What’s your name (optional) and/or your Midnight Ridazz log-in name?
My name: Kat
MR name: Katerpillar
How did you first hear about Midnight Ridazz and what was your first group bike ride?
I heard about the ride when I was doing the ALC in 2008. I was at the lunch stop in a small town called Bradley and I met Danny Zuko. He told me about MR and how everyone rides all over LA at night. WUT?!?! Riding at night….for FUN? I never knew that existed. I’ve only ridden during the day…you know, the group of roadies in spandex that START riding at 6am? Yeah, that WAS me. I’ve since converted to riding at night and have enjoyed it since my first ride: LA Critical Mass.
Currently what rides do you attend regularly and what ride(s) would you like to see make a comeback?
I usually ride LA Critical Mass, People’s Ride, Ride With No Name, MidCity Misfixed.
What advice would you pass on to new ridazz?
Be prepared when you ride: make sure your bike is in good condition, bring a spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, pump. Know the general rules/etiquette of riding on the road, especially in a group. If you don’t know, ask. You don’t want to find out the wrong way and end up in an accident. ALSO…expect to have fun with other ridazz who also enjoy riding their bikes everywhere, just like you. Meet people and get out of your comfort zone. There are so many interesting people you will meet on any MR ride. All of your positive vibes as you’re riding your bike on the streets of LA will make all the people walking on the sidewalk, or the people sitting in their cars, or the people standing in line and waiting to get into a club watch you ride, are full of envy, wishing they had a bike that they could hop on and join the you and all the ridazz. It’s a contagious feeling and they know they’re missing out on all the MR fun.
If you were leading a group ride, what would you do differently?
I’ve helped out with leading group rides and usually end up falling in the back, helping out ridazz with flat tires or helping them find the rest of the group. If I were to lead a group ride, I’d keep in mind that not everything goes as planned and shit happens. Still, have fun and RIDE ON!
Do you prefer small rides (30 or less people) or larger rides and why?
Both. The large rides are always fun for the adrenaline rush of having hundreds of other people riding around the city. I love seeing the sea of red flashing lights ahead of you or the white lights behind you as you ride. I also like the intimacy of the smaller rides. Heh. I said intimacy.
Tell us about the best and worst experience you’ve encountered on a group ride.
Best & Worst: when I crashed with my friend during RWNN in April ‘09. Yes, the crash was my fault because I ASSUMED that nobody would be on my left and wanted to go back to meet up with my brother. I was near the center of the street and my friend was hauling some serious ass down the center and T-boned right into me as I was making the U-turn. It totally sucked getting hit and being the one who CAUSED it. On top of that, I usually wear a helmet when I ride, but on that day, I didn’t bother bringing it. It was a reminder to me to ALWAYS wear a helmet. I didn’t break any bones, but I did have a concussion and a bruised eye. My friend ended up with a few cuts and bruises and broken clavicle. It was also the best day because it showed me even more how MR is such a huge family. I don’t know everyone who helped us out that night, but I do know I heard a lot of people were around us to make sure we were okay, to make sure someone could take our bikes, etc. I even heard someone hauled ass to a local liquor store to get a bag of ice for my eye. Thank you to everyone who stopped to help us out. I really appreciate it…
What did you do for fun before you started “riding”?
I basically hung out at bars/clubs, drinking and socializing with friends. I don’t remember what else I used to do for fun…I think I just erased that part of my life from my memory.
What’s the best and worst thing group bike rides have done for cycling as a whole in Los Angeles?
I think the group rides have raised peoples’ overall awareness of bikes being on the roads. It’s frustrating when the general public thinks that bikes are meant to stay on the sidewalks. Ha. I just think that’s funny…especially since there are bike lanes. No, they’re not intended as an additional lane for people driving cars. Sorry.
If you can name 1 person who embodies the spirit of “Midnight Ridazz”, Who would it be and Why?
I don’t think I can limit the spirit of MR to just one person. There are so many people I’ve met within the MR community that all share the spirit. I guess that’s why they keep riding. It’s the feeling they get when they ride, the feeling they share when they meet other ridazz and that same feeling keeps the MR spirit alive.
What do you think the public’s perception is of group bike rides?
Personally, I think it’s a mixed perception. Some people think it’s fun – whether they think we’re “racing” or riding for a cause. That part is cool. And then there are the “other” people. They just view group rides as a nuisance and a huge traffic jam, causing them to be late to whatever event they’re trying to get to (that they’re already late to begin with). To those people, I say: Sit back and enjoy the scenery. Life is too damn short to always be in a hurry. Sit back in your driver’s seat, smell the bike lube and watch MR ride by and cheer ‘em on! Deep down inside, I know you’re jealous and you wish you could ride. It’s okay. I understand. Now just get outta that car, get a bike and ride, dammit!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you for introducing me to a cycling community that I never knew existed. MR is the best and don’t know what I would be doing without you guys! RIDE ON!!!!