Talk of the Town - Grrrl powered May 21 2003

When some students prepare for college graduation, they can look forward to a vacation in Europe or a brand new car. Emory senior Rachael Spiewak is getting a bike.

"It's a totally bourgie bicycle sitting in [my parents'] garage," says Spiewak. "But I like my little proletariat bike."

She's referring to the yellow spray-painted 10-speed she's leaning on. Her blue helmet is draped across a handlebar "because brain damage is way geekier than a helmet."

Spiewak got her yellow bike when she began researching the Decatur Yellow Bikes program. Not a bike enthusiast at the time, she quickly discovered she loved the idea of depending on herself for transportation. She joined Atlanta Critical Mass, a group dedicated to combating car culture and promoting bicycles as a mode of transportation. From there, she got involved in the splinter group Clitoral Mass.

Don't make that face. That really is the name — and for good reason. The goals of Clitoral Mass are similar in philosophy to those of Critical Mass, but with a focus on creating a safe space for female riders to increase the number of women on bikes. Apparently, many members of Critical Mass felt like the group was turning into a "boy's club."

"In Atlanta, when you put a bunch of people on bikes and then put them on the road, you're making a political statement," explains Spiewak. "I feel totally bad-ass in Atlanta riding a bike. And if you can do it here, you can go to any other city and it's a piece of cake."

Clitoral Mass meets every second Friday of the month. 5:30 p.m.; riding begins at 6 p.m. Women of all biking abilities and ages; trannies and intersexed welcome. Candler Park MARTA Station. groups.yahoo.com/group/clitoralmass