Making Babes in Bikeland 10 a more inclusive event

By : Lowrah · August 30, 2016

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!

We support WTF and POC local businesses

Our food vendors this year were Foxy Falafel and Cafe Racer.  Both of these restaurants serve delicious food, and are WTF- and POC-owned, respectively.  We love to support POC and WTF folks, and thank you for putting your money into these local, awesome businesses.

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Sidhe Brewing was not able to sponsor Babes this year because we couldn't get a beer sponsor at First Ave, so they supported Grease Rag's Wanderabout on Friday night with a beer donation!  Thank you!  Read about my experience with Sidhe here.

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The Fox Den Salon always provides great snack bags for racers.  Vegan, nut-free, and gluten-free options!  Toys!  The Fox Den has a great record of donating to women's shelters, supporting local artists, and having a WTF-friendly salon.  (Their services have no gender!)  Because of Fox Den's support this year, Babes was able to get DJ Seven and burlesque super star (who does other stuff real good, too!) Sweetpea to MC the after party.  

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The Fox Den Salon crew- photo by Amber Procaccini Photography

We support our WTF and POC artists

This year we got cash sponsorships to specifically support the WTF artists in our community, with the goal of representing WTFs as the beautiful rainbow we are.  Thank you, Perennial Cycle and Sunrise Cyclery for your generous cash donations, and Min Enterprises for your in-kind donation of your professional services!  You helped make this happen.

Anna Bongiovanni created a portrait series, "A Field Guide to Babes."  They did an amazing job interviewing and illustrating a few Babes from our WTF community!  Check them out.

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Min Enterprises held down the photo stop this year, creating professional portraits of racers as they rolled through!  These two are such pillars of the WTF community- supporting QTPOC events through their professional work.  We were honored to work with them.  Photo album here!!

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Photo by Anna Min of Min Enterprises

Miss Amy Jo created our art this year, and we are grateful for her talents!

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DJ Seven and Sweetpea are both QPOC, and amazing professionals.  If you were at the event, you know what it means to have powerful WTFs up on stage, working the mic and bringing the tunes.  Sweetpea got 500+ Babes to line dance on a WTF-only dance floor.  I felt no male gaze as I wobbled and shook my ass with you all.  I teared up watching everyone laughing and moving together.  That's what it's all about.

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Your feedback helps us improve

I wanted to write this to you all so you could feel our intention, even if we fell short of your expectations or weren't able to meet all of our own dreams and goals.  I was personally disappointed at the whiteness of the racing field, and take some responsibility for not creating a structure that was able to better accomodate POC racers.  

In the future I would love to secure sponsorship for at least 100 race spots to be taken by POC. I would love to create stops that are connected to POC communities, just like we go to locations that are queer- and trans-friendly.  I would like to find a POC organizer to help us do outreach, considering our energy is almost 100% logistics focused.  I would love to have categories that include disabled riders (we had a blind WTF stoker on a tandem this year!!). I would love to continue all of the things that we were able to accomplish this year!

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Photo by Beth Walser

Do you have more ideas?  Are you willing to help make it happen?  Email me!

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