Xela de la X founded Ovarian Psycos – a bicycle collective of Los Angeles Latinas who ride together in solidarity and to send a feminist message from the streets to high-crime neighborhoods afflicted with domestic violence – as "a refuge for the runaway, the throwaway."
The bandana-wearing "bicycling brigade" provides a sense of empowerment for the members, many of whom have experienced a trauma, long term abuse and/or feel marginalized as women in male-dominated communities.
The group has closed, monthly "Luna rides" during the full moon and hosts larger rides to which they invite more of the surrounding community. Male riders are not allowed on the rides which creates some flack from the community both in real life and on social media. However, it’s made clear that most of the cycling world is already male dominated, and the Psycos are very open to including people who may look like men and/or are biologically male, but identify as women.
During the 60-minute documentary of the same name by Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle, we meet numerous members of the group, including Xela, a hip-hop spoken word artist and a single mother, who was sexually abused by her father, but her religious mother refused to believe her. We also delve inside the world of Evie, a student who rides with the Psycos despite her mother’s disapproval and internally struggles with her choice to put her time and energy into the collective rather than a job.
All of the documented women are extremely articulate and natural on camera. They offer insight into both women’s and Latinx issues. But unfortunately, the documentary doesn’t dig deep enough into more of the women's lives for us to feel a strong emotional impact.
It is, however, inspirational because it reveals how determination and desire can build community from the disparate and often fractured lives of women living in East L.A.
The film needed grittier footage of the rides and commentary from the members to bet…Read more...