Meet the Badass Female Bike Brigade Making the Streets a Safe Space

Billed as a working-class feminist group, the Los Angeles-based Ovarian Psychos was established in 2010 to empower the women of neighborhoods like Boyle Heights. Now they're the subject of a compelling new PBS documentary.


"Ovarian Psychos is a young women-of-color bicycle brigade," founder Xela de la X says in the film. "It's a refuge for the runaway, for the throwaway. The majority of us, if not all of us, have some kind of trauma in our lives. We're just that safe space for each other, to bring comfort, to bring a sense of family."

Xela, an activist and rap artist, is a survivor of domestic abuse. For her, the bicycles serve as a protest symbol for navigating high crime areas. 

"We were brought up with a fear of movement and of the spaces we inhabit, a fear of navigating them," she told Good. "We use the bicycles to say, we will be fearless!"

The crime rate in East Los Angeles — Boyle Heights, El Sereno, Lincoln Heights, Montecito Heights, Monterey Hills, University Hills and more — increased more than 30 percent last year. Solving the crisis will depend on "communities that work together," LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said. "We'll continue to do that."

So will the Psychos. 

"We are... becoming aware of community agencies, spaces... in an effort to solidify our local networks making everything and everyone more accessible for and to each other," reads the website. 

Ovarian Psychos premieres on PBS' Independent Lens on March 27.

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