Going to your first group ride can be intimidating. Getting in the saddle with a bunch of strangers takes trust, courage, and sometimes a friend to tag along. Whether you’re new to cycling or you usually hit the road alone, here’s a few reasons to give a WTF group ride a try.
- It’s a fun space. Really. I haven’t ever been on a WTF ride that wasn’t chocked-full of toothy grins. From trying out polo at Babes in Bikeland to literally howling at the moon at a Full Moon ride, a WTF-only ride offers an opportunity for people to be silly with each other without having to worry about a cis male gaze.
- It’s a safe(r) space. Riding in a WTF group doesn’t always mean there won’t be egos, microaggressions, judgment, or assumptions. But, it does mean that everyone involved sees value in having a separate space for WTF riders. A WTF ride recognizes there is something about cis male-centered cycling spaces that doesn’t work for everyone. Many rides even start by setting an intentional tone and laying down some ground rules. While a separate space isn’t everything, it can be a great jumping off point for larger conversations.
- You will be setting an example. Visibility means something. It can be hard to break into a new activity or community when you don’t see yourself in it. Don’t think for a second the person coming out of the global market and the youngster on training wheels don’t notice when you have fun riding with your friends.
- You will meet some truly rad people. I used to be the kind of girl who hung out with mostly guys and had a few close WTF friends. In the past year I’ve met dozens of jaw-dropping-ly incredible WTFs and re-learned what it means to be in supportive, empowering, non-competitive friendships. I owe most of my current relationships, and all of my new-found babe love, to the Twin Cities cycling community.
- It feels awesome. There’s nothing quite like riding in a group of WTFs. I first got into cycling through a dude. It took me a while to see the community of people who ride bikes as my own space. It still feels novel every time I ride down the greenway in a group of four or more WTFs without a male ‘escort.’ But it feels awesome. Like euphoric awesome. I recommend it. Highly.
Finding a Ride in Minneapolis and St. Paul
Interested in finding a WTF ride in the Twin Cities? Lucky for you, it’s only May and we have months and months of excellent riding weather ahead of us.
Group Ride and Open House for Cycles for Change Grease Rag – Spend Tuesday night with the movers and shakers at local non-profit Cycles for Change. Join a ride leaving from downtown Saint Paul or South Minneapolis and learn about Grease Rag’s open shop nights at this stellar shop on University.
Surly CycloFemme Ride 2015 – A free, supported bike camping trip leaving Sunday, May 10th and returning Monday, May 11th. Join the group for all or part of this no drop, adventure-filled event. Register here.
Women’s Track Clinic at the NSC Velodrome – Okay, so this isn’t exactly a ride. But it’s a great place to start if you have a need for speed, or want to learn a new Olympic sport. No track bike necessary (you can rent one for free!). Check out the Facebook event here.
St. Paul Women on Bikes – Check out these advocates on wheels for rides, happy hours, and a chance to get involved in making St. Paul a more bike friendly city. Head on over to their group ride page for a glimpse at what’s next.
Babes in Bikeland – Spend August 29th with hundreds of the coolest WTFs around. Babes in Bikeland is part race, part scavenger hunt, all awesome.
Nothing up your alley? Not in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro? Reach out to your friends, put your feelers out, and start your own ride if you want! Every WTF ride was started by a person, just like you.
Know of a group ride you would like to share? Let us know in the comments!