Long before the all woman Ovarian Psychos formed, and well before the Iron Unicorns got their start, North East Los Angeles had a women-only bike day at the Bike Oven called “Bike Oven XX” or “BOXX”.
BOXX was organized and run by Liz and Shay, the founders of CICLE.org – a local bike advocacy not-for-profit.
Bike Oven XX was the NELA version of the Bicycle Kitchen’s “Bitchen” – a female- and trans-only bike collective night. The Bike Oven held BOXX on sunny Saturday afternoons, featuring mimosas, tea, and good conversation in a stuffy little garage in Highland Park.
Liz and Shay were at the heart of the North East LA bike scene when I got engaged with it in late 2005. Along with organizing BOXX, they also created a vision of bike advocacy in LA that was unthinkable to even the most die hard advocates I encountered back then: a bike advocacy of universal appeal, a proto-Cycle Chic movement, with a bit of Maoist-style propaganda thrown into the mix.
Then something really terrible happened: Shay got sick, very sick.
Dan Dabek, current head of CICLE.org wrote this in a recent LA Streetsblog post:
Shay has been suffering quietly for the past three years. She has had several brushes with death and has permanently lost her mobility due to Lupus Vasculitis. If Shay has personally, or through her organization, touched your life, I ask you to consider making a contribution to herpersonal Kick Butt and Get Better Fund. Shay and her partner have incurred and are facing heavy costs to improve her quality of life. C.I.C.L.E. is also planning a community bicycle event for Shay in October. More details will be included in the e-newsletter. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and donation consideration.
I am not a rich man when it comes to money, but I am going to pitch in to help an old friend out. It is time to give back to someone who brought joy to the hard work of changing our city and ourselves into something better.