Carishina Race re-cap!

On March 12th, 2010 I organized the first Carishina Race in Quito.  It was the first alley-cat for women in Quito, and I told myself that if 8 teams raced that I would consider it a sucess.  That first race 33 teams raced (teams of 2), and I was blown away by the amount of women who were so excited about the race and biking.  That race kicked off the Carishinas en Bici collective, which now includes about 7 projects, but the Carishina Race continues to be one of the biggest and most popular projects.

While I was in Quito (round 1), I organized 3 races, but this past Saturday was the first time that I ever participated in one.  I raced with my friend Elena, who is one of the principal organizers of Carishina en Bici. We had a blast! It was so much fun to participate in the race and see it from a racers perspective after organizing it.  Every time we passed other teams on the street we would yell things like “Carishinaaaaaa!” or “You got it!” or other supportive things. It was such an amazing atmosphere to see the streets filled with 100 women racing, in crazy costumes, doing ridiculously funny stops, and just generally having the time of my life.

The race was called the “Eco-Carishina Race” and most of the stops were environmentally themed.  The girls who organized it this time did a great job in coming up with creative stops, a fun route, and organizing it all in a way that kept the atmosphere fun, non-competitive, and supportive to new riders. Most importantly the after party was a blast, and we danced until we couldn’t dance anymore.


Our route is in purple (again showing off my graphic design skills).  Where the race started is the green oval, the red ovals are the stops, and the yellow oval is where the race ended.

The stops (in the order that Elena and I did them):

  • First, we had to get the manifest which was hidden inside a huge park, and clipped to a string pretty high up where we had to hoist each other up in order to get the manifest.
  • We had to use a recycled bottle as a candle holder, light a candle, and then carry the lit candle about 200 meters across a park to a ghost bike.  At the end of the night the ghost bike had 50 candles infront of it.
  • Went to an intersection and had to come up with a song that had woman, air, bike, and freedom in the lyrics, and then sing the song to a car stopped at a red light.
  • Go to a park and fill out a questionnaire about what type of bike infrastructure you would like to see in Quito.
  • Go to a restaurant where you and your partner had to feed each other ice cream while both of you had your eyes closed (one of my favorite stops! I couldn’t stop laughing).
  • Go to a collective stop where everyone participating in the race had to be there at 8pm to film a short video where everyone biked under this big statue in pairs calling out the names of their teams, and then everyone at the end yelled one of the Carishina chants which more or less says “carishinas en bici. who said fear? we ride in the streets with our ovaries in the right place!”
  • Identify bike parts at a bike shop.
  • Walk towards your partner on a slackline and at the end say “Basalto ama a las Carishinas en Bici”
  • Read a sign about one of the oldest trees in Quito with a cup of water in your mouth (really really difficult!)
  • Go to a bike shop and use one of the bicimaquinas (that I wrote about earlier) to make recycled paper. You had to grind up the paper and then use silk screens to make paper.
  • Go to a park and plant a tree.
  • Bring fruit to a stop where you used a bike blender to make some juice and then drink it.

All in all it was an amazing race, and I had so so much fun.  I unfortunately don’t have any pictures (hopefully I’ll have a video up somewhat soon), but if you sign into facebook you should check out these beautiful black and white pictures.

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