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Planning for Third Clitoral Mass in Full Swing

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. Read more…

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

The Ovarian Psycos Bicycle Brigade 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 she is used to seeing 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 has 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.