The Ovarian Psyco-Cycles have spent the last few months planning this year’s annual Clitoral Mass ride with one thing on their mind: creating a safe space for “solidarity between womyn, queer, femme, trans, gender non-conforming, and two-spirited individuals from different walks of life to promote solidarity in bicycling, encourage safety, health in our communities, and taking back the night.”
The Clitoral Mass Route Committee has been meeting every week with a dedicated core of members that have taken the lead on coordinating logistics, volunteers, scouting the route, and making sure that everything is on point for the upcoming August 16th event.
The lessons learned from the two previous rides and feedback from participants have been instrumental in the planning of this year’s ride. I sat down with Joan Zamora, Alejandra Ocasio, and Amoxeh Tóchtlí, three of the leaders on the planning committee, to talk about the planning process and some of the changes being made.
One of the biggest adjustments this year is that of the start and end points of the ride. The planning committee has always looked for sites that were accessible by public transportation and bicycle. While everyone that participates is encouraged to take those modes of transportation, some still can’t avoid having to drive to the starting location. In the past, that presented a problem of individuals needing to get back to their cars safely from other parts of town at the end of the night.
So, this year’s ride will begin and end at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles. It is also going to to be a daytime ride, with a meet-up time of 1 p.m. and a roll out of 1:30 p.m. Ocasio said that this should help attract a bigger turnout and make it easier for participants to plan and coordinate for the ride. The Metro Civic Center Station located at the west end of the park and numerous bus lines adjacent to it make it an ideal location to start and end.
Not wanting to spoil the surprise for this year’s event, the official route will be kept under wraps until just days before the riders roll out. But, as always, the ride will follow a 20- to 30-mile route that explores different areas of the city.
In setting up the route, rest breaks, and other stops, the planning committee has worked to ensure the event remains true to the Ovas’ mission of welcoming all those who identify as female while incorporating sites of significance that they hope will evoke discussions of history, food justice, gentrification, and the reclaiming of space for those on the margins.
They are collaborating with organizations including Multicultural Communities for Mobility and the bicycle co-op Bici Libre for volunteers, donations, and day-of support in the hopes this will be their biggest year yet. They have also been asking male supporters and allies that can’t participate in the ride to volunteer at pit stops and hand out water, snacks, perform some bicycle maintenance, and fill in other roles. Respecting the ride and intentional space it is creates for those identifying female is something others have been good about in the past, but not wanting to leave anyone out, the Ovas are encouraging those who identify as males to volunteer and support their sisters for this event.
With less than a month to go, the organizing committee is feeling the crunch, but is confident their work will pay off. Hearing the experiences of participants who have never been on large group rides or felt comfortable enough to ride their bike on the street are just some of the empowering stories that keep them moving forward.
For up-to-date information on Clitoral Mass, check their Facebook event page. The ride is scheduled for August 16th, with a meet-up of 1 p.m., and roll-out of 1:30 p.m.