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?
Interesting tidbit of information is that Midnight Ridazz was actually first started in Cambodia by 3 girls... Skull (Kim Jensen, founder) and her two friends while on a fabric buying trip. They had so much fun that Skull brought the idea back to Los Angeles. Kim hit me with an email for the inaugural ride here in Los Angeles. It sounded really fun. The Downtown Fountain Tour it was called. The flyer had a bicycle and the Midnight Ridazz name on it. It said, skaters are riders too.... So... I brought my skateboard and my friend Trev who also brought his skate. Didn't anticipate that the ride would be 18 miles and that Trev and I would skate the whole route but it was so fun it didn't matter. 2 weeks later another ride happened. That time I brought my bicycle... Eventually the ride became 2nd Fridays and a group of caretakers naturally formed around the idea. We called ourselves the Mammas and the Pappas. It was Skull and MaBell creating rides in the early days but others would take turns creating rides. Moody did a ride, Neils on Wheels... I did the 9th ride - The Strip Ride - it was controversial at the time because some people took it as sexist. But guys and girls showed up looking sexy and scantily clad. Guys wore dresses too. In the end it was all high fives. We ended up at Sam's Hofbrau House and Skull got up on our table and did a super sexy strip tease. The bouncer broke it up but it was too late, the F.U.N. was out... I have a video of the ride somewhere.... gotts to put that on youtube one day.
My first group bike ride was a small bike ride my friends from work used to throw on weekends to the beach. I used to ride my bike from mid-Wilshire to Culver City every other week or so to work and some of the other guys at work started riding their bikes as well. This was in 2000 believe it or not. We eventually got a group ride going to the beach. We called it the cruisers (of course!) or beach cruisers I forget. There was only 6 of us... very fun. Only lasted a summer and it never really grew.
What are your favorite group rides? and What ride(s) would you like to see make a comeback?
I love any out of town Ridazz trips like the Salton Sea, Nawlinzz, Portland, San Francisco, New York Ridazz.... I love Ride Arc, I love Wolfpack Hustle of course. That's my blood right there. Ride With No Name is awesome. Trenway organized rides... IAAL-MAF, Aids Lifecycle on Team Midnight Ridazz was incredible.
hmmmmm as far as comebacks I would like to see Ride Arc, I would like to see C.R.A.N.K. MOB come back and CRIMANIMALZ. I'm bummed that I never got to ride on CRIMANIMALZ. You know what I would really want to see make a comeback? The Mammas and the Papas... just for old time's sake. That group included some of the originals who really worked on these rides... Muffmaster Flash, Skull, and MaBell should post up a 2nd Friday ride. They really created the foundation for the Los Angeles bicycle scene. We have them to thank. The world doesn't have what we have...
What advice would you pass on to new ridazz?
Please always try to think of spreading love in the world. It's hard, we all make mistakes especially when we are faced with angry motorists... Show the world that bicycles mean love and goodness. Health, meditiation, agility... these are all things that are benefits of riding a bicycle. Let's always work to enable others to enjoy that too. Lastly, never let yourself get jaded about the future of cycling in LA and if you are bored of riding your normal route go get lost and find something new. Seriously. Pick a street and ride for miles and just get lost.
Do you prefer small rides (30 or less people) or larger rides and why? I ride in a group ride of 1 person a lot of the time and the conversation is great... Sometimes I get across town with 4 or 5 Hustlers and that is perfect. We brought 30 people to New Orleans and it was oh so perfect. We brought 120 people to the Salton Sea and that was the perfect amount. 1000 people on C.R.A.N.K. MOB in DTLA was perfect too.... I guess I feel at home
Tell us about the best and worst experience you’ve encountered on a group ride?
The best experience was on the Warriors ride. How fun it was to see huge groups of cyclists hunting for our group and chasing us. People were all dressed up.. I have to throw one of those again. It was bicycle hide and seek with 600 people in a boundary of 4 square miles. Fantastic. the worst experience is always a learning experience so really there are no worst experiences...
What did you do for fun before you started “riding”?
Computers, Bars... Skateboarding, The Lakers.... Music - I still enjoy all of these things but these days I ride my bike to the bar and to play music. Kind of lost interest in the Lakers compared to before... but I still watch here and there.
What’s the best and worst thing group bike rides have done for cycling as a whole in Los Angeles?
The best thing group rides have done is build the cycling community itself. Midnight Ridazz is the reason a lot of people grab their bikes and ride. It is the hub of cycling culture in LA and it is unique. No other city in the world does it like we do. 3-4 rides a night every night? We have the fever here. I try to inspire the Ridazz to ALWAYS invite car drivers and people on the streets to come out and enjoy what we are enjoying... Freedom and autonomy and community all travelling together and seeing the city. Come ride with us.
The worst thing about group rides is really just the small group of Ridazz who choose to be antagonistic or to cause problems that ruin the reputation of the rides and thus by extension individual commuters. Kids who steal from stores are probably the worst part about the open invite format. Since everyone truly IS invited you get a sample of society at large. There are always going to be people who don't care about reputation or the community and they just want to come out and get wasted or cause trouble under cover of the mass. It sucks. But what can you do? All we can do is try to love them into the group and let them understand that their actions are harming the future of this fun activity that we share.
If you can name 1 person who embodies the spirit of “Midnight Ridazz”, Who would it be and why?
It's really too big to say one person... But some of my favorites are Joe Borfo, SkidMarcus and B-Rad, Funderstorm, Meow, CoeCoe, Alec, Imachynna, RichtotheIE, Tarsis, Hanoko, Laharr, Mr. Rollers, Dak and Ms. Stephanie... .... shit so many... these Ridazz display so much love and creativity in their lives. They are so accepting and positive about people that it's infectious and pretty soon everyone is having a great experience because of their enthusiasm. There are TONS more names...
What do you think the public’s perception is of group bike rides?
I think group rides have taken a huge hit in the last year when the stealing and tagging got out of hand. It got to a point where it was in your face.... The cops have problems with us - I swear they used to like us more - and the amount of rides and new people kind of diluted the sense of dedication to the community.... When people tag or litter it really really kills our rep... It affects our standing in the community as individual riders on the streets too and that's when we are especially vulnerable.
But still, I have hope. There is so much love in this family. Everyone is invited. I still get motorists asking me excitedly what the ride is about and wondering about where to find the next one. It's a hilly journey for the Ridazz. We started out on a downhill slope cruising gathering speed and right now we just got done climbing a long uphill that's starting to crest. Only a few more miles to go till the next stop, then the journey continues.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Barleye you rule man keep up the good work.