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South L.A. to Pasadena: The 2nd Clitoral Mass Takes Over Streets of L.A.

Images by Melody Brocious

“How many of you have ever been here to the Watts Towers before?” asked one of the young women inside the growing circle of women cyclists who gathered to participate in the Ovarian Psyco-Cycles’ Second Annual Clitoral Mass.

By the time we arrived, about 60+ women of varying ages and backgrounds had already gathered in the plaza next to the towers. I spotted familiar faces as I joined the circle. A few curious neighbors peered from their windows while others stood outside watching from their yards. Soon a group of local young men on bikes began to circle around us, eyes scanning each of us as if marking their territory.

The air was thick with an uneasiness that dissipated into calm once the blessing ceremony began in earnest. The small group of young women wearing long flowing skirts that had gathered at the center of the circle began to fill the plaza with the smell of burning sage as they “smudged” riders and their bikes with sage smoke. One of the women then began to lead the circle in a ceremony that connected riders and spectators as we gave thanks and gathered strength from the four cardinal directions as well as the sun. Moon. The earth. And sky.

“We look to the east first. The place of the Sun and our brothers. We ask for our brothers behind bars, incarcerated by this system, separated from us…” As the young woman spoke the young men that had been circling us stopped, listened, and turned their bodies east in unison with the circle of women, setting the tone for the 30+ mile journey.

I did not participate in the Ovas’ (as the Ovarian Psycho-Cycles are known) First Clitoral Mass. And although I have followed their work, I had not participated in any of their Luna rides. In fact as I talked to participants at rest stops, there were many newbies in the crowd that evening. For many of us this was not only our first “BIG” ride but our first experience in an all women (“womyn, womyn-identified, two-spirited, trans & gender-variant folx”) event. Read more…

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It’s Coming: the Organizing Committee Meets to Finalize Plans for August Clitoral Mass

Dalia, Karen, Alejandra, and Paulette from the organizing committee talk about the logistics of the upcoming Clitoral Mass ride spearheaded by the Ovarian Psyco-Cycles. Sahra Sulaiman/LA Streetsblog

Several months ago, I sat down with Sean Deyoe, one of the masterminds behind the Passage Ride. He had asked about setting up a bike ride through South L.A. and if I would think about an interesting and informative route through the area.

Sure, I said. I could try

HELL, NO, I thought to myself. Is he INSANE?

I ride almost every day, and I ride a lot — anywhere from 20 – 60 miles a day, depending on where I have to be — and have for almost 20 years.

So, it’s not like I don’t get around.

But I’m almost always riding alone.

The idea of organizing a ride so other people could see what I see, and be entertained, informed, and invigorated all at once strikes me as terrifying.

I don’t know why, really. Maybe it is the idea of imposing the way I ride and the odd things I like on other people? I’m not sure. Whatever it is, I never came up with that South L.A. route. (Sorry, Sean. I suck, I know.)

So, when I saw the organizing committee put out a call for volunteers to attend their sixth (6th!) planning meeting for the 2nd Annual Clitoral Mass ride spearheaded by the Ovarian Psycos, I wanted to sit in and hear how they were tackling the problem.

As you may have guessed, they’re struggling with it, too. Although for very different and far more awesome reasons.

For one, their first CM ride last year was incredibly successful.

More than 200 women showed up from around Southern California and beyond to ride nearly 30 miles in the first such event of its kind in L.A.

From the ceremony before the ride, to the welcome with drumming and wisdom from elders and other powerful women in Leimert Park, to the after-party east of downtown (see photos here), they have a lot to live up to this year. And they’re confident they can do it better. Read more…

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The Ovarian-Psycos Documentary Kicks Off its Kickstarter

The Ovarian-Psycos bicycle brigade knows how to start off their year right. After skyrocketing last year into the minds of cyclists and women as one of the premiere female-only bicycle groups in Los Angeles, and even now in the nation, The Ovarian Psycos – A Documentary Film has launched its Kickstarter campaign yesterday.

Welcome to our newest sponsors, Fisher and Talwar Professional Law Corporation

Filmmakers Kate Trumbull, Joanna Sokolowski and Michael Raines have been working with the Ovas since the middle of the year, capturing them at rides like Clitoral Mass (see our Clitoral Mass video here) and around Eastside landmarks (did you spot the Boyle Hotel on 00:13?).

The film’s campaign barely started yesterday, but has already got the attention of Kickstarter staffers and raised more than $2,500. The film is looking to raise $10,000 by February 23. Here’s what the money will be used for according to their Kickstarter:

Your contribution will directly support our launch into full production for the feature and broadcast version of the film, supplementing the cost of travel from San Francisco to L.A., the hiring of additional crew and equipment, archival research, food, gas, parking, hard drives, archival research, transcription, media logging, and a full time editor

In addition to Clitoral Mass the Ovas plan a monthly Luna Ride, worked with the Eastside Riders and other groups for the Black and Brown Unity Ride, have participated in CicLAvia, organized “mobile bike repair” clinics, and have generally been an active bicycling present for the past couple of years.

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Block Party in South Boyle Heights Closes Street For Rare Outdoor Fun

The street closure opened up room for a game of catch. Rafael Cardenas/lastreetsblog

Just off the beaten path enough to not disrupt local traffic, the Boyle Heights Block Party was held Sunday, October 21, 2012 on 7th Street and Euclid. While Euclid remained open to traffic between Whittier and 8th, a portion of 7th was closed for passersby, information tables, recreation, and booths providing educational material. In addition, Sunrise Elementary opened their parking lot to the event and hosted the food and live music.

The half-day event–Youth Empowerment Committee from the Building Healthy Communities, Boyle Heights–catered to local youth, which included a photobooth, music and other activities. With a $4000 budget funded by a grant from the California Endowment, students from Roosevelt High School took a portion of the money to do an event for their fellow comrades–and all in an area not normally visited, said 17-year-old Kelly Figueroa, a senior at the Academy of Medicine and Health Science at Roosevelt. Read more…

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Riders Pedal-Push for Unity and Raise Awareness about Police Brutality

Black & Brown Unity Ride posts up at the Watts Towers (photo: sahra)

“It’s still important for us to come together,” began Taryn Randle, one of the ride leaders and member of both the Ovarian Psycos and Black Kids on Bikes.

The black-brown tension sometimes present in L.A. had been a surprise to her when she arrived here from Chicago, she told the largely black and brown crowd. Fixing it had become a major focus of her studies and work, and she looked at the Black & Brown Unity Ride (organized by the Psycos, BKoB, and the East Side Riders) as a simple but effective way to take the issue on.

“It doesn’t make sense for us to have this unstated hatred towards each other based off of ignorance. I think it can be overcome by simple things like this — us coming out like this on a Sunday, biking, kicking it, eating, listening to music….It’s a good way to start that conversation and building that bridge.”

Bringing groups of riders together and letting the communities they rolled through see that adults of all races could have fun together, she and others felt, could provide a good example for communities and youth struggling with those issues in their own neighborhoods.

Along the way, Taryn reminded the riders that the purpose of the ride was unity. She encouraged them to talk to the riders they hadn’t come with so that they could get to know each others’ experiences.

Riders take a moment to stretch and breathe at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights (photo: sahra)

The openness of riders to learning about each other seemed to make it easier for people to join in as we went along.

At Mariachi Plaza, one of the start points of the ride, I spotted a Latino gentleman on a bike watching the riders stretch. I asked if he wanted to come along with us.

Let me call my son, he said in Spanish.

He wanted his fourteen-year old to see the spectacle and join in. When his son said he couldn’t get there in time, the man decided to come along anyways. It was his first experience with a group ride, and he appreciated the larger purpose behind it.

At Exposition Park, we picked up a rollerblader with an iguana on his head. He was originally headed to Venice, but said there was no way he could miss out on rolling with us. Read more…

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VIDEO: More Than 200 Women Ride For LA’s First Clitoral Mass

The Ovarian-Psycos Bicycle Brigrade hosted the all-women bicycle ride Clitoral Mass this past Saturday after months of organizing, and weeks of activities leading up to the event. The ride is the first of its kind in Los Angeles, bringing women from all parts of Los Angeles, California and even some riders from out of state, to do a single-sex Critical Mass styled ride.

Alice Strong, a long time bike activist, said that at most rides she is used to seeing the familiar female faces from the bike movement at large rides. Yet at Clitoral Mass, she saw so many female riders she has never seen before, she said.

“It’s the first ride with women that it’s been that large.”

For more information about the Ovarian Psycos, visit Ovarianpsycos.com.

See a photo gallery from Clitoral Mass taken by South LA reporter Sahra Sulaiman, by clicking here.

Read LASB’s past coverage of the Ovarian Psycos by clicking here. 

Music used in the video is by Buyepongo and was recorded live during the ride at their Levitt Pavillion show in MacArthur Park. 

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Clitoral Mass Rises

Clitoral Mass last night brought out more than 200 women for a 32-mile ride throughout Los Angeles. The ride brought out women from out of state, the Eastside, from different parts of the city – I heard some from came from Gardena and the westside – and even to the surprise of seasoned riders a host of fresh new faces.

We’ll be making a video and posting photos at the beginning of the week as soon as we go through all the content we accumulated from the event. But for now, here are South LA Streetsblogger Sahra Sulaiman’s photos from the beginning of the ride.

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Labor Day in Boyle Heights: Clitoral Mass, Dodgertown Bike Ride, El Mercado del Pueblo Grand Opening

Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade host tonight in Los Angeles the first all-women styled Critical Mass ride, called Clitoral Mass. Photo from Ovarian Psycos Facebook page

Clitoral Mass, Los Angeles’ first all-women mass ride, happening tonight

It’s been months in the making, and now the all-women Clitoral Mass bike ride is happening tonight. Hosted by the Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade, the women are expecting more than 300 women to attend – more than 700 people confirmed on their Facebook event page.

The all-women ride is modeled after the Critical Mass ride, also happening tonight, and will go 28 miles through Downtown Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, and parts of East Los Angeles (Boyle Heights, City Terrace). This is the first all-women mass ride happening in Los Angeles. This ride for women and women identified people, so while men can’t join the ride they can participate in the post-ride party happening at the Vortex celebrating their 2-year anniversary.

Meet up locationLos Angeles Historic State Park (aka “Not a Cornfield”)

Meet-Up Time: 6:00 p.m.

Ride-Out Time: 7:00

Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade website, click here.

Dodgertown Ride

For a full copy of the Dodgertown Bike Ride, click on the image.

Working closely with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Eastside Bike Club presents the “Dodgertown Bike Ride.”  ESBC has secured a couple of sections at Dodger Stadium for all cyclist and their families through a Group ticket sales. Please purchase tickets here.

The event starts with a Bike Rally at 3 p.m. The rally features a best decorated “LA Dodger Fan and Bike” theme. Participants are encouraged to wear Dodger attire and decorate their bikes. A Bike Parade (ala Soul Train Line), with prizes being awarded for best decorated bikes and riders. Music, raffles, health and bike related resources will also be present.

Take me out to the ball game” will be sung by participants just before departing to the stadium.

When: Rally starts at 3 p.m. Ride to the stadium starts at 4:30 p.m. Game Starts at 6:10 p.m.

Where: The rally and ride starts at El Arca (Next to Lincoln Park) 3839 Selig Place Lincoln Heights CA 90031

A farmers market opening in Boyle Heights, supporting street vendor campaign to sell legally on the street

Caridad Vasquez serves pozole to customers earlier this year at a street vendor fundraiser. Vasquez and other vendors with roots from the former Breed Street market will be at this Saturday's El Mercado del Pueblo, or farmers market. Photo from Eastsiderwriter.com

The Boyle Heights non-profit East LA Community Corporation (ELACC) and Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar are celebrating the grand opening of El Mercado del Pueblo,a one-stop evening farmers’ market with crafts, produce, hot food, and live music. The market will include local street food vendors offering their delicious foods including tamales, tortas, crepes, and other crafty treats. The market kicks off on Saturday, September 1 and that will take place every Saturday.

When: Saturday, September 1, 2012 from 5pm-10pm.  Every Saturday thereafter

Where: 2510 E. 6th Street, Los Angeles 90023 (Corner of 6th St and Mathews St.)

Click here for a flyer of the event.

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Bike Rack City Ride: Learning How to Install Bike Racks in Boyle Heights

More than 20 cyclists rode on August 12, 2012 through the 1st Street corridor in Boyle Heights to learn how to install bike racks in their neighborhood. Organizers from City of Lights got down to specific details like the distance needed between a rack and certain infrastructure like parking meters, and how to speak to business owners when trying to convince them to have one in front of their establishment.

“We’re pretty much doing half of the job, by going out in the community,” said Andy Rodriguez, co-founder of City of Lights/Multicultural Communities for Mobility.

Miguel Ramos, a City of Lights organizer, said that the the group, with help from co-hosts Ovarian-Psycos Bicycle Brigade, surveyed the 1st Street corridor because he wanted to show that even when bike lanes are installed, convenient bike parking is usually absent. Los Angeles Department of Transportation, which paints the bike lanes and racks, does not install racks in conjunction with the lanes.

The last time City of Lights organized an event like this, they installed 73 bike racks throughout Koreatown, Pico Union, Westlake/MacArthur Park. While the Boyle Heights Rack City Ride was mainly informational, Rodriguez said that City of Lights will base their next step on the organizers input.

Click here to check out a photo gallery from the Rack City Ride.

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Psyco de Mayo, Super Luna Ride

The Ovarian-Psyco Bicycle Brigade Luna Ride for May. The women ride out Saturday evening from Proyecto Jardin in Boyle Heights. Photo from Ovarian-Psycos Facebook page

Cinco de Mayo is often celebrated in bars, with people donning red, green and white apparel, and drinking tequila. While people miss out the meaning of Cinco de Mayo – the Battle of Puebla anyone?- the best party this Cinco de Mayo can be found tomorrow night on a bike, and looking up at the sky.

The Ovarian-Psycos Bicycle Brigade, an all-women bicycle collective with Eastside roots, are having  their monthly Luna Ride, or Full Moon ride, tomorrow night in one of the most exciting environments for the year. Tomorrow’s women-only ride will also have one of the largest full moons of the year.

The group will start gathering at 5 P.M. at Proyecto Jardin, a community garden in Boyle Heights, and will ride out at 5:30 to City Terrace to the Coyolxauhqui Statue, a memorial to the Aztec Moon Goddess. Proyecto Jardin will also have a  salsa contest before the ride that is open to the public.

Tomorrow’s super moon will appear to look 14% larger and 30% brighter than other full moons in 2012. The super moon will reach perigee, or the point it gets closest to the earth in its elliptical path, at 8:34 pm.

The Ovarian-Psycos are an all-women bicycle group that advocate for increasing women-ridership, but also increase social awareness on issues surrounding women. The Ovarian-Psycos have had Luna rides since their inception. The ride shows how women’s menstrual cycles have connection to the moon cycle. This is an all-women ride, and it is open to bicyclists of all skill level. Read more…