What’s your name (optional) and/or your Midnight Ridazz log-in name?
Sam, superblueman3. I prefer to be called by my actual name in real life but I fear everyone has begun to know me as superblueman........
How did you first hear about Midnight Ridazz and what was your first group bike ride?
I've had a few different first-time exposures to this wonderful community before actually joining. The first place I heard about it was in the LA Times, I've been an avid bicyclist for years, and my mom found an article about huge groups that ride bikes in the middle of the night and take over the street. This idea sounded so awesome to me, but seeing as how young I was (I think I was still in middle school.....) there was no way I'd be able to go out and be a part of them yet.
Fast forward maybe 6-12 months (I'm not sure) and I was in Pan Pacific Park at around 10:30 PM hanging out with my best friend at the time. We had been hearing a lot of police sirens, when out of nowhere, the ambience of techno music came over the air..... and before you know it, I see a sea of blinking lights emerging from the top of the hill in the park. Then hundreds of bicyclists appeared, and got together at the bottom of the park, where they all began just hanging out and having a good time listening to good music (when Radiohead came on the speakers, I knew I'd be hooked). This is now where I lead my own ride on some Saturdays, “THE NEW RIDE”.
The first group ride I did was a little thing called "Catch Me If You Can” in the beginning of August 2009. It was a crappy day ride with a support truck and shitty rappers with ski masks performing at every stop, although it had a large amount of riders and gave me my first group experience. I came on that ride because I had seen a flyer for it in a bike shop on Melrose, and the website midnightridazz.com was on the paper. The rest is history.
That night, after catch me if you can, I did a REAL night ride, the nocturnal cyclists. This is what I consider to be my first MR ride, and I had an amazing time. I went with one friend, and the first thing that happened was a guy named Mike (you may know him as Busride) comes up to me, introduces me to the scene, and gives me a free tall can of Tecate. I asked where we were going, and somebody said "PASADENA!!!!". I almost freaked out, I'd never been anywhere near the far and didn't know the area at all. but I stayed with group, ended up sleeping at my friend's dad's house in Monrovia and didn't get home till 12:30 the next afternoon. I'll never forget that night.
Currently what rides do you attend regularly and what ride(s) would you like to see make a comeback?
I attend most large Friday and Saturday night rides, as many mom ridaz rides as I can, and any other rides where I have nothing to do the next day. I love Taco Tuesday and most of the westside rides, seeing as how that is where I usually stay.
No rides need comebacks, they left their legacies and new rides will begin to pick up from where they left off, continuing the cycle.
What advice would you pass on to new ridazz?
Don’t think you're invincible. Many people, when they first go on a group ride, are overwhelmed by the amount of people and the ability to basically do whatever they want without getting caught or in trouble by police. This involves stealing en masse from stores, tagging, fucking with motorists, yelling "fuck the police", etc..My biggest pet peeve is when I see rides that advertise "lets show these cars who really own the streets." We ALL own the streets, and that's why we need to share them adequately and fairly.
If you were leading a group ride, what would you do differently?
I do lead group rides, and what I do differently is I try to route the rides on more interesting neighborhood streets, and intricately design the routes for maximum fun. I spend on average about 2.5-3 hours planning my routes out, and much much more when I have to scout the routes.
Do you prefer small rides (30 or less people) or larger rides and why?
This is a tough question. I LOVE the intimacy of smaller rides. I enjoy very much when there's only 15-30 people and I get to know everyone. However, on larger rides there's so much more adrenaline going, and it's a totally different experience. However, large rides usually end up being a clusterfuck of too many people doing whatever they want, which makes them IMPOSSIBLE to lead. I hate when large rides get broken and split up into different groups, and this only happens on large rides.
Tell us about the best and worst experience you’ve encountered on a group ride. I don’t necessarily assign "best" or "worst" to experiences, however, the worst times always involve accidents. One of these happened on my ride to a kid riding fixie brakeless without toe clips on a steep hill and he flew over the handlebars and landed on his head.
WEAR FUCKING HELMETS, KIDS! THEY DONT LOOK STUPID!!!
Anyway, the police immediately arrived and we had no choice but to leave this poor kid with the ambulance. He was so fucked up (whether it was from the alcohol or just trauma) that he didn't know where he was or what day it was. I really wish this fucking fixie trend would be over already.
Every ride where all my friends are out and I have a good time is the "best" experience for me.
What did you do for fun before you started “riding”?
Rode by myself, hung out with my high school friends and smoked pot all the time. Not really very productive, and pretty unhealthy lifestyle. I still smoke as much, but now I get massive exercise in too :]
What’s the best and worst thing group bike rides have done for cycling as a whole in Los Angeles?
The best thing is to give the Los Angeles bicycle culture a center, a place where we all congregate and can get to know each other, go to rides, and plan our own rides. Without this community, I don’t know what my life would be like right now.
The worst is that it has given an outlet for wanna-be gangbangers and kids who just wanna cause trouble and do illegal things just because they can. It's sad because they usually get away with it too. I wish we could have MR police that "arrest" (basically ban from the ride) kids who do things that don’t belong on rides.
If you can name 1 person who embodies the spirit of “Midnight Ridazz”, Who would it be and Why?
Every single rider embodies the spirit of MR because we are all what makes this community. Every single individual adds something to us, whether it be their ride, their music system and style, their views, or their personalities, we are all one.
What do you think the public’s perception is of group bike rides?
eh. I've talked to many people who have experienced group rides from their cars, and many give mixed views. None of them enjoy the waiting, but some of them enjoy the novelty of a flash mob appearing out of nowhere. The worst is when bikers hit cars stopped in traffic or purposely try to annoy drivers. THESE drivers hate us. THESE are the drivers who try to run individual cyclists off the road when they're all alone......
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
come to the “NEW RIDE”!!! Pan Pacific Park on Saturday nights! Check the ride calendar for more info.