What’s your name (optional) and/or your Midnight Ridazz log-in name?
My name is Katie O'Shea, & my login is katiepoche. "Poché" is an architectural drawing technique, & it rhymes with my last name. It's a pre-rida nickname!
How did you first hear about Midnight Ridazz and what was your first group bike ride?
I didn't hear about Midnight Ridazz until after I'd been on a ride! My friend Kristy saw that I rode in to work every day & was all like "You probably totally already know about this, but I heard there's a group ride in Santa Monica tonight. You in?" I did, & we did, & boom. That was C.R.A.N.K. MOB #1, Sept '07. It took me a good five or six months to get to a proper MR (Second Friday) ride. The Sadie Hawkins ride (Feb '08). I wore a dust-pink, 1950s prom dress, black Chuck Taylors, & a black skate helmet.
Currently what rides do you attend regularly and what ride(s) would you like to see make a comeback?
I'm very scattershot with the ride attendance lately. I miss some rides (C.R.A.N.K. MOB, ROB01110100010110Tz, RIDE-Arc) & want to get my damned self back on others (The Ride With No Name, The Passage Of A Few People Through A Brief Moment In Time or whatever, all the architecture rides organized by MR folk).
What advice would you pass on to new ridazz?
Know your whip. Know the sizes of all the nuts & bolts on said whip. Then buy the gear to fix them (innertubes, wrenches, patch kits, a mini pump). Bring them with you every damned time you leave the house. If you want to get faster, or stronger, or better: Every time you have to go somewhere, ride it, no matter how far away. "It never gets easier, you just go faster." — Greg LeMond
If you were leading a group ride, what would you do differently?
I would try to do something differently every time. Different routes. Different stops. Different reasons for riding (an event, a destination, a scenic or not-so-scenic overlook). Maybe one ride, I would ask everyone to try to be totally silent, just to see what that feels like, to ride hundreds deep without a sound. Single file. Everyone dressed in white. Everyone brings something that makes noise, whether it's a sound system or a harmonica or a bike bell. We all ride no faster than 5 mph. Booorrrringg! But so boring it's interesting? Maybe. Each ride would be an experiment. Some experiments would definitely fail.
Do you prefer small rides (30 or less people) or larger rides and why?
I like small rides. Mostly because they mean less hassle — less worrying about stragglers, people who have zipped ahead, riders who can't hold their line (or their liquor). And I like big rides. I see the swell of people surging forward, & the music, & the laughing, & the strangers making friends, & then I get all warm on the inside. I like them both. For different reasons.
Tell us about the best and worst experience you’ve encountered on a group ride.
BEST: Seeing SKIDMARCUS give SP00K a push while SP00K rode a toybike from Hollywood back to the start point. I was riding next to Mixtemotions, & I said "That's bike love, right there." She was all like "Yeah."
WORST: Having to rely on the kindness of a stranger, on an early C.R.A.N.K. MOB, when I got a flat. That was an early lesson in bike maintenance, from a dude named James (Thanks, James!). The odd thing was, I knew to bring tools — I just didn't know how to use them yet. [FROWNIE-FACE ICON.]
What did you do for fun before you started “riding”?
I went to the movies or out to bars with pals or had picnics or went to museums or just sat in parks & stared at trees. I still do. But the thing with riding is, once you're doing what you went out to do, there's a whole other fun thing you get to do. You take the fun, see, then you triple it. (You know this already.)
What’s the best and worst thing group bike rides have done for cycling as a whole in Los Angeles?
BEST: Awareness, yay. Not just about cycling & riding as an alternative means of transportation — though there's that. But awareness that you can have fun with immensely diverse groups of people (it seems there are as many kinds of rides as there are ridazz), see new neighborhoods, & meet new people (with whom you automatically have at least one thing in common), without putting all your money towards booze or meals or tickets or cover charges or drugs or strippers or whatever. If you want, you can have a total blast for no money at all. It's, like, equal opportunity fun. WORST: Fronting, grandstanding, reckless riding, re-negative stereotypes about riders. We're not all scofflaw cyclists. Bad graffiti.
If you can name 1 person who embodies the spirit of “Midnight Ridazz”, Who would it be and Why?
No, but I can name a group of people. Tren Way. Can I join Tren Way?
What do you think the public’s perception is of group bike rides?
More often than we realize, I think it's "HOLY FUCKING SHITBALLS, what the hell was THAT??!" followed by "I WANNA DO THAT!" The people that demonstrate anger or frustration already have a negative association with bikers, which is unfortunate. They are also merely the ones making the most noise. I don't think they're in the majority. (They also don't know what they're missing.)
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
When in doubt, ride.