Ovas Unite 2012! by Ariel Climer

(A reflection on the January Luna Ride dedicated to the Zapatista Uprising of ’94)

Back in September, I was invited by my friend to an event at the Echoplex
called Mucho Libre, a concert and community event gathering together screen
printers, crafters, bike enthusiasts, and fans of cumbia, Son Jarocho, and
rock. There, I first met some of the wombyn called the Ovarian Psycos,
women who gather together at each full moon to celebrate womanhood, to be
in solidarity with other wombyn and to promote the healthy, fun, and
political act of cycling. This full moon, I finally participated in a ride!
The all-wombyn and wombyn-identified crew rode from Pasadena at Memorial
Park station to Solidarity Ink, a new artist collective and organizing
center in Lincoln Heights.

I began the ride by taking the Metro to Pasadena. I rode to the purple line
at Wilshire/Western and spoke with an older man on the train who was also a
cyclist. He was surprised to hear of an all women’s ride and wished me good
luck and a good time. I speed walked myself and my bike over to the Gold Line, almost forgot to buy another ticket, and then hopped on, crossing past a handful of kids riding the Gold Line in their underwear. Were they part of a flash mob? I didn’t ask and instead just admired their statement.

The Gold Line cruised up the slow slope out of downtown, past Chinatown and
into Highland Park. At one stop, a wombyn with a bicycle got on. We caught
eyes and her dark long hair and intense yet excited demeanor made me
wonder, would we be flying through the night together soon? Another wombyn
guided her bike on to the train at the next stop. Our eyes crossed paths,
and I smiled and nodded what’s up. All three of us were spaced out evenly
across the car in the train, me in the “elbow” as I like to call it, where
bike or strollers often sit, the other two wombyn at the doors, standing
tall nears the brushed metal poles. I felt the strength of the two wombyn
standing regally with hands balancing delicately yet firmly upon the
handlebars and seats of their bikes.

I felt the strength of the two wombyn
standing regally with hands balancing delicately yet firmly upon the handlebars and seats of their bikes.

We rolled out and up the steps at Memorial Park station to find a few more
wombyn waiting for us. At the top of the steps we found space to chill, and
we waited and watched as more trains dropped off more sisters. Soon, we
were 37 strong. We pumped up tires, adjusted seats, and checked for proper
gear. “Make sure you use your lights if you have them!”

We circled up for stretches and did some beautiful reaches up toward the
moon, some stretching of our powerful legs, and a lovely meditative stretch
of our arms. We went over safety rules and we were off!

The wonderful realization you have when you ride with all wombyn: you are
riding with all wombyn therefore everything is wombyn influenced. We used
safe calls such as “Pothole!” for potholes, whistles to alert of people
getting too far behind or of bike malfunction, and generally warned each
other to stay to one side when one lane presented itself to us and to take
up a whole lane when two lanes were present. We obeyed traffic lights to
avoid tickets. We never left anyone behind. The existence of this truth
messes with the individualistic and competitive side of long distance bike
riding that I feel has been inculcated in me by males in my lifetime. Not
that a male might leave someone behind for good, but I have definitely
heard men tell me to not be a pussy and pedal harder to make a light or to
be annoyed at the people who ride slower and are slowing everyone down or
to keep up or else I will get lost. I felt the tendencies to feel and think
these values into my comments and mutterings along the ride, but instead, I
stepped back from my brain, held them in my palm and said to them, “No, you
do not fit here. We are here to take care of each other. We are only as
strong as our weakest member. We ride as one.”

We never left anyone behind. The existence of this truth messes with the individualistic and competitive side of long distance bike riding that I feel has been inculcated in me by males in my lifetime.

All eyes of the wombyn were on the wombyn. We kept watch over each other.
One wombyn had problems with her bike but we had tools to fix it and did.
We stopped at a liquor store. We peed in a park. A few miles before our
destination, we met with the river trail and glided along in absolute
silence under la luna tranquila. She spoke to us of blue and of white, of
childbearing and of puberty.

A few miles before our destination, we met with the river trail and glided along in absolute
silence under la luna tranquila. She spoke to us of blue and of white, of childbearing and of puberty.

Our final destination brought us into the large space of Solidarity Ink. We
watched a film about the Zapatistas of Mexico and wombyn spoke to us of the
need for solidarity with our brothers and sisters down south and of the
need to prepare ourselves for our own revolution. We listened with young,
old, brash, and wise ears. We soaked in one more experience where caring
and convivial living swam to the surface of our consciousnesses, mounted an
aquatic bicycle, and rode 12 miles on the open sea.

Thank you for a great first ride. I look forward to many more.

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