If there’s one thing you can say about the San Francisco bay area, it’s that bike culture there is amazing. One of the conversations I have a lot with people in NYC is that there’s room, demand and need for organizing bike rides in areas all over the city, for all kinds of riders. So it’s extra awesome to see ladies in the Bay Area doing just that. Today we talk with Savanna Tracey, the organizer behind FWOD for our #GirlBikeGangs series in which kick ass ladies show us how it’s done.
We are an all ladies and trans only bike club that hosts a ride ALWAYS open to new riders! All bikes types can ride. Located in the east bay across from San Francisco.
@Lake merritt bart station
6:30pm meet up/7pm roll out
Rain or shine
Nona Varnado: Why did you decide to form the group?
Savanna Tracey: FWOD was made to bring more women & trans gender cyclist together on a safe social ride every Wednesday
NV: How is membership decided?
ST: There is no membership required, the ride is always and forever open to any women with a bike, we just ask that YOU come and ride!
NV: How do you keep the group together? How are decisions made?
ST: FWOD rides every Wednesday, rain or shine. As friends we collaborate and come up creative ideas for races, fundraisers, group rides, and other bike related functions. When deciding on any topic each participant is encouraged to voice their opinion. As a group, we encourage discussion. If we can’t agree, we vote.
NV: What projects have you done in the past?
ST: We throw alley cats in the East Bay, Tumble Weeds & most recently, Cinco de biko. We also throw semi-annual Sadie Hawkins rides, where the members (?-girls?) can ask their partners on the ride. We have a photographer take sweetheart pictures of each couple, beer scavenger hunts, and usually end up at a bonfire or watching zombie movies in someones backyard in Oakland.
NV: What projects are you looking forward to?
ST: FWOD is constantly evolving. With more members there are new ideas and potential projects that everyone gets excited to explore. In our immediate future we are organizing a summer Group Ride, Sadie Hawkins style. FWOD is also filming a documentary on the group itself, created by its members for everyone to enjoy.
NV: Can you introduce each member and what they bring to the group?
ST: On Wednesdays, the Lake Merritt Bart station usually sees: Kate C, Savanna T, Sanja W, Becca C, Andrea N, Andrea G, Vikki J, Liz R, Carrie F, Robin H, Lauren M, Heather M, Carmen X, Karen W & Camila J. FWOD values each rider and we all bring PMA (positive mental attitude) as well as their bikes. All ladies are encouraged to come ride from all sides of the bay area.
NV: What makes you a bicycle organization and not (for example) a public policy advocacy group – or how it both?
ST: We are not a bike organization, we are a social bike club that puts on a social ride every week open to everyone who wants to come ride bikes, hang with rad girls, drink a few brews, or not, and have fun.
NV: What is your philosophy on bicycling?
ST: We all love our bikes and love to ride them with other ladies. We all believe everyone should be on a bike. Its cheap, its fun, its good for you & the planet.
NV: What kind of cycling do members of the group participate in?
ST: A lot of the girls participate in alley cats, social group rides, cycle cross, touring, mtb, track, & rides for charity are always fun.
P.S. we’re working on our low riders.
NV: Do you do any advocacy work?
ST: A few girls work at an Oakland based bike co-op called Spokeland. We have girls who volunteer at bike related events, throw other races, and volunteer at other co-ops throughout the bay area.
A portion of the proceeds from our last race went to the SFBMA’s their broken bonds fund. We like being in a bike group that supports all bikes, bike co-ops, & organizations.
NV: How are things different in Northern California?
ST: First off in the East Bay the weather is always beautiful and even when it does rain we always ride, maybe not as far but someone will always be there. Also cycling is very prominante in the east bay, bike lanes, tons of shops & co-ops, and everyone that rides a bike tends to be very welcoming, positive and respectful of other cyclist. Also you will see a lot more males and females on all types of bikes.
NV: What changes would you most like to see in cycling & everyday life?
ST: MORE WOMEN ON BIKES! Also more excepting attitude from women & men. Seeing each other as a friend to ride with instead of competition or a threat.
NV: What are you doing to positively affect those changes?
ST: WEDNESDAY night rides at lake merritt bart meet up at 6:30 leave by 7pm FOR EVER! Also keeping a welcoming & encouraging attitude to all other riders, especially ladies.
NV: What do you think are the obstacles to achieving them?
NV: Do you have any advice for other girls who want to form their own bike gang/organization?
ST: Ride, ride, ride, ride, flyering and keeping a open positive attitude to all other ladies ride & not being having a pretentious attitude towards other riders.