What’s your name (optional) and/or your Midnight Ridazz log-in name?
FuzzBeast, or Fuzz; there's more people on this planet that know me by that moniker than there are that know me by my real name.
How did you first hear about Midnight Ridazz and what was your first group bike ride?
My first group ride would probably be either a mountain bike festival in the mid-90s, or if that doesn't count, then Boston Critical Mass in October of 1999, in which I rode 1/2 a mile, got a flat and got lost. In LA my first group ride was Long Beach Critical Mass, I moved here right when LACM was moving it's start point, and it wasn't posted on the CM website. So I hopped the bus to the Blue Line, and rode LBCM. That night I heard about Midnight Ridazz, and I ended up at the next Cruzz With Us ride (not the one the next day, I had to work - yeah I had a job at that point, so it was a month later) which was the 50s Ride.
Currently what rides do you attend regularly and what ride(s) would you like to see make a comeback?
Currently I've been riding a lot of rides on the west side, as I happen to be living out there, I also am very active in Los Angelopes. To be honest, I'd like to see the second Friday rides make a comeback. The last few haven't been that amazing, well at least in comparison. They haven't even come close to the awesomeness of rides like The Clown Ride, The Warriors Ride and some of the others. I'd like to see more of an effort to make the second Friday rides all-city rides. We have plenty of rides that take place in a neighborhood, but it really would be an opportunity every month to bring the entire scene together; that's one of the things that makes the Toy Ride so great. Once a month, to bring L.A. together would be pretty rad. I'd also like to see the format of the rides played with more. The Warriors Ride and The Mother of All Rides were a great example. Swarm the Pier as well. Rides that don't just meander around the city for a while, but rides with a goal, you know, find the target ride, journey across the city, or maybe seek out places to go that are new and different. This is what made Robotz so great. That is another ride I would love to see come back. The real nice thing about Rogue Ride and Robots was the willingness to seek out new places and sites to bring rides.
I'd also like to see the Wolfpack Drag Races happen again. Those are definitely pretty awesome.
What advice would you pass on to new ridazz?
I'd say, if you're coming to a ride, bring the tools you need to keep your bike running - the shit to fix a flat: patches, tubes, levers, wrench and a pump of some sort, at the very least. Also, having brakes is a good thing if you are new to riding, or if you're on a freewheel. Brakeless freewheel is just a DUMB idea.
Other things you should know:
Your alcohol tolerance. Don't get so shitfaced you cannot ride.
How to hold your line. This is one of the most important things. Maintain a straight line, watch yourself on downhills and corners, and for heaven's sake, know how to bring your bike to a SAFE stop.
Clean up after yourself. Litter gives us a bad name. So does tagging. Much of the space we use is not ours; treat it with respect so we can use it again.
Keep your speed reasonable. On most rides this means like 12 mph. It's a party parade, not a race. If you want to go fast, show up at Tangs at 10 on a Monday night and prove yourself.
If you were leading a group ride, what would you do differently?
Well, having led many rides, one thing is don't pressure people. Let them have fun; trying to run a ride to some sort of itinerary is kind of pointless. We're there to have fun; we've got all night. Sure, if a stop starts to drag on, which can happen, then it's fine to motivate people to move, but pressuring people to keep going too soon just irritates people. Give people time to relax on stops. Sure it's a bike ride, but the party, social, aspect of the ride is just as important as the riding part. If it was ONLY about riding, why not dress up in some lycra and go hustle with the roadies on Saturday morning by the beach, or even better, go Hustle on Monday nights.
Do you prefer small rides (30 people or less) or larger rides and why?
I like both. Large rides are awesome just because of their visibility and their impact on those who see them. Small rides are great because they're intimate, and a great time to get to know people. It's all about the feel of the ride. The attitude is key.
Tell us about the best and worst experience you’ve encountered on a group ride.
Best? There's been so many. Probably something to do with making the most amazing family I've ever had. That or professional-sized fireworks going off between the buildings of Century City on CRANK MOB as we rolled into the Beverly Hills Hilton to pick someone up from their high school prom.
Worst experience: Shit, I don't know. Probably the only weld I've ever broken on a freak bike, it was a factory weld, and being on the stem made it impossible to keep riding.
What did you do for fun before you started “riding”?
I've been riding as long as I can remember. It has always been what I've done for fun; having thousands of friends willing to do it with me just makes it that much better.
What’s the best and worst thing group bike rides have done for cycling as a whole in Los Angeles?
The best? Making cycling visible. Making it possible to use our "public" spaces for the enjoyment of people.
The worst? I dunno, maybe pissing off drivers, but if even one of those pissed off drivers dares to get out of their cars and try to see what we're about, it's totally worth it.
If you can name one person who embodies the spirit of Midnight Ridazz, who would it be and why?
Hmm, there's so many, and that spirit changes so often. To be honest, there is no one person, there are so many facets to the bike culture in L.A. that it's really impossible to say. There are subcultures inside our subculture at this point. There's the straight-up party people, there's the tricksters, the freak bike people, the Hustlers, you name it.
What do you think the public’s perception is of group bike rides?
It depends on the part of the public. Some are sympathetic, others hate our guts. Scale matters too. Big rides seem to bring out more ire, as people are stuck in their cars longer. Cars make people angry.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The bike culture in this city has grown so immensely since I started riding, it's amazing to see the lives it's changed. It's also interesting to see how much the scene has changed; in the small details, however in the large part, it's still the same. It will be really amazing to see where we all are in another five years.