I would like to ask for your help. I am looking for ways to make group rides safer spaces for WTFs like us.
I love having "everyone is welcome" rides, because more bikes is more bike love! And rad, supportive dudes help us grow. However... one bad apple spoils the bunch, and I need strategies to help the dudes that come to our events understand why it is an honor for them to be invited, not a given, and that the point of Grease Rag is to have events FOR women, transgender, and femme cyclists. We've done a bit of talking about what it means to be an ally, and I think this is a continuation of that discussion.
I'm not an expert in this kind of thing, but I have a few ideas. I'm just going to throw them out there, in the hopes that you will contribute better ideas, or at least tell me why my ideas just don't cut it.
1. Before we start rides, we do a go-around. We can share our preferred gender pronouns if we feel comfortable, and it is a great reminder that you can't assume gender identity just by looking at someone, and that we are more complex than the male/ female binary. It also gives the WTF that is leading the group ride a chance to establish that they are in charge!
2. I would like to start explicitly stating that at no point should a dude be leading the ride. I have enjoyed riding in tandem at the front of group rides with dudes, and I don't want to do anything to discourage that, but the second someone starts rocketing ahead and jumping curbs and showing off in front of the group...? Inappropriate.
3. Should we hand out a piece of paper that has some safer space definitions or resources on it? I can work on these (with your ideas!) and get them printed, if this is important to us.
4. Before we roll out, I name the pace (slow), and the route, and ask if there are any questions or concerns. I would like to do a better job introducing the Grease Rag. Something like, "Grease Rag is a group of women, transgender, and femme cyclists that get together to wrench, ride, and have fun together. All of our events are FOR WTF cyclists, and we want to focus on making WTFs feel safe, and included. We are happy to have you join us, but please keep in mind the focus of this event as you ride with us, and when you consider inviting friends to our events. Thank you for respecting our space and supporting Grease Rag! Please be a strong ally, and if you see someone acting inappropriately or disrespectfully, please call them on it."
5. I just want to let you know that if anyone ever has any trouble at a ride or event, to please come and find me, or another Grease Rag rider. We will take your comment very seriously. If we don't know about it, we can't fix it.
Thank you in advance for your input,
Low & Grease Rag