What’s your name (optional) and/or your Midnight Ridazz log-in name?
NEWARK, uncle newark, newarkhouse
How did you first hear about Midnight Ridazz and what was your first group bike ride?
A few years ago a friend moved to LA to do contract work and started sending me stories + videos of CRANK MOB. It looked absolutely insane and 1000x more fun than what I was doing in NY on the weekends. Almost everyone I knew talked shit about LA (just like Newark!) so I knew I had to get out here and check it out for myself
My first group ride was critical mass in New Brunswick, New Jersey in '06 but my first MR ride was technically Mim's Lucha Libre ride in Austin last year during SXSW.
To get even more technical my first ride with fellow Ridazz was NY's Halloween critical mass in '08. B-rad and Marcus had been staying at my warehouse after completing their cross country tour and I recognized Franz from the internet at the front of the pack and introduced myself in Times Square just before the NYPD roped off 7th Ave. and started issuing tickets. Later B-Rad and I evaded arrest on the Williamsburg Bridge en route to meet up with the rest of the NY Ridazz. We rode to a party in Bushwick but no one went in because there was a cover and we ended up hanging out in the street for several hours. I remember thinking "its cold and were gonna get tickets for open containers, why are we just standing around on the street corner?"... If only I had known. Nowadays I never go to bars/clubs and the only thing I've paid a cover for in LA over the past 6 months was Bike Porn.
My first proper MR ride in LA was 328 death of fun. I blacked out, tacoed my wheel and ended up passed out in Vandrew with several future friends. I only intended on staying in town for a few weeks, which turned into a few months. Now I've been here over a year. Its because of the compassion and generosity of my friends in this community (and the NY $tate department of labor) that I found a place to stay, bed to sleep on, freak bike workshop to freak out in and enough love to last a lifetime.
Currently what rides do you attend regularly and what ride(s) would you like to see make a comeback?
I mostly ride Westside Mosey, FMLY, RWNN, 2nd Friday and random Rabbit Hole rides.
Rides I'd like to see make a comeback are CRANK MOB, robo00tzz, C.R.A.N.K.M.O.B, bear calvary and CRANK FUCKING MOB
What advice would you pass on to new ridazz?
Introduce yourself. Smoke people out. Wear zany outfits/costumes. Wear a helmet. Make things and give them to fellow ridazz. Don’t get too drunk, you’re a danger to yourself and others. Go veg.
If you were leading a group ride, what would you do differently?
Let the kids paint! We are constantly subjected to repulsive billboards, video-boards(VOMIT!) and other forms of advertisement that I personally find offensive. If someone has the urge to write or draw on something during a ride, let them, its how they choose to interact with their environment and I enjoy the dirty scribbles and tags way more than the aforementioned blights. Those poster teams don't sleep, we may as well make the most of our time on the town. LA has a rich history of street art and we should be celebrating the cross pollination of subcultures in this city, not condemning it.
Also - fucking staying right. I understand why we do it. I do it. I yell at people to do it, but I view it as nothing more than automobile appeasement - how far right should we go before they're happy? Onto the sidewalk? Riding in the gutter is no fun, and neither is getting doored. We ARE traffic and have every right to take a full lane or two. A group of Ridazz taking both lanes is the same as several slow cars in each - if a car really needs to get somewhere THAT fast, they should take a different street, it’s not like there's a shortage of them.
Do you prefer small rides (30 or less people) or larger rides and why?
What's happening right now with group rides in LA isn't happening anywhere else in the world. Big or small, riding your bike with friends is an awesome time - I think people forget this in their never ending quest for something more fun. But I moved here because of Crank Mob…whether its a couple hundred or a few thousand, large rides are my hot hot sexxx. I crave the chaos; the police helicopters, the drunk 15 year olds on brakeless converted singlespeeds too drunk to ride straight…a sea of blinking lights 10 blocks long leaving graffiti, broken bones and bewildered motorists in its wake.
Tell us about the best and worst experience you’ve encountered on a group ride.
Best- too many too remember. Solstice ride in Portland last year stands out though- rode to the tallest point in Portland (PDX riders telling us to be quiet as we rode through residential neighborhoods what!?) where a married couple reaffirmed their vows as LA ridazz watched from a cuddle puddle, Syoma went missing on the way down the hill on a brakeless polo bike he was borrowing cause his fixie was stolen. It still makes me smile when I think about hearing his voice call out my name before appearing from some dark stoop off of Burnside bridge, wearing a yellow wig and missing half of a shoe from foot braking. Some bum tried to touch him sexually while he was passed out.
Crank Mob two year anny was super fun as well. I loved that I had friends and friends of friends flying into LA for one night so they could be part of that infamous ride.
Worst- Thank you to anyone who has ever shared a pump, tube, tool or directions with me, its because of your kindness that I can honestly say I've never had a bad time on a ride.
What did you do for fun before you started “riding”?
Same ol skeeze- smoke, draw, shoot, urban exploration.
In Newark/NewYork I rode my bike to clubs to see DJs/electronic music. Now I ride my bike behind Jonny's sound bike- way more fun, although I do miss the women...
What’s the best and worst thing group bike rides have done for cycling as a whole in Los Angeles?
Best - gotten more people on bikes, gotten drivers used to seeing cyclists on the road.
Worst- the growing number of murders as a result of the ongoing eastside vs westside rivalry.
If you can name one person who embodies the spirit of “Midnight Ridazz”, Who would it be and Why?
Tie between Jonnyboy and Fuzzbeast.
Jonny constantly puts his home, heart, skills, wallet, time and bikes out there for the benefit of his friends and the community. Whether he's leading the Westside Mosey, making some mean pancakes, letting myself and others use his sewing machine, washing machine, hot tub or couch, I don't think I would even still be in LA if it wasn't for his incredible hospitality and kindness.
When I think 'bike life' I think of Fuzz. He is a constant source of inspiration, ideas and bike repair knowledge. He always has the tool you need or an interesting bike-related anecdote to entertain you with. I’ve lost track of how many freak bikes he’s built, he (along with Larsen and Paul) helped me build my tall bike and has helped many others create some freaky bikes. Ride leader, quesadilla conquistador and San Pedro cactus aficionado, he proudly swears no allegiance to any side of the city and is just so big and covered in bike tattoos that it makes me want to give him a hug just writing this.
What do you think the public’s perception is of group bike rides?
Don't know/don't care.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?