Whatâ€™s your name (optional) and/or your Midnight Ridazz log-in name?
Iâ€™m Jesse offline and 0gravity here
How did you first hear about Midnight Ridazz and what was your first group bike ride?
I first heard about MR from Alex Thompson when he was manning a bike booth at a festival at the park on Ocean Park. He was missing a front tooth from a bike accident. I figured this was a guy I should take biking advice from. He told me about Santa Monica critical mass, which ended up being my first ride. Had a blast and kept all my teeth.
Currently what rides do you attend regularly and what ride(s) would you like to see make a comeback?
Iâ€™m off and on, spotty about what rides I do. Sometimes too lazy to go from the Westside to rides downtown-ish. Iâ€™d like to see another prom night ride! That was fun getting a gaudy orange too-small Goodwill suit and rolling with my crew.
What advice would you pass on to new ridazz?
Respect and humility. Weâ€™ve created this monster -- and itâ€™s a great thing -- but weâ€™ve gotta keep a reign on some of the bad elements that creep in; people getting too wasted and crashing all over the place, people coming out just to be punks, being too aggro to cars, leaving trash. 99% of ridazz are chill but that 1% can give the whole ride a bad rep. So call people out if you see shit. The Law has largely looked the other way because they have bigger problems on any given night. So letâ€™s keep it that way and not give them a reason to come down hard on our rides. And every car that weâ€™re assholes to at night is potentially a car that runs us off the road during our commute the next day.
Ohâ€¦and a little pet peeve. A talented fixie rider is a beautiful thing. But if you just got a fixie, learn to ride the damn thing (and not on sidewalks) before you come out on a ride. Iâ€™ve seen too many newbie fixters eat shit on downhills and take other ridazz out.
If you were leading a group ride, what would you do differently?
Never led one so I dunno. Something small and fast.
Do you prefer small rides (30 or less people) or larger rides and why?
Both are good. I love huge sprawling rides for the whole crazy scene. But some of the best rides Iâ€™ve been on have also been small ones like Cubcamp where we jam fast and itâ€™s intimate enough to get to know a bunch of the riders.
Tell us about the best and worst experience youâ€™ve encountered on a group ride.
BEST: Theyâ€™re all so good, and thereâ€™s a bit of haze between which were some of the best. Among them would be the impromptu dance party at a 711 parking lot on Santa Monica when someone in a pickup truck got all into it and let about 20 ridazz dance on every available inch of his truck. Naked guy dancing too!! (link to vid? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2Ww6DQEdN0) That video sums it up.
WORST: This is hardly a â€śworstâ€ť thing but I was really conflicted after one of the Santa Monica critical mass rides. I loved it for all the obvious reasons, but that night a big section of freeway somewhere Westside was shut down because of a big rig roll-over and it sent a HUGE mass of cars into Santa Monica the night of our ride. It was the worst traffic jam Iâ€™ve ever seen. Cars were going absolutely nowhere and we made it a lot worse. People just wanted to get home and most were REALLY pissed at us, some yelling crap. We didnâ€™t make any friends and I doubt any converts to the biking lifestyle. Some might say thatâ€™s a prefect night to take over the roads by bike, Iâ€™m not so sure.
What did you do for fun before you started â€śridingâ€ť?
Tons of other riding, both road biking and mountain biking. I was psyched when I first moved here to find the Santa Monicas have some really good mountain biking right here near the city.
Whatâ€™s the best and worst thing group bike rides have done for cycling as a whole in Los Angeles?
BEST: Theyâ€™ve made riding bikes cool again. So many new people are getting into riding, both for a fun free thing to do at night, but theyâ€™re also probably thinking twice the next day whether they need to take a car or take a bike on their commute, or running an errand.
If you can name 1 person who embodies the spirit of â€śMidnight Ridazzâ€ť, Who would it be and Why?
Alex Thompson. Heâ€™s been a core MR since who knows when. And heâ€™s stepped it up hugely with his work getting Bikrowave up and running and now putting big efforts into bicycle advocacy. AT for LA Mayor!!
What do you think the publicâ€™s perception is of group bike rides?
Tough question. Most of the public is indifferent. A lot wonder who these crazies are and where can I get me a piece of that action. Then thereâ€™s probably a decent number of people that have been inconvenienced by a big ride and hold a grudge, or think bikes belong on sidewalks. But there will always be haters and ignorant people.
Is there anything else youâ€™d like to add?
Iâ€™m moving to Atlanta this fall. Iâ€™ll miss MR a lot. So glad it was a part of my LA experience. Maybe I can find something like it out there.