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:


vest-originally published June 27, 2014 in Momentum Magazine

Before breaking down the pros and cons of Giro’s New Road women’s line, it’s important to ask yourself where along the cycle chic matrix you fall. Many people philosophically don’t want to wear technical or specialized clothing, while others get excited about bike specific features and aesthetics. There’s the economic barrier between high-end or designer labels and the reality that many bicyclists don’t have $200+ for a nice pair of pants to ride to work in. With my brand, I saw that the women’s market needed a label that could hit certain price points, focusing on key pieces and being flexible enough to complement existing wardrobes, fit a range of body types while being pretty enough to inspire. That’s a tall order. And unlike the men’s market, there’s no clear distribution channel or process for women to discover this kind of apparel. And yet, now is an exciting time with more women riding than ever before, the perfect moment for an inspired new line.

Honestly, my expectations for Giro’s New Road – after seeing dull online product images and one mannequin display at Interbike – were not very high. But right out of the box it was clear that somehow Giro had managed to do something surprisingly beautiful. The key pieces: pants, shorts, jackets, and jersey-style shirts are all there with a few others, a much larger offering than any other women’s line. The colors are lovely and sophisticated. By avoiding prints and super trendy colors, the pieces look like things you can not only wear to work, but feel good about investing in for a few years’ worth of use.

Perhaps trying to be too flexible, there are certain irregularities: the fit between the pants, capris, and shorts are surprisingly different. The shorts are almost too baggy, the capris are perfect, and the waistband on the pants fit a little too slim. But that’s just my body, and having a range of fit types may make the collection more accessible to different builds, if a little more confusing. Giro has updated their online site, where items can be purchased directly, to show images of everyday ladies with different builds, bikes and styles; giving a better sense of the pieces and how they look in the wild.

The bottom line is that the pieces are pretty great: the women’s long awaited New Road collection is well-designed, well-made, and well-priced. Giro as a brand has the size and momentum to get things right, even if it isn’t on the first go. Like lots of indie designers in the space, there are a few pieces being made domestically in California, but for the most part the collection is made in China and designed in Santa Cruz, CA. Waiting for a full women’s release after the men’s has yielded several successes: the pieces are an authentic equivalent to the men’s line with enough sensitivity to finally reject the industry pitfall of “shrink it and pink it.” It’s very exciting to see a major bike brand take women seriously enough to go through that legwork.

front back

“Half The Road” trailer from kevin tokstad on Vimeo.

The Bicycle Film Festival Womens Program at the 2014 Los Angeles stop of their tour had only two films: a short by local racer and former BFF producer, Jen Whalen, and the documentary ‘Half the Road.’  There seems to be a lack of women focused or directed films about biking out there, so perhaps it isn’t a surprise that the major take away is: gender bias in cycling is freakishly bad and geared towards silent acceptance. With 10+ years of riding, racing, organizing and advocating for bikes behind me, I was thrilled to see so many legendary female racers open up about their personal stories, lives and how the shameful lack of respect for women in professional cycling is unnecessary.

When the the film reviews for ‘Half the Road’ started getting published online, I agreed and felt defensive. Was it too long? Yes. Did it take an aggressive name calling stance towards the evil UCI officials/henchmen keeping women from opportunities or respect?  Yup. The cinematography and production values could have been better too, but seriously? In telling the movie going audience that a movie is too long and negative, you’ve just killed off the audience that will be the most impressed by this movie: the ones who are not already super familiar with these issues and are more likely to have that “ah-ha” moment watching it.

For those of us tired of hearing how things are broken, it was actually really awesome to watch director Kathyrn Bertine point fingers at specific UCI officials, name names, cite specific discriminatory rules and respond to dismissals with epic stories of a forgotten women’s TdF, massive endurance events and the incredibly moving first hand story of Kristin Armstrong’s latest olympic gold medal. Bertine points out exactly how things can change. Is it biased? Absolutely. Now, it’s up to the audience to act on it and thankfully ‘Half the Road’ provides that roadmap.

Go see ‘Half the Road.’ Bring a snack and get a coffee afterward. Then start a revolution where you are.

FRI APR 25 in SAN FRANCISCO, CA at Bicycle Film Festival
SUN APR 27 in NEWPORT BEACH, CA at the Newport Beach Film Festival 11:30am
MON APR 28 in NEW HAVEN, CT at Rave North Haven 12 at 7:30p
WED APR 30 in NEWPORT BEACH, CA at the Newport Beach Film Festival 8:15pm
WED APR 30 in GRAND JUNCTION, CO at Carmike Seven at 7:30pm
SAT MAY 3 in SILVER CITY, NM at the TOUR OF THE GILA / Besse-Forward campus auditorium, 7pm
TUE MAY 6 in BALTIMORE, MD at the Landmark Harbor East at 7:30pm
WED MAY 7 in BOISE, ID at Northgate Reel Theater at 7pm
WED MAY 7 in SEATTLE, WA at Landmark Harvard Exit Theatre at 7:30pm
THUR MAY 8 in MEQUON, WI at Marcus North Shore Cinema at 7:30pm
TUE MAY 13 in BOULDER, CO at Century Boulder 16 at 7:30pm
THUR MAY 15 in NANTUCKET, MA at Nantucket Dreamland
FRI MAY 16 in DENVER, CO at the SIE Film Center
MON MAY 19 in BOCA RATON, FL at Cinemark Palace 20 7:30pm
THUR MAY 22 in CHATTANOOGA, TN at Carmkike Majestik 12 6:30pm
SUN MAY 25 in PORTLAND, OR at Hollywood Theater 7pm
SUN-TUE JUNE 1-3 in ALBUQUERQUE, NM at the Guild Theater
TUE JUNE 3rd in CHICAGO, IL at AMC River East 7:30pm
SCOTLAND PREMIERE! MON JUNE 12 in EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND at Edinburgh Festival of Bicycles 
TUE JULY 15 in SALT LAKE CITY, UT at the Utah Film Center
SUN OCT 5 in BLOOMINGTON, IN at Buskirk-Chumley Theater

The Red Hook Crit in Brooklyn is an amazing race that just gets bigger and more epic every year. This year the women’s race (and the rainy conditions) stole the show. It’s a gorgeous, amazing event that’s incredible to watch, but often it’s easy to look at this kind of race and disconnect from how inspiring these athletes are. If you’ve ever been a little ‘meh’ on the subject of women’s bicycle racing, 2014 should be the year that turns into a giant FUCK YEAH!

Consider that of the women’s filed most of the racers were unsponsored, unattached individuals racing purely for the challenge of it. Want to see what that looks like from their perspective? Veronica Volok took ‘Go Pro’ footage of the race giving anyone the chance to see it from the rider’s point of view.

Check out the RHC women’s race results.  It’s pretty rad to see the lap times and just how many women were making it happen. Ladies: interested in racing: study these videos cause this is what it’s all about!

It was super exciting to see LA’s hometown criterium champion & Wolfpack Hustle rider: Jo Celso win the overall women’s first in an awesome final sprint.


photo: Ben Rosser

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