Everything you need to know about Ladycat!

So what is an Alleycat?

According to Wikipedia:

An alley cat race is an informal bicycle race. Alley cats almost always take place in cities, and are often organized by bicycle messengers. The informality of the organization is matched by the emphasis on taking part, rather than simple competition. For instance, many alleycats present prizes for the last competitor to finish (sometimes known as Dead Fucking Last or DFL).

Alley cats reflect the personality, contemporary environment and competitive interest of their organizer(s). Races may be extremely grueling and designed to eliminate all but the fastest and best overall messenger, or less competitive and designed to be enjoyed by the local messenger community around set holidays, such as NYC's July 4 Alleycat.

Rules vary, but include:

  • Checkpoints - The first checkpoint is given at the start of the race, and on arrival the next checkpoint is revealed to the racer. These work in much the same way a messenger would be assigned deliveries over the course of a day. The route to a checkpoint is left up to the rider and showcases a messenger's knowledge of the area.

  • Task checkpoints - In some races upon arriving at a checkpoint the rider may have to perform a task or trick before being given the next location. This allows organizers to be as creative as they desire. Task checkpoints can involve physical tasks, such as climbing stairs, taking a shot of alcohol or hot sauce, performing a skillful trick, or can test the racer's mind, such as reciting trivia or messenger-related knowledge. Often there is not a task at all of the checkpoints in a race and tasks/checkpoints can sometimes be skipped (potentially at a loss of points) if a rider feels that time to complete a task is not worth the points they would earn.

  • Checkpoints up front - A common format is for organizers to give the checkpoints/manifest 5–30 minutes before the start of the race. This allows the rider to choose the best route between stops.

  • Point collection - Some races use a scavenger hunt style race where each stop is worth a certain number of points. These are often races of the Checkpoints Up Front variety and a rider may decide to not stop at some checkpoints valuing an earlier completion time over the points a particular stop may earn them.

Riders do not wear conventional race numbers; instead, "spoke cards", originally Tarot cards but now often specially printed for the event, have the rider's race number added with a marker pen and are then wedged between the spokes of the rear wheel. Spoke cards are often kept on the wheel by riders as a souvenir, leading to an accumulation of them over time.

We will be conducting Ladycat! using a Checkpoints Up Front format. There are seven checkpoints, each worth a certain number of points in accordance with the task's difficulty. Upon registration, each participant will be given a manifest; a list of the checkpoint's addresses, but not the location's name. Seeing as we have participants coming in from the City down to Monterey, we decided to make it a bit harder for locals. ;)

To reiterate, the Ladycat! Is about participation, not speed. Points will be earned based on your ability to complete the task. Since speed is not a factor, we highly encourage working together with your fellow participants to complete tasks. Take your time. Make some new friends .Who knows, should you find yourself stuck at a checkpoint, you might find your new friend returning the favor!

The Rules:
Ah yes, the rules.

Rule No. 1: No harassment/abuse of other participants.
Cowgirl Bike Courier, Silicon Valley Roller Girls, and our sponsors have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to harassment or abuse of any sort. Should you break this rule, not only will you be immediately disqualified from the race, but we will have to ask you to leave the event.

Rule No. 2: You must sign a liability waiver.
The Ladycat! Is all fun and games, but considering the very nature of the race(riding bicycles), there is a potential for injury. During registration, you will be be presented with a waiver that will require your signature and consent before you are allowed to participate. If you are under 18, this waiver will need to be signed by a parent or legal guardian before you are allowed to participate in the race.

Rule No. 3: You must acquire proof of visiting each checkpoint:
Some checkpoints will have a volunteer to sign off your card. Some will not. For the latter, you will require photographic evidence of your physical presence at the checkpoint. We recommend using your phone, but a digital camera will also work in a pinch. If you do not have access to a camera, bring a friend who does and compete together! If you can't find someone with a camera, we'll pair you up with a partner who does. Just let us know!

Rule No.4: You must transverse from each checkpoint using some means of human powered transportation.
Track bike? Sure. Mountain Bike? Why not! Unicycle? Of course. Skateboard? We won't stop you!

All riders and bicycle types are welcome. Heck, you can even run the whole thing if you want. Just no motorized vehicles please. :)

We suggest bringing:

- A helmet (!)
- A messenger bag.
- A lock for your bicycle.
- A camera of some sort(smartphone preferred)
- A flat kit.
- A water bottle.
- A signed liability waiver if you are under 18.
- $5 for registration(All proceeds go to SVRG. If you're feeling really generous, you can pay more than $5 and consider it a donation to the cause!)
- A friend! :)

That should cover everything! Please don't hesitate to ask any questions you may have on our Facebook event!

See you tomorrow!

Cain RamirezComment