Los Angeles Latina Bicyclists Take Back Male Bike Culture

by Solange Castellar

Reported by the Los Angeles Times, a new group of Latina bicyclists are now riding the streets of LA with a mission. In light of Hispanic Heritage Month, and the fact that I am a failed Latina bicyclist, I took this article to heart.

The nine-member female group, also known as the Ovarian Psyco Cycles Brigade, uses “feminine positive” slogans and bike with a political purpose. Their group’s playful name intends to create “acknowledgement/acceptance/pride in one’s historically oppressed body,” as the Times says.

In this sense, the “oppressed body” is the female body, because in many Latino families, women are considered fragile and are often overprotected. The Latinas, who are from neighborhoods like East Los Angeles and Lincoln Heights, started biking at a later age because of their parental protection. Group member, Evelyn Martinez, said her mother told her “bicycles are for men”.

The group’s aim is to challenge the aggressive male biking culture. Every month, the OPCB organize a women’s “Luna Ride”, in which the crew bikes through their neighborhoods during the full moon cycle. 

The OPCB doing their ovarian “gang” sign.

However, their recent August ride was the biggest; over 100 female riders joined the OPCB along the Critical Mass, a monthly ride that takes place in over 300 cities. For the OPCB’s Critical Mass, they biked 30 miles from LA’s Watts Tower to Hollenbeck Park and only took five stops in between. Needless to say, these biking Latinas are hardcore.

The group does sponsor co-ed rides, but just as a fair warning to all the men out there, be advised that you might be given a lecture on male privilege and machismo in the bike riding world.

OPCB’s summer leader, Maryann Aguirre, said, “We’re not about who can ride fastest, we’re about sisterhood.”

This is definitely giving me a new perspective on riding and these Latinas are my new inspiration for getting back on my bike. I think I need to take my 1950s style bike out for a spin because I haven’t all summer (I know, I’m a horrible person.) Maybe I’ll start biking through my neighborhood yelling, “Viva la bicicleta!”

Thanks to the Los Angeles Times

Photos via the Los Angeles Times and the Ovarian Psyco Cycles Brigade 

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