What’s your name (optional) and/or your Midnight Ridazz log-in name?
How did you first hear about Midnight Ridazz and what was your first group bike ride?
found the website online through LAist. first ride was los angelopes in spring 08. first big ride was Jedi Mind Trick in may 08.
Currently what rides do you attend regularly and what ride(s) would you like to see make a comeback?
i'm currently living in nyc so sadly not attending any MR rides at the moment. favs: RWWN, MR, mom ridazz, people's ride (sometimes), angelopes. best rides are the ones that get involved with what's going on in the city, being an organic part of LA.
What advice would you pass on to new ridazz?
don't be afraid. riding a bike is easy and fun, and there is significant power in numbers. however, make sure you can keep up. train a little bit first if you feel like you might be lagging on that first ride. also - make friends! most ridazz are friendly. they don't bite unless you ask. the more important thing you can do to feel the group love is to buy a tall boy, talk it up, and make those connections. always carry a spare tube. and know how to change it.
If you were leading a group ride, what would you do differently?
i would always provide spoke cards. it makes people want to come back and leaves a legacy for you ride. i would definitely print the route on the back of the card, for people who a) get lost or b) want to ride the route again. also, setting expectations is important - # of stops, speed, etc.
Do you prefer small rides (30 or less people) or larger rides and why?
i think both have their advantages. small rides means that you bond more intimately with the ridazz. also, they usually draw a group that is more specific (faster riders, more chill, whatever). that way the ride is more cohesive. on the other hand, big rides are fucking rad in their scope and size.
Tell us about the best and worst experience you’ve encountered on a group ride.
start with the worst: people's ride sometime in 2009. we started at vermont/hollywood and somehow made it across the 5 to atwater. at that point we waited for probably 35 minutes while 4-5 people fixed their flats. then we finally get moving, make it to fletcher over to glendale, and chopppers start shining their lights on us. so everyone disbands and it was lame.
best rides - jedi mind trick, los biciclistas de la medianoche parte 3, 328, MR + cretins weekend in san diego, medieval ridazz, beyond and back, ROTN.
What did you do for fun before you started “riding"?
i was a student at ucla and then working, but after i got laid off in feb 08 i started looking for other ways to get involved in the city. but i was mostly jerking off and working part time jobs.
What’s the best and worst thing group bike rides have done for cycling as a whole in Los Angeles?
i think MR and other group rides have definitely increased bicycle visibility in LA. i remember talking to people and they'd be like - oh yeah, i've seen you guys. from there you have the power to do some real education about what MR is all about and why cycling is the new driving. on the negative side, in every group of anything you have the bell curve of diversity. some people are way cool, responsible, and defensive. most people are somewhere in the middle. and some people are lame and dangerous to themselves and others. the worst thing that group rides (specifically the dumb people who ride in them) have done is give people another reason to hate cyclists. that's why it's so important to set expectations at the beginning of rides - reminding people to ride responsibly, predictably, and legally.
If you can name 1 person who embodies the spirit of “Midnight Ridazz,” who would it be and Why?
So many options! I would have to say a few people for many of the same reasons. renee, danny, carol, mike, ben, b-rad, chynna, kat, matt, chris, jessica... all these people hold the qualities of an exemplary rida: they are responsible while still being awesome, active in the scene, loyal to the No Rida Left Behind precept, great at calling out potholes, directions, car back/up, etc. and most importantly they are welcoming. these are the people that make MR a family. they embrace you regardless of your coolness or riding ability, as long as you make the effort.
What do you think the public’s perception is of group bike rides?
in LA, i hope that group rides are gaining acceptance. it's easy for motorists to look down on group rides. group rides take up a lot of space and move more slowly than cars. and in a city that both requires and consequently apotheosizes cars, it's no surprise that it has taken a while for bikes to make the leap from tool of the revolution to quotidian instrument. but more group rides - done safely, responsibly, and loudly - are needed. visibility isn't free and talk is cheap. action and advocacy are the most solid ways to bring about change.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
aside from the lousy weather from november to march, living in new york is a rida's paradise. the city is flat and motorists are surprisingly patient with pedestrians and cyclists. and biking is incredibly common - in rain, snow, sun, everything. the most common method of food delivery is bicycle. whole pizzas, meals, are delivered on bike. still, laws are being passed to limit cyclists' rights. a recent NY law was just signed that limits group rides to 49 people. this affects critical mass and other rides. so, visibility is still needed. given this, i'm trying to organize a midnight ridazz nyc. please reach out to your friends in NYC and let them know that MR is not alone in LA and Austin (check out their fb page). my email is bdrucla at gmail. i would love to forge those connections and help MR go national.