“All ages, all skill levels, ALL GIRLS: Empowering. Liberating. Social. Fun!” These are a few of the words the Velo Vixens of Kansas City had hand written on their sign displayed the 7th of this month at the first annual Main Street Day (a celebration of urban mobility). The Velo Vixens parked themselves on Main Street that day for several hours under the blazing sun, just trying to get the good news out about their new laid back bicycling club for women. The group was recently established on Facebook in late May and the founders confess, “It was a joke at first. We were tired of riding our bikes with our boyfriends!” But now they proudly admit the Velo Vixens KC are no longer a joke. There are already over 130 Vixens, and they’ve held nearly 25 group rides since they were established on May 28th this spring.
The rides are not strictly formalized or competitive, making this the only noncompetitive all-girls bicycling club in Kansas City. “We’re a no-pressure group, which means you don’t have to be an expert rider to join us,” sincerely expresses one founder of the Vixens, Arminda Apgar. The Vixens enjoy easy-going rides to scenic attractions, fountains, parks, and even Trader Joe’s (for fuel in the form of Clif Bars). And don’t worry, they’re in no hurry.
One 40 year old women states that, “riding with the Vixens has changed [her] life dramatically.” Her name is Sarah and she is a light-hearted, fun-spirited woman that has been without kidneys for nearly half of her life. She is treated with dialysis regularly. But since she started riding with the Vixens, her blood pressure has improved and her heart problems have significantly diminished. “I have even started doing rides in the evenings after my dialysis treatments.” Sarah is grateful for the one and only policy the Vixens have, and that is the “No Vixen Left Behind” policy. “They have never once dropped me on a ride.” Sarah mentioned that someone (and sometimes everyone) will patiently take a breather with her when she needs it, instead of leaving her behind. Sarah frequents the weekly Newbie Ride, a ride specifically “designed to boost your confidence, teach you routes through the area, and get you moving if you aren’t an experienced cyclist”. Sarah adds, “The Vixens have provided me with the support, friendship, and encouragement I needed to have a healthy, fun-filled life again!”
But really, the Vixens feel that they are barely getting started! In August they formulated a powerhouse committee composed of women passionate about getting other women on wheels. They meet a few times a month to discuss all the possibilities. At their first committee meeting, they established permanent weekly rides for differing skill levels. Creator Arminda Apgar says she wants the rides to be accessible to all women in all areas of Kansas City. Therefore, it is encouraged for any Vixen to schedule a group ride anytime, anywhere! They primarily use Facebook to communicate with one another about rides. So it isn’t uncommon for a Vixen to post, “I want to ride! Anyone want to join?”
Also at their first meeting, The Vixen committee acknowledged that there is some degree of social anxiety within most all of us. Because they want every woman to be comfortable and confident on their rides, they occasionally host “Meet’n’Greets” to break the ice. These are something like potluck picnics intended just to get women together to mingle, without the pressure of a bike ride. Instead, they grill, get to know each other, and get motivated for the next group ride. Founder Arminda says that there is a very warm and welcoming social aspect amongst the ladies in her club. “That’s hard to find.” Arminda adds.
If you’re interested in miles of noncompetitive fun with a gang of new girl friends on wheels, you should join the Vixens. Stay tuned to their Facebook page (Velo Vixens KC) for updates on their next ride and Meet’n’Greet! If you don’t have a Facebook, but would like to receive updates on their rides and events, e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org. There are no membership fees or other requirements to join the Velo Vixens of Kansas City, other than ya know…being a chick…
You’ll be glad you came.
Let the good times ROLL!