Babes Bike Boston: An alley cat to challenge gender norms – Metro US

Babes Bike Boston: An alley cat to challenge gender norms

Babes Bike Boston: An alley cat to challenge gender norms
Stacey Lantz

Femmechanics invites all people identifying as FTW (femme, trans and/or women) to pedal over to its second annual alley cat race: Babes Bike Boston. The organization was started in November 2014 as a way for the FTW community to empower itself in the male-dominated world of biking by coming together to ride, bond through social events and learn bike mechanics.

We’re really trying to change that dynamic of who works at bike shops and [make participants] feel like they could be a mechanic in these places, says Charlotte Fagan, founder and co-organizer of Femmechanics.

An alley cat — in case you were wondering — is one part bike race, one part scavenger hunt. This year’s theme is the ocean, chosen because sea creatures’ nondescript genders make them a better representation for the diverse FTW community, explains Fagan.

For the alley cat, bikers can choose to participate in a shorter ride with fewer stops, or a longer competitive race that clocks in at just under 20 miles. While there are multiple stops along the way, it’s up to riders to strategize the most efficient route.

Some words of advice? “Just have fun and really enjoy the stops because that’s what make the alley cats fun,” Fagan says. “If it’s your first alley cat and you’re trying to win, think about the best way to make left-hand turns.”

For those who may be nervous for their first alley cat, Femmechanics will host a pre-ride the Friday before. An after party will follow Saturday night at POP Allston, where FTW participants, pals and allies can boogie down to a live performance by Boycott, an all-women brass band from Somerville.

Registration starts the day of at 2 p.m., and people can sign up anytime before the event. Bikers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a guardian.

If you go:

July 16 at 4 p.m.
Copley Square
$5 suggested donation, registration at event

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