What’s your name (optional) and/or your Midnight Ridazz log-in name?
Veronica Jauregui/ Midnight ridazz name is Veronica but I go by Blackwomansidekick for killradio and at the Bike Oven Poster of events and in ‘Chickenhead zine.
How did you first hear about Midnight Ridazz and what was your first group bike ride?
I had been going out with Chickenleather and we had been riding together, someone suggested that we go on the Midnight Ridazz. We heard there was a rock n roll dead ride, where they were going to visit the places where rock n roll Royalty died in LA. We eventually made it out to Cult Ride. It was the best one ever with the very be careful playing at Basswerks, we danced all night to live music in a small space. Back then we had definite stops but there were like 300 people on the ride. The stops were out of control and spilling out into the streets.
Currently what rides do you attend regularly and what ride(s) would you like to see make a comeback?
I'd like to see Ride Arc come back and I miss Sins n Sprockets but I know I have to catch Ride With No Name for that same vibe. Regularly I attend C.I.C.L.E. rides and Spoke'n art ride which I help organize the art for. No more critical mass, I've been left behind lost somewhere too many times. I feel like I'm too old or not fast enough for a lot of rides so I've made my home the oven and offer others shelter and a place to hang out and work out our advocacy problems. I try to hold a lot of events at the Oven to get people together but biking isnt always like that. I understand that it is fluid and always moving stopping to hang out is something we used to do in the old oven days and I'm trying to bring that back in the Spoke'n art rides and at the oven all of the time.
What advice would you pass on to new ridazz?
New ridazz should make friends with the old ridazz to get a sense of the fun you could have because it's easy to give up or not ride all the time.
If you were leading a group ride, what would you do differently?
We have led rides and it's a hard job, you are essentially in charge of peoples well being so it’s tough on all ends. If you lead a ride you should take that heavily for every one to have a good time.
Do you prefer small rides (30 or less people) or larger rides and why?
I like all sorts of rides the bigger the more protected and in small rides you have to be more of a solid group and watch everyones back more.. Though riding behind fixies is no fun, with the skids and swerving but they choose that bike, and it’s not great to ride that on group rides just like bmx’ers that jump all around you. I've seen a couple of accidents that were horrible with both types of bikes.
Tell us about the best and worst experience you’ve encountered on a group ride.
Best experience was going through Sixth into the river on the Tweed Ride. Finishing a Ride Arc, most Ride Arcs were the best adventures in bicycling I've had like going through the fwy part in Baldwin Hills, that was hairy but great at the same time and then on that ride when we got to the top of that Hahn Park was amazing. The best and the worst are one in the same for me. I get scared easy but conquering that fear feels even better. In bike riding and group rides it's facing that fear in the face that feels the most liberating.
What did you do for fun before you started “riding”?
I used to watch a lot of movies and read much more heavily. I still do a trillion things like sew and draw and make portable architecture and tree houses and volunteer at the Bike Oven but now I'm mixing bikes with it which makes it more fun. Luckily I found the oven and they let me venture and do whatever I want within reason. I get to show movies and have bike-in movies, I get to cook food for a bunch of people all the time and help have drawing classes and organize art shows, I have the choice to make it unpretentious and bring art to a level that’s real. Soon I'll have a class on making messenger bags and making suitcase panniers. Me and Chicken hand make the sweaters and t-shirts at the oven. It's great to have a place that supports activity and lets me broaden the biking scene in so many ways.
If you can name 1 person who embodies the spirit of “Midnight Ridazz”, Who would it be and Why?
The person that personifies Midnight Ridazz would be Roadblock, it's his baby which he expanded because there was Bike Boom with Lars but Lars got busy and Roadblock has been on it, continuing this journey. I do like the road trips and wish I had more time for that because the Salton Sea first year was amazing.
What do you think the public’s perception is of group bike rides?
It doesn’t really matter what cars think. I'm a car a lot of the time. My Karmann Ghia is my baby. I give people space. People's perception of life is lame imagine bikes, we'll they really don’t care. LA is a me me town but biking turns it all around and makes it a me and you and everybody town. Riding a bike really makes you examine how fragile you are and cars are slowly getting that point too.