364 days each year (sometimes more!) and it isn’t because of the stops, the gift baggies, the prizes… It is because I get to be a part of something that is just so unique, and work with people that put their everything into turning this from an “event” to an “experience”, and ultimately creating its own community over these last TEN YEARS!! I am just so floored that I get to be involved in the ways that I am with such amazing organizers and such enthusiastic riders!

– Sica Dawn

The raddest!

Small person leaning on a kid bike carrier

Photo by Michelle Jordan

Babes. Thank you for making this little babe’s first alley cat awesome. As a “ladybug from Mars” she made it to all the short route stops, hootin and hollering the whole way. She got so much encouragement along the way, and “can’t wait for next year”. Favorite quote: “Can you tell everyone I’m the radest?” Ya kiddo, i will.

– Michelle Jordan

100%. Babes has your back.

Yesterday was the most I’ve ever biked in my life. It was so amazing to do that with other badass WTFs.
Many of you don’t know me or this, but the ride had even greater sigificance for me than an already empowering WTF space. Years ago I was in an abusive relationship and was raped multiple times by someone in the cycling community. I have just recently found my voice and begin speaking out about this and a friend who wanted to ride Babes asked that my rapist and abuser be banned from this space. The response was 100% yes, no questions asked. Babes, when these folks talk about safer spaces, they aren’t kidding, and know with certainty you were safer last night because these Babes stood with the survivor.
I got to ride more than I ever have with some badass people. I got to get down on the dance floor without creeps hitting on me or disrespecting my space. And most of all, I was able to claim my space in this community in spite of what he did to me.
I am in awe and inspired by all of you. Thank you for an incredible experience.

– Julia Marie

Ashley flew in from Denver, and during the race their bike disasterously EXPLODED!  But they always finish what they start.  This time they finished on a Nice Ride!  I commend your Babely spirit, Ashley!

Collage of First Avenue dance floor, the stage, and two riders in a selfie

Photo by Kristin Greeley

What a weekend! I came out for Babes and even with a total bike melt down I had an amazing time. 600+ amazing, supportive, strong Babes!
It brings me so much joy to fly into the twin cities and ride around with amazing friends. Thank you Airen Bijou for housing me Laura Kling for putting on another flawless event, and Kristin Greeley for just being a total badass and getting me to the airport and wanting to throw up on mountains with me. Alexandria J Gomez for stuffing me with pizza and bike rescue! I love all my Minneapolis Babes and I can’t wait to see you all again soooooooooooooooon!

– Ashley Hall

One of my favorite “elders,” Dana was dancing all night long. I love that she rocks the spoke card for Babes I.

Spoke cards

Photo by Dana DeMaster

#BabesinBikeland was so amazing. Reflecting on 10 years, I am so grateful for the community of women/trans/femme riders that Babes has encouraged and cultivated. Having an all female (as it was called then) alley cat race was a radical act a decade ago. I think sometimes we forget the intensity of the sexism and outright misogyny in the bike community of that time. Babes has been a huge factor in changing minds, changing perspectives, and changing a culture.
I had a ton of fun racing with Kim Werst. We were well-matched in many ways. Yay!
It was great seeing some of my favorite people volunteering at stops.
Having First Ave so ourselves was AMAZING. What fun to have an entire club alone with 700 of your best friends. I loved that at midnight it was the “elders” left in the dance floor and all the 20somethings were long gone. I think Ben Lagerquist and I shared a moment during Purple Rain.
I love you, too, Laura Kling!!!!!
About 12 years ago I went to the first Grumpy Girls Ride and, drinking a PBR under a bridge with 15 women on bikes I thought, “I have found my people.” Indeed. These are still my people and I am so fortunate.

– Dana DeMaster

Jana won top speed for the 25 mile course.

Two riders

Jana and Kadence (1st place- 15 mile course)- photo by Alex MacGillis

TL;DR: That totally rocked, and I thank you.
So excited to have raced Babes in Bikeland for the 10th time on Saturday!
The Babes organizers are so supportive of women, trans and femme people, have an inclusive swag-for-all-riders policy, and are encouraging of riders at all levels. Thank you Jessica, Laura, Jessica, Karyn, Elena for your many months of work to make the 10th anniversary a smashing success! With 670 riders, I think this was perhaps the largest alleycat in the U.S., if not North America!
My sister Jen and my niece Celeste raced along with Karen. I’m so proud of them for coming out and rocking all the stops! My mother-in-law Leslie was also able to watch her daughter Kim and me racing for the first time.
It had been an action-packed week and I wasn’t feeling “on” at all, but decided to try my best. My swift teammate Nikki definitely had me running scared with her hustle! The stop volunteers were fun and efficient and helped me loosen up the race face a wee bit. 🙂
The after party was dreamy–like the kind of reverie where several of your interests all converge- awesome bike people rocking out on a dancefloor, at First Avenue!!? Sweet Pea and DJSeven were so right for this event.
Thanks to my husband, tireless mechanic and #1 fan, Phil for always making sure that my bike is in ship-shape and for encouraging me to train and race. And for holding down the parenting fort while bringing Kaia to witness almost 700 WTFs gathered on one hill! She was stoked to see that there were also a few under-12 girls participating.
Congrats to Kadence, Amy, Jenny, Beth, Chelsea, Tiana for your strong finishes and everyone who came out and had a rad time!
Thanks to my #Shitgoose teammates who volunteered at stops and to our sponsors #altbikeboard #eastlakemgm #pabsttc #pabst #rosestreetpatisserie #tacocatmn #konabikes #peace_coffee for fueling all of this action.

– Jana Velo

Jenny won 1st rookie and 3rd speed in the 15 mile course!

Two riders standing in front of the First Avenue stars

Yesterday I competed in my first ever alley cat race, Babes in Bikeland – the exclusive WTF bicycle race/ride. My only goal was to not finish last. I ended up finishing first place rookie and third overall in the 13 mile course. BOOM! TWO TIMES!

Thanks to all my friends that convinced me to race, not ride. Much love and appreciation to all the organizers who did such an amazing job and to the whole community of WTF riders in the streets and dancers on the floor. This was by far the best and most supportive group that I have ever had the opportunity to ride with and through. Shout out to Amy, pictured on the left, who showed me how to run to the finish line where she placed second. In all the glory and all the grit, this event at this moment meant the world to me. So, so much love to you all!

– Jenny Norman

So happy that the crew that rolled together during the Wanderabout showed up as PIKACHUS for the race!  Beautiful!

Group of riders dressed as Pikachus

Photo by Bonnie Carlson-Green

Thanks to all organizers, sponsors and volunteers for creating such a fantastic ride to celebrate #10 for Babes in Bikeland. We rookies had a blast rolling around town as Pikachu.

– Bonnie Carlson-Green

Our fierce, empowered, glamourous MC darling had a great time.  Her enthusiasm was authentic!

MC Sweetpea on stage, overlooking crowd at First Ave

Getting to emcee the Babes in Bikeland 10 finish line party this past Saturday at First Avenue & 7th St Entry was absolutely awesome on its own (and an honor). Teaching and getting 500 or so babes to #wobble with me in celebration of accomplishment and community? EPIC.
(If you’ve never participated in the race before, check it out and plan for next year! It’s all about community and creating safe spaces for W/T/F riders – women, trans, and femme – anyone who doesn’t benefit from cis-male privilege.)

– Sweetpea

First Avenue dance floor

Photo by Bjorn Christianson

Babes sponsor ArtCrank put together a great collection of YOUR stories on their blog!  An excerpt from my own story:

As an organizer, I was not able to ride this year, but I heard happy reports from most racers about stops, volunteers, and the course. And that’s all good. But the real reward was seeing the shine and glitter in people’s eyes as they realized and experienced a better world for WTFs. At the starting line, being surrounded by WTFs, scooting and whooping all over the city together, and finally, celebrating together at First Avenue main room. As Sweetpea lead the group in the wobble, I was tearing up as I shook my butt and pumped my fists. The solidarity and beauty of WTFs gets me every time. I love you, Babes!

Your photos

several hundred riders gathered on a hillside to start the race

Race launch photo by Bjorn Christianson

Perennial Cycle, Sunrise Cyclery, and Min Enterprises made our photo stop possible.  Min Enterprises is Tina and Anna, and I am honored to call them my friends.

Two people in a selfie

Tina and Anna- photo by Tina Cho

Photo stop album on Facebook for easy sharing

(Non-Facebook album here)

I collected some of your instagram posts here!

shot looking down at part of a bike and rider's feet

Aaron Schmitz was snapping all day!  Great photos spanning from the race start, to lots of photos of Babes coming into the finish area, to some nice stage shots of our winners.

Rider zooming past a stone wall

Aaron Schmitz’s photos

Alex MacGillis always shares a great Facebook photo album with us- thank you for your beautiful captures of the after party crew!

Alex’s photos

Bjorn takes great photos every year, and is wonderful at taking beautiful photos while respecting the WTF space.  And he shares his photos so freely!

Rider standing at a booth

Bjorn’s photo album

Your videos

Our blog doesn’t like posting videos, so you’ll have to click through to see them.  It’s worth it!

  • Erik posted this video.  “Never any doubt in my mind, these women, trans, and femme people will change our world. Vanguard of the new order.”
  • Chris Nelson posted this clip from the bike limbo stop (25 mile route).  Looks like fun!
  • Want to see me cut through a u-lock in 15 seconds?  We had to get the bike racks off the street at midnight!

Your feedback

What was your favorite stop/activity, and why?  We got a lot of fun answers on Facebook!

Please fill out this form to give feedback on what went well and what could have been better.  We appreciate your feedback!

cat by pile of papers

Lowell kitty and nearly 700 manifests- photo by Jessica Nadeau

Person in a whoopie cushion costume, lookin' fly!

Whoopie Cushion for President! Photo by Bjorn Christianson