“Ovarian Psyco Cycles’ Bike Brigade Is the Best Thing Ever” – according to JEZEBEL!

Whoa whoa! Thank you everyone for all the support thus far! We’re just a small collective of only 8 now attempting to create a world where “womyn of color are change agents who maintain and create holistic health within themselves and their respective communities for present and future generations”

Here’s a post that JEZEBEL put on their website earlier today!

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The all-woman, mostly Latina Ovarian Psyco Cycles Brigade is “both an answer and a challenge to the aggressive male biking culture” in Los Angeles. Fuck yes.

Evelyn Martinez grew up with a mother who told her it wasn’t safe for women to ride bikes. Now, she leads the Ovarian Psyco Cycles Brigade, which defies both car culture AND macho bike culture. The nine main members are mostly 20 something Latina nonprofit workers who organize a monthly women’s “Luna Ride” during the full moon. Is this a dream?

To read the rest of the article, click HERE!!!

Ovarian Psycos in the LA TIMES!

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Growing up, Evelyn Martinez’s mother didn’t want her to ride a bike.

“She thinks it’s not safe for women to be riding late at night, and cars are dangerous too,” Martinez said.

Moreover, her mother told her: “Bicycles are for men.”

But after a chance meeting last year, Martinez joined an all-female, predominantly Latino cycling group that is both an answer and a challenge to the aggressive male biking culture. Like men’s bike crews, it defies L.A.’s monolithic car culture with an in-your-face ethic, reflected in its name: the Ovarian Psyco Cycles Brigade.

The group says the name “is a play on words intended to be playful and simultaneously create some sort of acknowledgment/acceptance/pride in one’s historically oppressed body.”

to read the rest of the story, click here: HERE! 

“Where the Ride Takes Us: Ovarian Psycos Uniting Womyn of Color”

In honor of National Bike Month, we’re spotlighting how bicycles are tools for personal empowerment, social justice and community development in our with our “Where the Ride Takes Us” web series. Today’s post features the radical revolution of the Ovarian Psycos, an all-womyn bike crew in Los Angeles. 

To read the full story click here!

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Thank You League of American Bicyclists for highlighting the Ovarian Psycos in your “Where the ride takes us” series for National Bike Month!

Read all about it! Ovarian Psycos featured in LA OPINIÓN!

Extra Extra!!! Read all about it! This past weekend Las Ovarian Psycos were featured in LA OPINIÓN! Short and sweet article but touches on good stuff: Sisterhood, reverse racism, yesterday’s CicLAvia, our past Black & Brown Unity Ride with East Side Riders & Black Kids on Bikes, our upcoming August 2nd Annual Clitoral Mass and more!

Read, share & enjoy!

Click on this link to read the article!!!

If you need it translated – read below:

This Sunday, as every year, thousands of Angelenos will leave their cars parked and mounted their bikes to participate in CicLAvia and take advantage of 15 miles of traffic-free streets that connect the historic El Pueblo de Los Angeles to Venice Beach.

Since its inception in 2010, the event has attracted cyclists over 100,000 Angelenos participating either in groups, with their families or alone.

The Ovarian Psycos, a group of women of color in East Los Angeles, is one of many groups that will participate in the event.

“Ovarian Psycos born three years ago in Boyle Heights, in response to the lack of representation of women of color within the cycling community of Los Angeles,” said Maryann Aguirre, member and spokesperson for the group. The group was founded by Xela of X, also known as Cihuatl Ce (woman in Nahuatl), in 2010. The cyclists organize events to raise awareness in the community, with specific issues they care to women, including domestic violence, abuse or breast cancer, among others.

Every month during full moon Psycos Ovarian women come out with their bikes around the city. Some of the events are exclusive for women cyclists, while others include other groups Angelenos.

 

Unity Ride, for example, was an event that made with Eastside Riders and BKOB groups, to promote unity among Hispanic and African American community.

For the upcoming August 24, Psycos Ovarian women have planned the event Clitoral Mass, annual walk, which last year had 300 cyclists.

Most cyclists are from East Los Angeles and the main requirement for membership is to be a woman of color.

“Some people have told us that we are doing so discrimination, but we do not believe in reverse racism,” said Aguirre. The spokesperson advised that those interested in joining the group, they can begin to participate in the rides and see how they feel.

“The bike is only a herramineta. Many of us come from families with problems of abuse or violence and we feel that the group is like a brotherhood, we are much more than friends,” said Aguirre. “Being part of Ovarian Psycos has helped me a lot in my personal life,” he added.

Ovarian Psycos Aguirre said was one of the many groups that exist in Boyle Heights and who were an integral part of the community.

This Sunday, the group will meet Mexico in the Park, Lincoln Heights with other cycling groups, such as the Eastside Club, and the Coalition of cyclists to participate in CicLAvia Montebello.

Article By: Virginia Gaglianone

LOS ANGELES’ FIRST CLITORAL MASS A TODO DAR! (VIDEO)

THANKS TO ALL THE LOVELY WOMYN & WOMYN ID’d FOLKS WHO HELPED MAKE LA’S FIRST CLITORAL MASS A TODO DAR!

More than 250 womyn took the streets on their bicis, guided by ladies in reflective vests and the outline of, of course, the beautiful moon goddess coyolxauhqui dressed in blue, on August 31st for LA’s first Clitoral Mass!
The ride came after months of preparation by the Clitoral Mass committee which consisted of Ovarian Psycos core collective members, our sisters over at the Iron Unicorns and many other womyn/womyn id’d cyclists and all around psycos! Womyn in the CMC coordinated safety, “caracol” traffic control, pit stops that included a drum circle in Leimert Park and snacks at La Mina in City Terrace, an after-party celebrating OPCB’s 2 year anniversary and much more!

Riders met up at LA’s state historic park on Friday Aug. 31st–no, not making line for FYF– but to ride in LA”s first ever Clitoral Mass ride. Elsewhere, Critical Mass may have drawn nearly 2,000+ riders, but Clitoral Mass made historic strides that will leave skid marks in LA’s history forever.

Video of the ride courtesy of our friend Kris Fortin over at LA Streetsblog

Utah’s SLUG Mag features Beautiful Godzilla: Rebel Grrrls—Ovarian Psycos

Beautiful Godzilla: Rebel Grrrls—Ovarian Psycos

by Esther Merono [esther@slugmag.com]

Issue 285 / September 2012

[Illustration: Ryan Perkins]

Ovarian Psycos’ Maryann Aguirre, aka La Fingers, answers a phone somewhere in East LA with unrestrained enthusiasm as I state my name on the other end at the SLUG Headquarters in Salt Lake. My own excitement is muted by slight intimidation and the natural awkwardness that accompanies my introduction to any stranger, but something about her voice is familiar, and it greases the stiffness I’m feeling. She’s just arrived at her home after biking from work in the heat, and, having ridden to the office during pit-staining temperatures earlier that day myself, it’s easy to lament her discomfort. As we discuss her bicycle, a Raleigh hybrid she’s pretty fond of, Aguirre speaks rapidly in Spanish-speckled English, her pitch inflecting upwards at the end of each sentence, giving my inquiries a boomerang effect. As she explains her nickname, La Fingers, a result of being caught wagging her middle-finger on more than one occasion, I know I’m talking to the right person. Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” lyrics pop into my head as I listen––”That girl thinks she’s the queen of the neighborhood. She’s got the hottest trike in town. That girl holds her up so high. I think I wanna be her best friend, yeah!”––and I quietly make the (creepy) decision to friend request her later. Feeling conversational, I stray from the long list of chronological questions I’ve typed up, but Aguirre wants to stick to the plan––she’s been chosen to represent the Ovas in this particular interview, and she’s gonna do it right.

Though Aguirre tells me she has only been a part of the “womyn and womyn identified” Los Angeles bike crew for about a year, the Ovarian Psycos celebrated two years of female empowered thuggery over the summer. The group was founded by Xela de la X, aka Cihuatl Ce, for similar reasons as many other female organizers, including myself: to provide a safe space for women within a very male-dominated community. Of course, their mission statement, goals and organization are much more ambitious and resourceful than my attempts have ever been, but I’ll get to the deep stuff in a moment. What initially attracted me to the Ovas, after the lovely Elizabeth Lopez Medina linked me to their merch page, was their deliciously deviant slogan: “Ovaries so big, we don’t need no fucking balls.”

Yeah, yeah, feminism is about equality, yadda yadda––but the Ovarian Psycos are far from being the he-man haterz hypocritically correct ding-dongs are gonna make them out to be. Aguirre tells me the slogan came about organically and conscientiously, and was met with mostly positive feedback. “We’re not gonna have a fuckin’ ‘ride my bike and I feel so free!’ kind of slogan,” she says. “No––ovaries so big, we don’t need no fuckin’ balls!” Aguirre’s voice gets louder and she loses the questioning inflection as she explains the group’s target demographic. “We try to be particular with the words that we choose to use because we’re trying to hit certain kinds of women,” she says. “Not just women who are just like ‘oh yeah, cool, I like to ride my bike,’ [but] women who need the sisterhood and the bonding … ‘at-risk’ society.” Aguirre drops down an octave as she opens up about her own background, laying it out for me in a matter-of-fact kind of list. She’s 22-years-old, Chicana, and a mother of a 4-and-a-half-year-old, working full time. She’s had a rough life, growing up in the hood with an abusive parent, pregnant at 16. “It’s not just to go and ride our bikes,” she continues. “It’s much deeper than that. We’re trying to outreach to women [whom] society has decided are not the fucking top girl––they’re the fuck-ups.”

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE HERE

“Beyond Spandex, Toward Social Justice: Women Redefining the Movement” Panel @ First National Women’s Bike Summit

We want to give a special thanks to the organizers of the first National Women’s Bicycling Summit for inviting us to speak on a panel “Beyond Spandex, Toward Social Justice: Women Redefining the Movement” (badass title btw!).

Ovarian Psycos featured in Momentum magazine!

4  Ovarian Psycos core members made powerpoint presentation and dialogued with an attentive audience of about 100 at the first National Women’s Bike Summit!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/49912005″>The Inaugural National Women’s Bicycle Summit</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/streetfilms”>Streetfilms</a&gt; on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

TALES OF THE TOUR–RIDERS BLOG ABOUT FIRST ANNUAL TOUR DE LA HEIGTHS

PHOTOS BY POLVO DE LUZ

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.451177171582720.117269.217313131635793&type=1

PHOTOS BY ERIK SARNI

http://www.leaguelineup.com/topnews.asp?url=eriksarni&sid=669281365&itemid=3110002

Coverage by Elsa Suzy!

http://elsasuzy.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/ridng-down-first-street-in-boyle-heights/

On the Air with Bike Talk on KillRadio.org KPFK!

Ovarian Psycos TAKE-OVA Bike Talk on Kill Radio/KPFK (“Anti-corporate internet radio”)

LIVE! Saturday, April 28th from 10:00am-12:00pm

Discussion topics include:

-Clitoral Mass, Ladies+Trans Night @ Bici Libre, “Shit Ovarian Psycos Say,” music from the Ova playlist and much, much more!

Listen to the archive here.

Take Ova of LA Streetsblog

To view the entire article, click here.

The Ovarian-Psycos Bicycle Brigade Make a Space for Women on the Eastside

by Kris Fortin

The Ovarian-Psycos Bicycle Brigade is a all-women bicycle group based out of the Eastside. Xela de la X of the Ovarian-Psycos Bicycle Brigade throws up the Ova’s sign with the rest of the group in the background. Photo by Rafael Cardenas via EastsiderWriter.com

(We’re working on a photo essay tomorrow following up on today’s story.  So, come back tomorrow. D)

Two months ago, when 22-year-old Bree’Anna Guzman was murdered in Lincoln Heights, the all-women bike group Ovarian-Pscyos Bicycle Brigade scrapped their previously planned ride to ride instead through the neighborhood to protest the killing.

“Whose Streets,” one woman called out.

“Our Streets” the more than 30 women riding answered.

While many recent bike groups are either bicycling for recreation, bringing awareness to bicyclists on the road, or use the bicycle for social justice movement events, the Ovarian-Psycos Bicycle Brigade is a community inspired women’s movement that does all of the above and then some.

In Los Angeles, fewer than 1 in 5 people cycling were female, according to preliminary data from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition’s most recent bicycle count. While this trend has been the constant in cities across the nation, the number of female bicycle groups in Los Angeles has grown from just a couple a few years ago, to at least four.

The currently all-Latina collective with roots from various parts of the Eastside pride themselves with their exclusivity to women, with sticker slogans like “Ovaries so big, we don’t need no fucking balls.” Their monthly all-women Luna Rides, which takes its name from the moons connection with a woman’s menstrual cycle, bring up to 30 women riders each ride. For their two-year anniversary in July, the Ovarian-Psycos are also planning the first female version of the monthly Critical Mass, which will be called Clitoral Mass.

For many of the women it’s their first time being involved in an all-female collective. The oldest members are 33 and the youngest is 20. Some are artists that ride bikes, and some are pure bicyclists. Yet the Ovarian-Psycos has become a type of sisterhood that, for many, they have never had before.

“Being around women, learning that we can interact in a way that was not hostile or competitive; it’s been a very new experience,” said Magally “Maga” Miranda.

Though the group has found stability recently, the group’s continued existence was never a sure bet. On the very first Luna Ride in July 2010, Xela, the de facto leader of the group at the time, hit a pothole on the road and fell face forward off her bike, hospitalizing her for two weeks.  Andrea Ramirez, or “La Blackbird,” recalls that many bike riders didn’t come back after the first ride because they were scared.

Though one half left, and another came back for the second Luna Ride, Xela said, the group stagnated for the first year, never topping more than 20 riders.

“I was worried always that it’s going to die someday,” Xela said.

The Ovas wait at Olvera Street to start their Take Back the Night Ride, where they rode to protest the murder of a 22-year-old woman from Lincoln Heights. Photo by GLoTography

Yet, right before the Ovarians one-year anniversary, Xela started to recruit core members to better organize the group.  After the one-year anniversary at Solidarty ink, and with a fairly consistent 12 core members, the group finally started to take off. Like before, each ride had a theme. Specific workshops involved speakers, and teachers on a range of social issues, and bicycle issues. Some workshops talked about women’s health, while other covered self-defense. Yet, the groups were getting bigger, and the core members were helping spread the word.

Many of the women say they feel they are not taken seriously in the biking community because their rides aren’t as long as traditional rides, there are usually many first-time riders, and the ride will stop and wait for one person. But, these limitations, Ova member Natalie Fraire said, can be a positive.

“We are encouraging a lot more riders and that’s more important,” said Fraire.

Riding as a women group has also made the riders more aware of the difficulties of riding in the city as a woman. Individually, or in small groups, Ova Elvira “Ashes” Arvizo has been catcalled by men on the street, and during one Luna Ride, the group noticed a male motorist was trailing the group. The women stopped and started to yell at the motorist, which caused him to flee.

Creating Sisterhood

As the group has grown, the women have needed to get closer. Many of their biweekly meetings resemble the chaos of a family dinner. At a recent meeting, Maryann “La Fingers” Aguirre would belch across the room, giving many of the girls a laugh, and Fraire ran to the oven to find she burned the artichoke dish brought. If the meeting ever got out of order, a clit checker (meeting organizer) would bellow out a warning to get the meeting back on track.

Each Ova have brought various skills in community organizing, photography, graphic design and bike mechanics which they also share with the rest of the group. Gloria “GLoTography” Vasquez takes most of the photos that are on the groups websites, but she has also taken the time to teach Ovas like Fraire how to use a camera. The group has also helped Vasquez to break her shyness and talk more with women on rides.

“Now run into women across streets and able to converse with them than just pass them by,” said Vasquez.

Each season there are rotating leaders of the group called a left and right ovary, and many of the women are expected to step up to take care of a portion of their work.

Many of the women have never ridden with an all female bike crew, and let alone worked with an all-women group. Yet, the same reason Xela started the group is the same reason the women joined: they couldn’t connect with the rides already in LA.

Andrea “La Blackbird” Ramirez said she could never get comfortable riding with the Midnight Ridazz because men always outnumbered women. Aside from men outnumbering women during Critical Mass, Arvizo said will leave riders behind, and that can deter a young woman-rider to join a ride.

The Ovas end one of their bi-weekly meetings. Photo by Kris Fortin

The Ovas offer a space for women, Xela said. And the rides though recreational, can become extremely personal, with some events bringing women to tears. During a stop on their ride that was themed on domestic violence, many women came forward about their experiences.

The personal nature of the rides, and the already numerous LA bike rides is the reason Xela said, why it’s exclusive to women.

“It’s just a time for women. If they are trying to open up, won’t be comfortable opening up if there are men around,” said Aguirre.

Xela, whose been a part of women collectives that have never lasted, said she knew the Ovarian-Pscyos was a different type of all woman collective at the one-year anniversary. Jocelyn “Joss the boss” Hernandez brought a cake she made and designed to the group at the end of an interview at the Boyle Heights online radio station Centro de Comunicación Comunitaria. The cake had a symbol of a car with a slash over it.

“You do that for your sister, your best friend, and she did this for the Ovas. “That’s nice”

For more information on the Ovarians, send an email to ovarian.psycos@gmail.com or go to their website at ovarianpsycos.com.