What’s your name (optional) and/or your Midnight Ridazz log-in name?
Sean Bonner. On Midnight Ridazz Dot Com and everywhere else online I'm known by the creative nickname 'seanbonner'
How did you first hear about Midnight Ridazz and what was your first group bike ride?
Midnight Ridazz was the stuff of legend in the early days of the IAAL•MAF, which is of course the stuff of legend itself. Gang members Mr. Rollrz and Agent Orange convinced me to come out for the Mafia Pizza Delivery ride and my life was never the same.
Currently what rides do you attend regularly and what ride(s) would you like to see make a comeback?
Unfortunately due to travel and other excuses that I don't even think hold enough water to repeat myself I haven't been going on any rides regularly recently, though I try to catch up when I can. Wolfpack Hustle was the ride I used to look forward too the most but I'm far too out of practice to keep up these days. The ride I miss the most is Ride-Arc and I wish that would make a comeback.
What advice would you pass on to new ridazz?
Don't worry about the gear or the style, just show up. I know so many people who waited far too long to go on a group ride assuming they didn't have the right "stuff" for it only later realizing that the cycling community in LA, while certainly stylish in some circles, is incredibly welcoming and no one cares what kind of bike you have or what shoes you are wearing. If you are coming out and having fun, you are good to go.
If you were leading a group ride, what would you do differently?
I have led group rides, or at least been involved with the organization and the leadership of said rides, and I don't know if there's anything really *different* so much as just some things I prefer. I like knowing the routes ahead of time so if I get lost I can find my way back to the group, so I think giving people the routes, possibly on spoke cards for easy reference is a really important thing. I think having a clear leader makes a world of difference and the most disasterous rides have been the ones with no real direction which quickly become chaos.
Do you prefer small rides (30 or less people) or larger rides and why?
I don't prefer either, and both have their charm. Smaller rides are great because you can usually go faster and it's more focused. This is super appealing for a lot of reasons and there is nothing better then looking back at the end of the ride and seeing how much ground you've covered. Big rides on the other hans can be incredibly fun as well, one of the images that will be forever burned in my head is from an early Midnight Ridazz ride with over 1000 riders packed onto Sunset riding through Echo Park. I was towards the middle of the ride and I remember realizing that ahead of me was all red blinky tail lights and behind be was all white blikys and I could see the front or back of the group just endless streams of riders in both direction. It was kind of revolutionary.
Tell us about the best and worst experience you’ve encountered on a group ride.
There's no way to single out a best in my mind. So many awesome experiences seeing new parts of the city and meeting really amazing people, some of which I'm lucky enough to call friends today. I know there are parts of LA I would have never seen in person if it wasn't for these rides and so pretty much every new experience is a favorite for some reason. The worst usually boil down to the actions of a few people endangering themselves and those around them but in a way that is kind of how life is, so even the very worst things ever weren't that bad. I hate seeing people get hurt on rides, which I've seen a few times so if I could undo those I definitely would.
What did you do for fun before you started “riding”?
I skated a lot, and hung out on other dumb websites that weren't bike related.
What’s the best and worst thing group bike rides have done for cycling as a whole in Los Angeles?
Created a community. That is the best and worst for sure. It's the best because it helps riders know they are a part of a larger group and their "struggle" so to speak is shared by many others. When talking about riding bikes in Los Angeles to people who aren't from LA they are usually shocked to hear people do anything besides drive cars around for no reason, and being able to point to a community of thousands of other riders justifies and backs up all those claims. I think it's also developed a sort of gravity that people who haven't been riding see and want to be a part of so it's encouraged people to get bikes and get past their fear of riding on the streets in this city. It's the worst because detractors see a community and assume everyone shares the same feelings and acts identically so when they see one person behaving badly they point to the community and try to blame everyone for it. I've talked to non-bike people in this city too often who say things like "i saw a group of bikers the other night run a stop sign right in front of me, all you cyclists think the laws don't apply to you."
Community comes with good and bad.
If you can name 1 person who embodies the spirit of “Midnight Ridazz”, Who would it be and Why?
Rhoad Bloch. No question about it. In fact I don't think much of what we consider the LA bike scene would exist if it wasn't for his constant dedication and encouragement. Long before I ever knew him personally I remember him riding around, introducing himself to new people and offering help where needed. His motivation has to be one of the major foundations of this whole scene.
What do you think the public’s perception is of group bike rides?
OK, I mean, I guess we all do to some extent but really the perception of group rides is clearly divided by people who have been a part of them and who haven't. People who have never been a part of a group ride or who don't even ride a bike can't really understand the draw to them and assume they are some kind of protest.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Nope, except I love all you folks. Seriously. The bike scene in LA changed my life and I will never forget that. Thanks for including me.