Community is everything. It's where we live, who our neighbors are, culture and history baking into our own stories over time. It enriches our lives. But communities also need love and time in return.

For example...Did you know that the Bronx in NYC is 62nd out of 62 New York State counties in terms of poor health outcomes? Some good folx in the Bronx did, and you bet you can learn their stories to make some change in your own community. (Yet another example of why sport and activism were made for each other. #Not62)

Meet Amy Ortiz, co-founder of Bronx Femme Run and founder of Bronx Girl Bike Gang. Amy saw a need in her community to bring physical fitness and mental health together in a supportive environment centering women, and helped bring about not one, but two groups to that end. She shares with us the story of how these two groups came about, and how they've not only promoted wellness in her community, they've changed and enriched Amy's life as well.

If you're in NYC, the next Bronx Girl Bike Gang group ride is Sunday, July 3 and repeats every other Sunday. Adventures in community await you. 🚲

And if you're interested in learning more about Bronx Femme Run, check out this Citius Mag Runners of NYC podcast episode with co-founders Amy and Michelle Nguyen.

- Rebecca


I am the Co-Founder of Bronx Femme Run, an all women run group serving the Bronx community, and also most recently, the founder of Bronx Girl Bike Gang, an all women cycling group also serving the Bronx community. In helping create these two groups, I knew the importance of linking physical fitness with mental health and the benefits that came from a safe and supportive community – especially a community of other like-minded women beginning their running or biking journey.

Bronx Femme Run was established in June 2019 as a safe space for women of different groups across the Bronx to connect in their running journeys. We were a collective of different running crews supporting each other. On the first Friday of every month, we’d run through the streets of the Bronx and invite others to join. Bronx Femme Run paused in 2020 during the beginning of the pandemic, and during this time another conversation began outside of that space.

Bronx Girl Bike Gang photography by Abigaíl Montes (@mybelovedbronx). More photos from the shoot can be found here.


BX Girl Bike Gang was established in April of 2020 through an IG chat interested in biking with others. The common theme was the fear of biking solo through our busy city streets. As the chat outgrew the space, the account became a reality to share with others of the community being built. We went from riding when the weather was glorious to having a set schedule in 2021. The crew is glowing, growing, and showing the Bronx that we bike the streets and the paths alike.

Running was and still remains therapeutic, but biking became an adventure of exploration. It became the activity in which I could give my legs the rest they needed from the pavement but still got in my movement of going forward. I knew creating a safe space for women looking to bike was the goal and the mission to promote wellness for mental health. Biking has its challenges, but it’s also fun. Have you ever gone down a hill at 35mph? It’s an adrenaline rush! We pick the pace, the flow, and always down to explore different parts of the Bronx.

As I stepped down from my leadership role from Bronx Femme Run, I began to map out the vision for Bronx Girl Bike Gang. I left space for it to become what it is today. We have women aged 21 to 74 years old, varying levels of experience, different backgrounds, but our common thread is biking. We (and especially me) use this space to turn off my thoughts and focus on the road, the crew, and the traffic. I’ll always be cautious is calling it therapy because biking does not get to the root of the issues. It is the vehicle to get from Point A to Point B in the journey which allows us and me to get to our destination safely. It’s a bonus to therapy.

I would be remiss to not acknowledge that May was both National Bike Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. Staying active is the goal, as it not only boosts our mood, concentration and alertness, but improves our cardiovascular and overall physical health. It also improves mental health and emotional wellbeing, and lower our rates of mental illness. The Bronx is currently the unhealthiest county in New York State, ranking last in state at number 62 out of 62 counties for the poorest health outcomes and quality of life. And if I can improve one person’s life in becoming healthier, more active and taking more care of their mental health, then I’ve succeeded in my mission.

Amy Ortiz