An Interview with Dykes on Bike-Cycles Part 1

Last weekend I sat down with a few of the core members of Dykes On Bike-Cycles to talk about tattoos, bikes, and of course their Pride Party on June 5th.  This is the first half of the interview.   

from right Candice and Jill. from left heidi and laura

Erika-So Dykes on Bicycles, where did the idea come from, how long have you been in existence, who started it?… 

Jill-Let me just specify because it was an issue, not an issue, but it’s a very kind of confusing name because it doesn’t come naturally. It’s Dykes on Bike-Cycles, it’s a play on Dykes on Bikes but we’re not Dykes on Bikes because we’re not riding motorcycles and they have their legal name…
E-So it’s Dykes on Bike-Cycles
J-Yes. It’s a little bit of a tongue-twister at first…
Candice-It’s easier to just call us the DOBC because that way people don’t have to think about it too much.
E-I like that much better
J-So, I created it originally, the idea, I really just wanted to register for Pride. I was going to school at New Pauls so the original members were from CUNY New Pauls. We all rode bikes and we’d sometimes come into the city and ride around and go to Pride every year. And, like, I wanted to be in Pride so the first thing I thought was let’s created an official group. I went on to register for Pride and was trying to think of what we could be and I came up with the term Dykes on Bike-Cycles after looking at the Dykes on Bikes and it just sort of evolved. E-How long ago was that?
J-That was in 2006
C-We’ve been around for 4 years
J-The first Pride, we were supposed to be in Pride 2006,that was when we registered, that did not go very well. It did not happen-it was not organized enough. I ended up riding my bike in at noon, hung over and stuff. It was one of those things were nobody got together. And then the following year I left the country for a bit and my friends were, like, writing me saying “Hey we’re going to do it” so they did it there[in NYC], I rode my bike in Barcelona with my friend, like “Go Pride!” just by ourselves in solidarity and from there it started to evolve and become something.
E-That’s so awesome. So how many members would you say that you have now, that come to every ride?
Heidi-That’s a tough call because it really varies.
C-We usually have a dedicated amount of about 10-15 people that show up on rides. Based on our Facebook page we have about 700 people who are fans but some people aren’t in the state, some people can’t always make it so I’d say usually about 10-15, sometimes 20 people come on the rides, generally. I guess there’s like 5 of us that are core members that are always planning things…
J-The organizers
C-…the organizers of the group.
E-So there’s a ride today, right?
All-It’s Tomorrow…
C-But it might get rained out.
E-Are the rides always that long?
[Laughter]
H-No, definitely not.
Laura-It usually ends with drinking, so that’s why we block out that much time.
E-‘Cause you’re starting at Christopher street and you’re going all the way up to Fort Tryon in the Cloisters
H-That’s a nice ride!
C-That’s like, 10 miles, it’s like going from here to 25th street. It’s not that long. We’re trying to branch out of Brooklyn. Because we’re all from here, more or less, we do a lot of rides from Brooklyn, in Brooklyn, near Brooklyn. We’re trying to see more of the city, get out into boroughs we wouldn’t normally go to. Like, we’re trying to do something in the Bronx because a lot of people ignore the Bronx. So I feel like that ride is a good kind of half way point[The Cloisters ride]…
J-We have a member from the Bronx who’s been trying to get us to get up there.
C-Every years she’s like, “When are we getting to the Bronx!” Our rides are shorter, we’re trying to make them so that people can kind of see the city, too. A lot of our members don’t know the city-They only know their neighborhood. I think it’s cool to see parts of the City that you’ve never seen before.
E-We played basketball in the Bronx once, it was fun. And it wasn’t even really the Bronx, it was, like, 147th or something. but I’m calling it the Bronx.
H-Some rides are differentiated, too. Last year, we went to the Rockaways. There were some people who did the full ride out there and there were a lot of people who rode down to the ferry and took the ferry across. We make an effort to keep different abilities in mind and what you want to get out of it that day.
L-We’re definitely not a racing group. Everybody sort of goes at their own pace, whatever wheels you have, you ride. There’s no pressure
J-It was definitely more intended as a community. A group of friends to branch out and make more friends. Which is why we don’t do races. It’s about exploring new places, finding new routes, and really feeling comfortable in a comfortable environment to ride. People are hesitant to ride because they feel they’re not hard-core bikers but the whole point is to make it accessible, make it easy, and create a community around it.
E-So I was looking at pictures on the website, and was wondering. If you’re a single gal and you’re trying to meet other single gals…is there a lot of that action going on or not so much?
C-I think there are a lot of single people in the group.
J-There were two ladies the other week that were starting to flirt a little bit and I got excited. We were riding, and I was in the front they were talking and I was trying to be part of their conversation and I realized that maybe they didn’t want me to be part of the conversations. I don’t know, maybe they’re hanging out now.
H-I’m really hinging all of my summer romance plans on our party. I have a really good feeling that I’m going to find my girl friend there.
E-What’s you’re type. So I can keep my eye out.
H-Oh this questions…The Dapper Q Girls asked me this question and all that came out was, “Someone who has a job…” I would say that we’re attracting more and more members and like a lot of organizations it has the potential to get a littler murky and, you know, drama filled. I think, primarily, it’ a great place to make friends and it just sort of spins out from there.
J-That’s how we’ll all met.
C-I think a lot of people, I’ve noticed that at rides or at group events, people start talking and a lot of times about professional things, too. People start collaborating. I feel good that it’s not just a biking group because I feel like anybody might be able to do that but that here people are creating a community.
J-I was thinking about my core group of friends. And the people that I would call my friends, my core community, I met through the DOBC.   I mean my girlfriend;  We were riding through Brooklyn together… [Referring to DOBC Member, Candice)  

   

  

   E-On to the Benefit. Is this the first benefit that you’ve done for DOBC?
J-Yes, we’ve tagged on to other parties, sold stuff and hyped DOBC but we’ve never done our own party.
C-We’ve never done anything on our own. I’ve never planned a fundraiser/party but it’s been an interesting experience. We’ve sort of stumbled through it a little bit but it’s gone really successfully, surprisingly. When we first came up with the idea to your house[Heidi], I think it was the Super Bowl or something…
H-We weren’t even watching the game and I think I got on my soap box and was all, “Do you know what DOBC could do?” and it sort of spun out from there. Everything has been really serendipitous. I went to the Transman Pageant we saw this really great band, shot over an e-mail and we’re good to go…
E-Yes, Inner Princess! I love them!
H-We’ve been so fortunate. For the most part, people have been really generous and so willing to donate.
C-We didn’t really do anything except send people e-mails and the fact that they’re showing up and giving us stuff makes me feel that this group is appreciated. That we’re something that they need which is really great. We got a bike donated from Ride Brooklyn.
L-We got burlesque dancers! Who are totally into it and really excited about it.
C-A lot of people are working for free they’re just showing up that night and working for free and they’re doing it for us…when I started planning this I was anticipating disaster. I was thinking people would say that they’d do stuff and then not step up but people are stepping up. It’s turned out really great.
E-So you started planning it on Super Bowl Sunday?
H-It was a little seedling.
C-We tried to do it last year after Pride which is really difficult because after Pride everyone sort of scatters. It’s difficult to get people excited for something gay after Pride because they’ve spent all of their Pride energy on Pride. It kind of fell apart but this year we were at Heidi’s and she was like, “We should have a Pride Party” and we thought, why can’t we have a party and it just spun out from there.
H-I think it matters that for the most part all of us sitting here have been devoted to making this come to life. Everyone had this vision and everything we’ve done for the past couple of months has been to promote this party. It’s been amazing, it’s been a compilation of a lot of efforts.
J-I think we’ve learned over the past few years what works and what doesn’t work. Having open call meetings is really important so everyone can give feedback and be a part of the process but when it comes to organizing a specific event… It’s been great having a few people step up to the plate and really work well together. It’s been nice having that core group of us who really have our shit together and our there to really get stuff done which has been a huge part recognizing how to run and create as opposed to chaos.
H-People have different focuses. To be honest, I’m more excited about this than figuring out whats going on for Pride. Pride’s really fun for me but it’s not my big thing. So people have their things. I mean, other people will take the helm when it comes to Pride stuff, but this has been fun for me because I’m sort of a closeted event coordinator.
C-Not so Closeted.
J-Heidi and I are going into business together.
E-You should!  So, let’s finish with the Benefit Details.  Tell us where it is
H-June 5th.  Bar 4 in Park Slope 444 7th Avenue
C-Starting at 9PM
L-Burlesque Dancers, Dyke punk band
E-How much is it to get in?
C-It is $5 to get into the place which also gives you a raffle ticket for the bike.  We’ve got stuff from Babeland, Bushwick BikeShop, Sigg gave us bottles for free-and those are all $1 a ticket.  You can basically buy an armload of Siggs for a few bucks. A signed Uh Huh Her poster-I wish I was eligible!  We decided that no one who organized the party is eligible, we’re a little bummed!
J-That bike makes me wet, that bike is so beautiful. 
E-It is a gorgeous bike, I’ve been stalking it online.
C-I’m happy about the stuff we’ve got. 
H-We have  over 140 people RSVPed on Facebook!
C-When we first started planning I was thinking we wouldn’t have enough people there and now we’re concerned that people won’t be able to get in!  We’re having a photo booth, Inner Princess, a Go-Go boy for the boys, we’re trying, trying to get Big Gay Ice Cream Truck-we’re just waiting to hear back from him.
H-I might have some Klondike’s to sell outside so I can be you’re Klon-dyke girl.
J-There’s going to be limited bike valet so you can park your bikes so you don’t have to deal with riding around the block to find parking.
C-Yeah, so make sure that you get there at nine and we’ll see you there.

  

 20% of the night’s proceeds will go to the New Brooklyn Community Pride Center

  Photo credits to DOBC member Casssandra Rolander-check out her website.  www.cassandraolander.com
www.dykesonbikecycles.com

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