My wife and I loaded up our bikes and headed to downtown LA for the 2015 WNBR on Saturday. This was her first time participating and it was my second. There was a new meeting spot which was near Chinatown and it was much better than last year. Kudos to the organizers for getting us a dry spot to get ready in. Once again there were way more men that women. I am not sure what the ratio is at other rides in large cities around the world but here in LA the ratio is probably 20-1 leaning towards men. This is very disappointing but now that I have gone with my wife to the ride I can say that without a doubt she will not ride the event again. Why? The creep factor is high. There are too many fully clothed men “participating” in the ride with cameras. Their sole goal it to capture nude people. One annoying photographer asked my wife 4 times if he could take her picture. This is just too much for her. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know we are out in public and it’s a free event but when someone is as annoying as that guy it sends a loud and clear message to the females which is there are very few of you and you are what we want to photograph. I am not sure how this can be rectified if at all but it surely is disappointing to know that the creeps will turn away women that would otherwise like to enjoy the ride.
We rode around downtown LA for the first stage. There were many people running out of stores and shops to take video and photos which was anticipated. Lots of giggles from the older ladies and all sorts of drivers were honking in support of the ride. The sun was hidden and there were a few sprinkles when the ride started but it wasn’t cold at all.
We made our way back to the ride start and took a 30 minute break and then got ready for another 12 miles of riding. I forgot to start my Strava app so I am not sure of the mileage of the first leg of the ride. For the 2nd stage we got on the LA River trail for some nice cruising with no traffic! We followed the path and eventually rode thru Silver Lake, Echo Park, and back thru downtown.
The organization was good. The ride was kept together as much as possible. It is a huge challenge to keep 400 riders in one large group!
I will be back next your, probably solo. I am not sure what can be done about the fully clothed men that infect the ride solely for prurient interests. I hope this doesn’t turn away women the way it turned away my wife. She is dead set against doing it again. The goal of the ride is to bring awareness to many things, oil dependence, body acceptance, and whatever you want it to be. Maybe I should head to another city and see how they do it and find out if there are better ways to handle creeps. All in all it is a very positive event. I hope this post doesn’t stop anyone from attending a ride but this is an honest review of the event. The organizers work very hard and do a commendable job at coordinating and keeping the riders safe. Thank you!