NOTE: friend Damian Kevitt, is the survivor of a hit and run crime in Griffith Park. His story, amputation and transformation into a hero of recovery turned something awful into an incredible mission to make the world a better place. It remains one of the most awesome things we’ve had the honor of being a small part of. We hope that you make time this Sunday, to participate as a cyclist, runner or walker. Go Damian!!


Finish the Ride, Run, Walk ‘n Roll

Finish the Ride is happening…again!  What was a single event to commemorate a terrible event has turned into a movement, for safe city streets and ending hit and run crimes. A movement to support walking, bike riding, running, skateboarding, and having fun without fear of becoming roadkill. 

It starts at 7:30am in Hollywood with VIP speakers, including the LA DOT General Manager Seleta Reynolds, Councilman Busciano, Councilman O’Farrell and a very special guest you’ll want to see.

The Run, Ride and Walking events roll at 8 AM. From 6 easy miles all the way up to 50 miles, a 10K Run, 10K Walk and 10K Roll.  Yes, EVERY form of active transportation is represented, skate-boarders, roller-blades, roller-skaters, even unicyclists.  Full support with activities, water and rest stops, SAG wagon, etc. 

The event is kid friendly and dog friendly. Please no cats or iguanas. :-)

Everything finishes at The Autry Museum south lawn in Griffith Park with food, live music, dancing, BBQ, beer, ice cream, beer, yoga, free t-shirt, finishing medal (or ribbon, depending on the event), great goodie bag with free swag, raffle, silent auction, free stuff and good times.

Did you know that between last year’s event, awareness campaigns, legislation and a lot of work, we dropped hit and run crimes by 16%. It all started with a little bike ride a year ago.

Have a great time. Help make LA a safer place to live. What are you waiting for? REGISTER!


Florian Lorenz did a great review of the World Bike Forum that happened in Medellin, Colombia, February 24-28, 2015. The big lessons:

  1. A team of volunteers pulled off the World’s largest event on pedal-powered mobility
  2. A free and collaborative event can host a powerful discourse
  3. A global network of engaged citizens can drive urban change
  4. Women are taking the lead in bicycle advocacy
  5. A multi-lingual discourse in possible
  6. Latin America is key for sustainable urbanisation
  7. Activism shows the way for urban change
  8. There is limited future for one-size-fits-all solutions

Check instagram’s #fmb4 for great images of the event. I’m sure many others also have great reports, but I would like to talk about bicycle and active transportation advocacy issues and where my ideas have evolved to after having been fortunate to both attend and speak in Bogota and Medellin.


Anyone close to me knows that I have been moving away from the Copenhagen inspired/urban planning/policy wonk model of social change. There’s some inspired rants as to why those ideas, career paths and approaches are not working, but another time. Let’s just say that when I arrived in Medellin, I was 100% involved in exploring the activist VS advocate debate.

Which, funnily enough, was a main topic of discourse.


The answer should be pretty clear – advocates tend to be middle class people who intended to get a job in the non-profit sector after university. Activists, on the other hand, are unpaid passionate people who can’t stand the thought of things not getting better and expend their free time finding creative ways to change things.

There are a lot of racial and socio-economic factors in which side of the advocate/activist divide you might fall on. Some people, like myself, have been on both sides of the fence. In general, it’s more like having a visa to the other side, than having two passports… if you know what I mean. There are many people working on how to make this “movement” more diverse – though what that really means is getting more of the hugely diverse activist populations into the paid realm of advocacy. It can’t happen soon enough.


Glad you asked. In the traditional way that social change has happened: activists mobilize around a cause, one of them starts a non-profit to raise money and work within the system, the non-profit hires some professionals who can play the local/national powers (who rely on the activist community to sign petitions, volunteer, donate, etc) and eventually laws are passed or a bike lane built.

So, to a degree, yes. Since our current governments haven’t been toppled, we have to achieve goals that require influencing politicians, people rich enough to donate money, and frequently large companies – all things that are very structured in individual roles and access. But completely re-envisioning what social change from the bottom up looks like is not only possible, but necessary. Every year the biggest social change/bicycling project successes are ones that reject hierarchy and encourage the participation of people of color, non-traditional gender identities, the very young and the very old and even non-english languages.

So what happens next?

The current system of advocacy (with the established organizations, players, expectations) can slowly add some “spice” in the form of nontraditional hires who will bring in more nuance. OR the entire process could shift away from this model and into something new based on distributed networks, AKA collaborative process.  That doesn’t mean that existing orgs would all go away – but it does mean that how they work would change.


Behind any conversation – how to start an education program, get more bike lanes, what is the difference between advocacy and activism? The answer is always money. But as people who want to make the word a better place, talking about money is taboo. Plus so many people are working towards these goals without any money involved, that you’re kind of a jerk if you want money for your work. And since there’s no money in bicycling, those programs need to be re-imagined as something else, say anti-obesity or congestion, if you want to get any support.

The first thing we need to talk about isn’t “is your organization racially diverse?” but – where’s the money coming from? And how is it being used? 99.99% of the time there isn’t any money and people work tirelessly and unpaid until they eventually realize that they can’t keep that up. This is a huge problem in the activist community, where turn over is very fast. Even within advocacy, it’s usually not the most comfortable job you could get. Money is a huge important topic, but it’s enough for now to say that it’s a problem we need to actively discuss and acknowledge.


Are frustrating as hell. Constantly shifting, very difficult to manage. And yet, this is the biggest strength that we have – massive numbers of people who all care about the same goals and are willing to give something to make those happen. The World Bike Forum – organized by volunteers, was a hugely impressive display of what a hybrid model of collaboration could look like. The best example is the cooperative structure. And it turns out that we have a fantastic network of bike co-ops in the United States and internationally. Though, in general these groups are focused on direct service: helping repair bikes, provide basic education and getting bikes to low income individuals. I haven’t ever heard of an advocacy co-op, but if you have, please email me.

At the heart of it is community organizing – how do we reach people? I believe that as technology continues to become more sophisticated and people have the chance to refine it, that being able to reach larger numbers of people globally or on the street level, will only get better. But we have to remember that we have to come to them on their terms, not broadcast the latest news or request and hope that people care enough to do something. I’m enormously excited to see that community organizing specific conferences are showing up more frequently and even replacing the traditional conference where a lot of bored professionals recite what’s going on.


Hopefully a beautiful world free of pollution and filled with healthy, happy people riding bikes all over the place.

What I am hoping to see in the next decade or two are the creation of meaningful interconnectedness between influential individuals, organizations but most exciting – large populations. And that the way that we are organized (and funded) has a shift towards large cooperatives. Yet we also need to be supported, funded and work with large companies and governments. How that happens can change. If you want to get really nerdy (and awesome) I recommend reading Community Detection in Networks with Node Attributes (warning: Math). But many of these ideas can be understood through other, more social or experiential means. We need a lot of people thinking about how we can share knowledge and what the best way to do that is.

I believe that the current system of having each city, region re-discovering and creating things by themselves is a huge loss when many lessons and inspiration can be borrowed. However, we also have to realize that each city, town and neighborhood is unique. Look around. Does it look like Denmark? Is everyone speaking Dutch? No? Then let’s take the appropriate lessons and feel free to create our own authentic bike cultures.

The “Solar Countries” that Jaime Ortiz talked about in his moving keynote talk at the World Bike Forum reject the import of other countries expectations and assert that South America and other places along the equator are already far along the path of new solutions, organization. For that we should be grateful and asking more questions about how we can learn, share and evolve together.


Started by Susannah Lowber who wanted to find a group ride like the infamous Monday night Wolfpack Hustle rides, but without all the … you know guys.

Why do we need women’s only rides and development? Can’t they just join existing men’s rides, clubs and teams? No.


For the very few women who are physically strong enough to jump into those challenges (like the very fast Kelli Samuelson on team Cinelli-CHROME), the much larger barrier is the long list of ways that men – both knowingly and in complete ignorance – say and do things to make women feel bad about being there. A point that is perfectly illustrated by “Hey Dude” a blog post by safa that imagines that competitive cycling is female dominated and what it might be like for men to try breaking into that world.

Ok, then how do you do it?

In a little over 1 year She Wolf Attack Team, or S.W.A.T. has built an incredible program that finds fun, social and welcoming ways of getting women from a huge variety of backgrounds together for as much (or as little) riding as they want to do. Beginning with the weekly “spicy” paced ride on Tuesdays, the team has found individuals within the group who are passionate about different kinds of riding and worked to develop a wide range of supported rides, training and seasonal focus. A weekly intro level ride was started on Thursdays, called W.O.W. or Women On Wheels. It’s another way of getting newbies in who can advance to the faster rides, or simply enjoy a non-intimidating weekly ride with other female identified riders. These rides are still lead by senior S.W.A.T. riders, which makes it an inspiring and solid experience no matter where the ride goes.

10632784_713324012080372_5849159698305649805_n 1779864_10202719662701441_7601561488068299940_n

Over the summer S.W.A.T. developed a core group interested in track racing at Encino and Carson Velodromes. At the local Wolfpack Civic Center Crit in front of LA City Hall, the S.W.A.T. team was by far the largest female turn out in road and fixed categories. By the time the Wolfpack Invitational happened at the end of the track season two S.W.A.T. riders placed in the top 10, “All Out War” format of racing. During all of it they’ve been blowing up instagram and social media with awesome photos of ladies having a great time racing.



For cyclocross season, S.W.A.T. came out every weekend, carpooling to events throughout Southern California, creating a team tent, cyclocross team shirts, field trips, cx specific training and events that all are welcome to – while still maintaining the two weekly rides based in Central LA’s Silverlake neighborhood.



Series Finale today for #socalcross prestige series#swatCX killed it in our first year placing 9th overall in team standings and the only all female team in the series expect to see a lot more of these Dirt Foos


No matter the season or focus, who doesn’t love a team dinner? The joy of riding with your friends, cheering them on to victory, cheering them up after a disappointment and motivation to ride more than you ever would on your own. Or you know, with those guys.



I love cyclocross, mostly because it was the first style of bike racing that I did 10+ years ago when there were 3 other women and only a few more men at a local race in New York. It was confusing, weird and dirty. Now, it’s kind of a big deal with a whole new generation of racers, organizers, companies and spectators. But let’s be clear: it’s still ‘American Bicycle Racing’ and struggling with the same problems that roadies and other disciplines face.

Problem #1 Development.

How do you get enough new people into the sport so that champions (and a packed field) can emerge? There’s a big backlash against USA Cycling, the governing body that determines things like points and status, from local race directors who create awesome events that get more people into the sport – but who can’t afford the crippling fees to be USA Cycling sanctioned. So racers have to choose to race ‘for the love’ or glory. There was a huge fall out when USA Cycling tried to ban anyone who raced in non-santion events in 2013. What a bunch of bullies! Roadblock from Midnight Ridazz/Wolfpack Hustle laid it out best in his response.

Problem #2 Equality.

Yep, it’s kind of embarrassing. A Brilliant illustration of this is found in Helen Wyman’s “Pressing the Equality Button” on Cycling News. Read it in its’ entirety.

So, personally in 2015, I don’t think there is an excuse for women not to be receiving the same minimum prize fund. If the minimum salary in a country was lower for women, there would be riots. If prize funds were different based on skin colour or sexual orientation, there would be riots. We don’t want to riot, we want to race. We just want equality.

What a way to kick off an event! It’s like Thanksgiving with extended family…

But, whenever bike drama comes up: it’s also easy to fall back on the immediate joy of the moment: being on a bike, turning yourself inside out and experiencing the thrill of a new course. And that’s what we can look forward to this weekend. What I’m hoping for is that while a big new field of women and juniors show up – the conversation can take a positive new tone: making things better for everyone.

We can do it! 10177326_623940734394140_701619715266483455_n-750x578


Make your 2014 charitable dollars work! Help us reach $50k to develop the mobile app HERE

2014 Accomplishments:

While most of our programs are focused on Los Angeles, we’re also working to bring these fun and helpful learning tools to other cities – and countries! In February 2015 executive director Nona Varnado will be speaking in Bogota (ciclovia) and Medellin (World Bike Forum), Colombia on how to bring DIY bike culture to communities to create positive social change.

The mission:

Bicycle Culture Institute is a non-profit organization focused on mentorship, developing a resource library and broad media attention for a diverse range of voices about bicycling. We help other non-profits, coalitions, co-ops, ride groups and large companies focus on their primary mission by developing high quality education programs, workshops and training.

Based on 15 years of innovative cycling culture projects including: race development, community organizing, brand development and traditional advocacy. We believe in making friends, learning from other cities and individuals around the globe to build connections between people.

You can support BCI’s general operating fund or make sure your donation goes 100% to the #LABIKETRAINS mobile app. We’re pretty excited that this little project has some big potential to transform cities like LA into great places to ride for everyday transportation.

Not into paypal? Checks can be written to: Bicycle Culture Institute and mailed to 5918 Willoughby Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038


We need you to keep the good work up. Social media likes feel nice, but they don’t keep the wheels moving. To say thank you to anyone who contributes financially, we’d like to offer:

  • Any donations over $50 get a handwritten thank you note
  • Over $250 special 1:1 bike ride (1 hr) in Los Angeles with any active LA Bike Train conductor (pending scheduling)

Over $500 you can choose:

  • Get your logo on the L.A. Bike Trains jersey
  • “Special Valet Service” with founder Nona Varnado
  • the official L.A. Bike Trains ‘Conductor’s Kit’ a reflective saddle bag with Lezyne brand mini-pump, tools, lever/patch kit, energy snack and first aid items.
  • Invitation to private events, rides and parties in 2015

and Thank you. Paying attention and helping us spread the word is a HUGE help. If you can’t contribute $ this season, consider offering some of your time and talent. email us at: hello @ bicycleculture .org



via Twitter
via facebook
via instagram 


Thanks for a great 2014. Help us make L.A. Bike Trains better and more accessible for people all over Los Angeles in 2015! Only 10 questions will make a big difference.

Here is a link to the survey:

Make GREAT use of your 2014 charity dollars and help us reach $50,000. The new app will connect up to 1 million people in LA County with great bike routes, education and encouragement to make riding a bike to work and school AWESOME.

Thanks for your participation!


SaraiPhoto: Nikki Inglis

At first glance, the article “These Are the People You Need to Know in the Bike Industry” is a solid list of industry rockstars. Everyone wants to know the quiet (and not so quiet) leaders, the mainstays, the ones who have been around the block, using their passion and experience to drive the industry.

But failed to notice all the other people that you need to know in the bike industry. You know, the ladies.

There could have been at least a few women in the lineup without much additional effort, but it does indeed require effort. On the surface the bike industry and sport is made up of a lot of dudes. The term MAMIL (middle-aged men in Lycra) exists for a reason.

It is a real thing.

However, it doesn’t take long to realize that while they are a large part of the whole, they are still only part of the whole. I’d like to add a few amazing women to this list but instead I’m going to call them “Women You Want to Know Because They Are Badass”

Kate Rau—Executive Director of the Colorado High School Cycling LeagueBailey Hundo Board of Directors.

Nicole Preston—Director, Special Events at American Diabetes Association (Tour de Cure), League of American Bicyclists Board of Directors.

Nona Varnado—Founder and Executive Director of Bicycle Culture Institute, Founder and Editor at Bird Wheel.

Sarah Lehman—CEO Enve Composites.

Susie Wunch—Founder and Editor of VelojoyWomen Bike Advisory Board.

Robin Farina—President of Women’s Cycling Association.

Tori Bortman—Founder and Owner of Gracie’s Wrench, Author of theThe Big Book of Cycling for Beginners.

Leah Flickinger—Executive Editor at Bicycling Magazine/Rodale.

Carolyn Szczepanski-Reinertson—Director of Communications atLeague of American BicyclistsWomen Bike Advisory Board.

Karen Bliss—VP of Marketing at Advanced Sports International.

Elayna Caldwell—Brand Director at SRAM Mountain BikeIMBABoard of Directors.

Cindy Koziateck—Co-Owner and CFO of Stan’s NoTubes.

Dorothy Wong—Series Director of SoCalCross.

Elly Blue—Founder at Wheelwomen Switchboard, Publisher at Elly Blue Publishing.

Anna Schwinn—Lead Engineer at All-City Cycles, Team Captain atKoochella.

Kristy Scrymgeour—Owner of Velocio Sports, co-founder of Velocio.

Lindsey Vories—Founder and Director of Ladies AllRide.

Joan Hanscom—Marketing and PR Manager at ABUS Mobile Security.

Carla Huckee—Global Marketing Manager at Niner Bikes.

Jenn Dice—VP of Government Relations at PeopleForBikes.

Kate Powlison—Senior Marketing + Communications Manager atPeopleForBikes.

Deanne Buck—Executive Director at OIWC.

Tanya Quick—Co-founder of CycloFemme, Founding Principal atLanguage Dept.

Of course, there are many, many more names that should fill this list. Having worked in the industry for a decade, I focused on the women that I personally know and have had the distinct pleasure of working with. These women are incredible examples of leaders, elemental components of companies and advocacy organizations, as well as innovators and entrepreneurs.

On a side note, I would be remiss without mentioning the other blatant truth here. Gender diversity is not the only diversity that we as an industry and sport are lacking. Race, ethnic, cultural, age, and economic diversity is largely absent.

Diversity creates equality and breeds innovation. Without those things we risk stagnation and miss out on an entire population of would-be cyclists and bike riders.

I won’t pretend to know how to fix all of these issues but if we start with growing women’s cycling, I think we can make some progress. Women are generally known to be incredible community builders.

We could go on at length about why or how we got here. But I believe there is a universal sort of idea that we can start with to be our guide to a better future.

While the bicycle played a significant role in women’s history, women have not played a significant role in the history of cycling, or so the story goes. Just like in the tech world, women have largely been omitted from the history book of cycling.

Women are left without the stories of endurance, grit, innovation, leadership, and heroism. We are left without a history of women riding bikes.

So, how do we go about creating that inclusive culture, one where we all have a place?

The first answer is simple, we all need to invite someone different from ourselves into the world of cycling. We can do this through programs, clubs, teams, group rides, and other initiatives that speak to an audience that we are not a part of.

The second answer is simple too, support those that are doing the inviting. And make a commitment to stick with it for the long haul.

The third answer, also simple. Tell really good stories with words and images of the different bikers and cyclists, old and new, the inviters and the invited.

Here is your challenge I challenge you to write really good stories and take really good pictures of people riding bikes who don’t look like you, act like you, smell like you, eat like you, talk like you, or even live by you.

Sarai Snyder is the founder of and co-founder of CycloFemme.


Thanks to the platform provided by the Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center Crit2; women’s bike racing is heating up in LA in a big way. 200+ racers (60+ ladies!) are going to be killing it around LA City Hall/Grand Park with hairpin turns, food trucks, vendor fair and team tents to check out along the course. LACBC will be providing FREE Bike Valet at Grand Park. If you can’t be there, check out all the action via instagram, twitter and facebook.

{ Check out the KPFK – Kill Radio interview w/ Nona Varnado for a longer audio discussion }


Wolfpack Hustle (Official) instagramtwitterfacebook


Women Race Bikes instagram #womenracebikes on twitter


S.W.A.T. (She Wolf Attack Team) instagramtwitterfacebook

If you haven’t seen the amazing things coming out of the Ritte Women’s Cycling Team, it’s time to pay attention.


With super strong podium wins for their first 2013 season, they’ve doubled down and created beautiful, compelling ways of showing the world that women’s racing is fun and awe-inspiring. It doesn’t hurt that with each season the team kits are the most attractive in the field (same goes for the bikes). But more exciting for spectators and women curious about getting into the sport – the blog, rider profiles and social media are cleverly organized to show moments of glory and suffering in ways that show strong, beautiful athletes that are also badass women.



Of the many great things coming out of the Ritte Women’s Team, much of which are the efforts of the multi-talented Kelli Samuelson-Hathaway. Part of that is working with larger organizations like the WCA to support women’s cycling from the top-down, but also in keeping everything fun and accessible to women just starting out. It’s exciting to see women’s cycling and the larger American grassroots cycling movement exploding in participation, creativity and talent.

Yesterday Kelli and team mate Becky Siegel hosted a free introduction to Crit Racing Clinic at the Pasadena Rose Bowl for any women interested. Co-organized by S.W.A.T. (#SheWolfAttackTeam) a women’s rider development team based out of Echo Park in Los Angeles in preparation for the Wolfpack Hustle Civic Center Crit2 coming up, Saturday, July 12. Broken into road/track groups everyone had a great time learning from the more experienced Kelli & Becky while getting excited about entering what is going to be a first race for many.

While the Ritte Women are on another level of racing, they’re also laying down some important fundamentals for growing the sport as a whole: showing up, being friendly, sharing knowledge, helping others enjoy the process of learning and getting stronger. As we finished our final stretch around the Rose Bowl, Kelli reminded us that any shit talking or drama in a race stays in the race. Better to say nothing, but to always remain friends and practice good etiquette in supporting other women in the sport. After all, we need all the encouragement and friends we can get.


Follow the Ritte Women’s Cycling Team on:


Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.