04 Sep
2016

1 Comments

2016 Babes in Bikeland TEN Recap

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on September 4, 2016   comments 1

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

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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!

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30 Aug
2016

15 Comments

Babes in Bikeland X- Labor of Love

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on August 30, 2016   comments 15

For seven years I've been somehow involved with Babes in Bikeland by either organizing, hosting Pre-Babe Wanderabout, supporting the race organizers, or racing. I have seen it morph and change and shift into what it is today, in its tenth year.

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Babes start- photo by Sica

What is Babes in Bikeland?

Babes in Bikeland is a bike event where tons (about 670 this year) of women, trans, femme (WTF) folks on bikes get together to celebrate each other.  And maybe race a little, too.  It's an alley cat style race, and is likely the largest in North America.  It is definitely the largest all WTF race in the universe!

Babes has a "race" component, but the experience is based on "you do you."  You wanna hit a couple stops and then roll into the after party? Great! Want to try for a podium spot? Sure thing! The point of the event is community. Because there is nothing like rolling around town with 670 of your closest WTF pals.

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30 Aug
2016

18 Comments

Making Babes in Bikeland 10 a more inclusive event

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on August 30, 2016   comments 18

I was one of five organizers for Babes in Bikeland TEN this year.  Babes in Bikeland is the largest all-WTF alley cat bike race in the universe.  I wanted to write a post about some of our intentions around making Babes a more inclusive event, in addition to some structural ways we are creating safer spaces.

You might be surprised to hear that between the five of us WTFs, we span ages, include POC, non-binary, and queer folks.  It is important to us personally, and extremely relevant for our community that we support you Babes by making an event that doesn't center around whiteness, cis identities, heteropatriarchy.  WTFs TO THE FRONT!

In addition to creating safer spaces, here are some other things Babes is all about!

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Sica (Fox Den) and me and ALL OF YOU!

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30 Aug
2016

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Safer Spaces at Babes in Bikeland

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on August 30, 2016   comments 0

At Grease Rag, we know about WTF-only spaces, and about working towards safer spaces.  We acknowledge that no space is completely safe for any of us, but that safer spaces are places where we can be our whole selves because we agree to work together to fight the oppression and violence we experience in ALL OTHER SPACES.

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Babes in Bikeland is the largest all-WTF alley cat bike "race" in the whole world.  Likely, with 670+ riders in our 10th year, Babes is the largest alley cat in North America.  Through this event, Grease Rag has been able to create safer spaces and educate the many many people interested in the Babes event.

What is Babes in Bikeland's safer spaces policy?

BABES IN BIKELAND IS A SAFER SPACE

WHAT THE HECK DOES THIS MEAN?
A Safer Space means that we're working hard to make the space feel safe and welcoming for EVERY BODY, regardless of their gender/race/ability/orientation, etc.

WHAT DOES A “SAFER BIKE EVENT” MEAN?

It means that we are trying to stop those little things from happening.
The safety and comfort of our Babes is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.

BUT I ALWAYS FEEL SAFE AT BIKE EVENTS? WHAT’S THE POINT OF THIS?!
You might always feel safe at bike events, but not everyone does.
Women/Trans*/Femmes (WTF) identified people often don't feel safe at bike events.
WHY? Things like constant sexual advances; hearing homophobic or transphobic “jokes”; hearing racist or homophobic language; using insider lingo or negatively commenting on someone’s gear or ability...
These things can make bike events into a hostile, stressful and dangerous place for some people.
It's not just the one bad apple, it's lots of people doing little things that pile up to create a threatening space.
Pay attention to your own words and actions and make sure you're not contributing to the pile.

HERE IS WHAT WE WANT YOU TO DO:

DON’T be a creep. We’re not here to impress, but to RIDE. Get enthusiastic consent before touching a Babe.
DON’T make homophobic or transphobic "jokes" or use language that is grounded in hate or discrimination.
NO gender policing. Don't know a Babe’s gender? That's fine — you don't need to know.
RIDE safe and steady with a helmet and lights. DON’T take unnecessary risks. We want you in one piece at the party later.
LEND a hand to those who need it.
BE EXCELLENT to one another.
We are all here to have a good time. Bring your best self and KEEP IT CLASSY.
If you feel uncomfortable, PLEASE tell someone working the stop or the closest Babe.
DON’T brush it off or excuse it away. We want to address these things as they happen.

WE ARE BABES! THIS IS OUR BIKELAND! THESE ARE THE RULES:

DON'T BE A JERK
CELEBRATE YOUR WTF FRIENDS
BE EXCELLENT TO EACH OTHER

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30 Aug
2016

15 Comments

Pre-Babes Wanderabout 2016 Recap

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on August 30, 2016   comments 15

You never disappoint me with your beauty, Wanderers

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(Photo by Kat)

Ride Bikes - Slowly
Make Friends - Quickly
Learn * Teach * Trade Tips for Babes in Bikeland 10!

Pre-Babes Wanderabout is a WTF-only ride. (Women, Trans, Femme) No cis-males, or people that do not identify as WTF, please.

Pre-Babes Wanderabout is a slow, social ride. Conversational pace, NO ONE gets left behind. Come with an open mind. We'll help you talk to cool Babes you don't know yet!

Pre-Babes Wanderabout is a place to get more info about "alley cats," what to expect for Babes, and to connect with potential ride partners.

Pre-Babes Wanderabout is a safer space where all WTF identities are centered and respected. Please join with us in creating a safer space.

Did you attend the Wanderabout this year?

Please tell us what went well, and what could have been better!

Grease Rag made the Wanderabout possible

Anneka, Anne, Julia and I are so proud to use Grease Rag volunteers (JJ! Holly!) and re$ource$ to make this happen!  (We are donation based!  Feed the honey bear!)

Mod, my co-organizer for the Wanderabout for the past few years, told me that before the Wanderabout she kept hearing, "I ride my bike everyday & don't have friends that ride."  And AFTER the Wanderabout she kept hearing, "I had no idea this community existed. I'm going to ride everywhere!"  Magical.

The first Pre-Babes Wanderabout ride was in 2012. I wrote a blog post about it. 2014 was an amazing year. Last year's (2015) Wanderabout was magical.

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Photo by Siege Afidelia

Roll out together, arrive together!

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Photo by Buzo

68 riders came to Kenwood Park to share with each other!  When people arrived we handed out safer spaces flyers, and had people make name tags including their pronouns, if they felt safe doing so.  We do this so we can have a safe and respectful space, and to facilitate friendship!

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We gave an introduction to the evening, talking about what Grease Rag does (en español), what safers spaces are, and what the schedule was for the evening.  We had some experienced riders say a few quick words about their Babes riding styles, then the crowd self-selected into groups where the experienced riders lead skill-shares.  We didn't talk down to you, assume you know stuff, or blather on.  We ask you questions, and encourage people to share what they know!  Grease Rag style.

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Photo by JJ Kahle

For all the Rookies out there... We love you!

If you have never ever in your life ridden your bike in any race ever... No triathalons, no alley cats, no velodrome:  YOU ARE A ROOKIE! And we celebrate you.

Read about how Holly gets up and gets it!

Check out this rookie knowledge from Lauren Haun.

This is what Jen brings on their ride.

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Photo by Beth Walser

Thank you to Sidhe for sponsoring

As a beautiful dragon tail group ride, we rolled out with the party bike in the lead, to our next stop.  Yoga, Sidhe beer, music, group photo, and friendship!

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Sidhe Brewing is pronounced SHE and is WTF owned and operated out of St. Paul. Kathleen, the owner, was BUMMED she couldn't sponsor Babes this year (we didn't do a beer sponsor bc of the venue) but is SO ENTHUSIASTIC about WTFs on bikes that we were able to get crowlers of their beer for the Wanderabout!!

Grease Rag is real skittish about sponsorship. We ONLY work with companies that support WTFs, and not just by donating some swag here and there. I mean, talking the talk, walking (or wheeling or however you move!) the walk. Showing up for WTFs, and not calling us girls or ladies or saying what we do is "cute." We are bad ass feminists, we are trans, we are POC, we are queer, we are WTFs, we are proud!!!

Sidhe is a welcoming place. I was there last night and was so treated well! There's a "pay it forward" board. I redeemed a QPOC beer, and replaced it with a QTPOC and QPOC beer. Get there and redeem those beers, Friends!

Finally, we slow rolled to another beautiful area to eat snacks together.

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(Photo by Anneka)

I went home nourished, and fulfilled!  Thank you, Babes.  You mean the world to me.

We've got your back

Babes be brunchin' is an annual brunch leading up to Babes in Bikeland, where you can meet up, eat and hydrate, get any lingering questions answered, and roll out to the start together.  Thank you to Anne for hosting this brunch!

Our goal at Grease Rag is to contribute to supporting the WTF community before, during, and after Babes in Bikeland.  Babes in Bikeland is a celebration event of the work we do ALL YEAR ROUND to have open shops, POC only spaces, WTF only spaces, WTF only group rides, full moon rides, parties, craft nights, online discussions, pronoun buttons, education about safer spaces, the inclusive atmosphere, the colored flags, skill shares, bike camping trips, picnics, this blog and winter biking support... all ways we have your back 365 days of the year.

Don't let this Babes be the last time you support WTF spaces!

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