What’s your name (optional) and/or your Midnight Ridazz log-in name?
Catherine, CatCampion, and now (as of OccupyLA) MamaCat
How did you first hear about Midnight Ridazz and what was your first group bike ride?
When I moved back to LA in 2005, one of the first things I did was find a forum (Bicycle Kitchen) and posted, "I just moved back here from bicycle-friendly Minneapolis. Where do I find other cyclists in this auto-focused town?" Jen Diamond was the first to respond, with an invite to a cyclists' Halloween party. Did my first group ride shortly thereafter - November, 2005 Midnight Ridazz. I don't recall what the theme was, but people were definitely costumed. I went almost every month through the winter and spring, and watched the ride grow in numbers as the temperature rose.
Currently what rides do you attend regularly and what ride(s) would you like to see make a comeback?
Most frequently: every-other Saturday Treats & Beats; occasionally: Midnight Ridazz, FMLY (wish these were more frequent!), Alter Ego, MoM Ridazz; once in a blue moon: Critical Mass, The Passage of a Few People Through a Rather Brief Moment in Time
Comeback? Bike Winter's Hot Chocolate Ride!
What advice would you pass on to new ridazz?
The same advice I was given riding in West Africa: Remain alert and behave as though every driver is trying to kill you ...and doesn't have insurance. Also, be kind to your fellow riders, as you never know when you might need them to bail you out. (See question about who embodies the spirit of MR, below...)
If you were leading a group ride, what would you do differently?
A lot of rides stop too frequently and for too long for my taste. I would prefer to put more group miles on my bike. At the same time, many rides are too rápido for my pushing-40 legs. I leave those rides for the young fellas...and meet them at the ride after party!
Do you prefer small rides (30 or less people) or larger rides and why?
Depends on my mood. I like frequent smaller rides - for more personal connection and camaraderie; and occasional huge rides, like CicLAvia - for inspiration and feeling connected to so many cycling souls in LA.
Tell us about the best and worst experience you’ve encountered on a group ride.
The two CicLAvias (so far) were, hands down, two of my greatest days in Los Angeles to date. I've never had a truly bad experience on a group ride.
What did you do for fun before you started “riding”?
Coming from Minneapolis, I've always been riding. I will say, the more I ride, the more I neglect my cello and my French and Spanish language studies.
What’s the best and worst thing group bike rides have done for cycling as a whole in Los Angeles?
They encourage people to get on their bikes and ride by reminding folks that cycling is a viable form of transportation...for all ages. However, some "bad behavior" on rides can lead to the general/non-cycling public to make generalizations about all of us.
If you can name 1 person who embodies the spirit of “Midnight Ridazz”, Who would it be and Why?
Bobby Gadda has come to my bicycle rescue on more than one occasion - including transporting me and my incapacitated Univega from Eagle Rock to Historic Filipinotown, on his extracycle, late one summer night. Add to that his tall bike, omnipresent 'stache & flamboyant costumery... He is a warm, wonderful, active part of furthering the cycling cause in this city. (Plus, he's a mighty-fine square dancing partner!)
What do you think the public’s perception is of group bike rides?
Mostly negative, unfortunately. Wait, I take that back. I see a lot of smiles on people's faces as we ride by, too. Let's call it a 50/50 split.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The photo of me stripping is from my July 4 underwear ride, "Freedom From Pants," for which I return to MN annually, and of which I am quite proud.