Saturday, February 11

It Was The Best Of Rides, It Was The Worst Of Rides

Depending on who you spoke to, last night's Midnight Ridazz was comprised of anywhere from 500 to 1,000 cyclists. Certainly it was the biggest turnout I've seen (although I'm not one to judge really, what with this just being my third).

Last night's was as invigorating a trip as my previous two — I even volunteered to cork up traffic at a couple intersections. But the 20-mile route, which brought us up to invade Glendale and its popular Galleria before coming back down through Silver Lake and across Echo Park to climb up Stadium Way and deep into Elysian Park, was not without its low points.

First up, it was either a slow night for the Glendale PD, or the attending officers were just waaaaaaaay too smalltown uptight for anybody's liking. Several patrol cars lurked along our perimeter like sharks, and I heard they even brought a helicopter and its bazillion-candlepower high beam to the dance. Their message was loud and clear: Get The Fuck Out Of Our City. Have a nice evening officers.

Then came the spills. The first was south of the Silver Lake reservoir in which the rider in question emerged somewhat unsteady and incoherent after his unhelmeted head met the asphalt. Next came the telltale display of flashing red lights at the intersection of Echo Park and Sunset boulevards, in which another rider came into contact with a vehicle. He was already in the back of the LAFD paramedic vehicle and I assume was transported to an area hospital for treatment. My hopes to both fallen cyclists are for minor injuries and speedy recoveries.

For me at least, the remainder of the ride climbing up Stadium Way and into Elysian Park was done with dampened enthusiasm, and the damper air and fog blurred out what otherwise would have been a marvelous view from the vista point of the Peter Shire sculpture up the hiking trail from Academy Road.

UPDATE: Check out Stephen Roullier's excellent photo set of pix from the ride.

35 comments:

Placid Casual said...

There's a brief account of the car vs. bike accident here.

Yeah, you bet your ass there was a PD helicopter in Glendale. It shined its "night sun" on the ride a few times. I waved. Plus an "undercover" sporty-type vehicle with the blue and red lights on the dashboard, whose occupants got out and started harrassing a few ridazz for, I don't know, something. Which, of course, caused people to stop (either to gawk, protest, whip out video cameras, or just see if it was anybody they knew being harrassed). Which just blocked traffic even more, and made it take longer for the ride to leave Glendale. I guess they don't hire 'em for their brains.

Anonymous said...

man that was fun :)

Anonymous said...

What a blast. And I loved the fog. It was kind of magical riding through the park at 1:00 am.

Here's a link to some photos of the ride that I took.

Peace

http://ReallyNeed.smugmug.com/gallery/886847/1/55956251

Anonymous said...

Anybody got any updates on the guy who got hit?

fish-e said...

The cop shadow has been way heavier on past rides - remember the Theater ride? Ridazz forever and Ridazz rocks, it was a blast but I find it ironic that we ride in these large groups with some desire for achieving compassion and support from motorists, all the while violating every traffic law in the books. How are we supposed to gain respect riding alone or in small groups when as Ridazz we; don’t wear helmets (the chick who faceplanted was lid-less), run every stop light, go against traffic, ride through businesses, take up two or three lanes of the road, throw trash as we ride, flaunt the open container law and pick fights with cars because we find false security in numbers? Ridazz is fun, but some riders are foolish. Godspeed to the poor guy who took on the Merc and lost. To all the newly-fixed who learned to ride yesterday, please go practice. And to the dude on the 'coolest bike there' trackie who tossed his empty bag of 40's after the traintracks - shame on you.

Anonymous said...

I was riding at the front of the pack before the cops started messing with us. It was quite a sight to see the TWO GD patrol cars get caught in the parking lot. They tried pulling a fast one and getting in front of the Ridazz just to get caught and blocked.

Central said...

I also was just a few minutes/secs from the car vs bike accident. The fellow was moving his upper body, I saw NO lower body movement the 5-10 minutes or so that i was there.
Hope he recovers fine.

Funny thing was, the little old Philipina lady tried getting in her car and taking off. Looked like a hand full of riders started yelling at here, pulled her out and sat her on the curb.

fish-e said...

Suggestions for spokecards – Ridazz

These are some simple ideas polled from a number of experienced century and stage race Ridazz.

1- Note the stopping points on the route, on the card, or don’t stop. If you’re gonna have a group pitstop, stop before the parkinglot, intersection or track crossing, not in it.
2- Post some simple code of conduct guidelines on the back of the card:
No Littering. NO LITTERING.
Collectively take only one lane.
Be aware of Ridazz around you.
Roll traffic signals at your own risk.
No kooks, no fights, have fun.

We suggest that this could benefit future Midnight Ridazz rides. We’d also suggest that when the group is over 100 strong and gapped out, that the traffic stops be broken to allow motor traffic to flow through while the second group of Ridazz catch up. Then run the break again and everyone in group 2 gets across safely.
From the description of the Echo Pk. Blvd. accident on Bike Forum, that same type of incident happened at least three other times that we saw – where I driver just ran the break. Fortunately no one was hit in any of those. In many intersections there was no Rida creating a break, and people were not rolling tight enough together for impatient drivers to not think they could find a hole.

Anonymous said...

This was my favorite ride yet!

The more ridazz you get, the more incidences. That's just the nature of the beast. The bigger the party, the bigger the chances of trouble. Of the hundreds that showed for this ride, a small percentage caused trouble...

I witnessed about five bike related crashes. I was in one of them. I also saw us being HARRASSED by the police. We have full use of the road, period. Forcing us into single file or as the Cop in the Pursuit Car demanded "Move to the LEFT or I'm going to start grabbing people" is plain WRONG. There were several tickets handed out for who knows what. I saw someone getting ticketed at the start point, AFTER the ride. I also came up on the accident on Sunset and Echo Park.

We're not riding to gain compassion or sympathy from the public, we're riding to get attention and respect. Bike riders are not going to be bullied.
---

I would like to know who got tickets, or arrested, this last Friday. I would like to call out now, for contributions to help fund and pay for some of these tickets. Not for the ones being stupid, you are on your own, just the ones that were victimized because they were either too slow, or too intimidated to move away from the cops.

thereverend

Central said...

Haha, i want to just say i was involved in an bike vs bike accident too! And thanks to that fellow biker who chased me down to give me my water bottle back!

Thanks!

fish-e said...

hey rev, right on. i'll back the legal defense fund - let us know what you find on this thread and how to contribute. in the end, it's an anarchistic action and should stay that way; when i see people getting hurt/arrested, my pragmatic mind kicks into gear -from time to time my job involves keeping people safe , so it's an autopilot response to make the suggestions i've posted here. in the main, i agree with your sermon - more ridazz = more chance for 'situations', c'est la vie. onward and yes let's help those who got nicked.

Roullier said...

Looks like you stirred it up with this one, Will, so I thought I’d weigh in with my 2 cents. I won’t argue the merits of corking, using all lanes or other confrontational tactics, but I know that littering is just plain unnecessary & wrong. I’m out to have a good time and make a pro-bike statement, but I have no desire to end my ride in the back of an ambulance or police car. On a more philosophical note, I know that nothing stays the same forever; I’ve got the photos to prove that. Being as I am a geezer by Ridazz standards, I’ve seen more than a few scenes come and go; they all change. Perhaps because of this I value what we have here & now; this isn’t something that comes along every day. I’ve been a part of Midnight Ridazz for the last 6 months (longer than some, far less than some others) and in that time it has meant more to me than I can hope to express here. Draw your own conclusions, but don’t blow it, for yourself or anybody else who cares. Excuse my melodrama . . .

Will said...

Well, I hope I stirred things up positively, at least in the sense of expanding the dialogue.

But on the negative tip, any litterpunks on the rides I've been on are very fortunate they haven't pitched in my presence because I would fucking ride alongside shaming them for being being such eco-dicks. I can deal with the bozos and the inexperienced who put themselves and other riders at risk with their antics, but I wouldn't be able to stand seeing someone dumping trash during a ride.

N.I.C. said...

Just ride and shut-up...

Why B*itch about what goes on during the ride? For many its a chance to unleash some real problems that inner-city people feel. All your complaining stems from the same moral weakness that gets the Glendale police to harass people on bikes.

The only rule that should apply is to have fun for a night...all you moral watch-dogs can put your actions to the test and clean up my mess.

growing up in the city teaches you that it is not designed for its people. try going somewhere just to hang out and see how much money people have to put up just to chill-out. One-night we take back the streets and simply say, "f*ck what we've created, the city is ours, we deserve to ride."

I'll agree that there is a kind of contradicition in trashing your own city...but thats not why most people do it. Alot of cats are tired of growing up being discrimated at and being told how to conduct themselves in a city that they cant really enjoy. You want us to take care of something that doesnt care about us? You want us to respect Glendale, when its full of rascist police? The least we can do is piss on their streets and you can, since you're so concerned, run up to put your water bottle in place to protect your beloved land.

The point is that we shouldnt fear ruining anything. The idea that we could ruin this serves my point.

No money, no rules, just fun and relationships. I mean seriously...how many people show up and honestly know how to ride on the streets? Theres no assumed moral code, but people seem to get along and do fine. yet, thats not good enough...

Those jerks who you claim are trouble-makers will be the first to back your sorry-ass up when some driver gives you problems or anyone else for that matter. You need everyone thats shows up and you need to support them. Some of the craziest cats out there are responsible for making this shit happen. I want to see some of you thanking these guys when your back is against the wall...or maybe you'll just call those guys in blue.

If there were some real moral issues involved, Id take this back, but you guys are just nit-picking...

At least some people are willing to show that they dont really give a f*uck...most of you cats think you care and its usually a good laugh to hear you list your good-deeds.

I dare you to start shaming people...look, Judge Judy, put your robe in the closet and let people ride. Your recycled thoughts wont save anything.

Will said...

Interesting point of view, N.I.C. Illogical, warped, anarchic, pathetic, and borderline sociopathic... but interesting. And thanks for the self-righteous "growing up in the city teaches me to be a D.I.C." lesson.

Ride on.

Theodore said...

Soooo....you throw trash in the street to see if other people will pick it up? Really?...Wow.

IMBG said...

Eh, don't worry about it. Remember that it takes all kinds...and "unbelievably fucking stupid" is a kind, too. Most people are receptive to reasonable suggestions, so keep them coming.

fish-e said...

wow, I feel so enlightened. I had no idea littering was actually an act of civil disobedience. I'll try to remember that the next time I have to swerve around a bunch of broken glass.

Anonymous said...

Willard

No lesson intended, we already know youre a dick:

"I would fucking ride alongside shaming them for being being such eco-dicks."

but I find this more entertaining:

"I can deal with the bozos and the inexperienced who put themselves and other riders at risk with their antics, but I wouldn't be able to stand seeing someone dumping trash during a ride."

Its good to know we're both certified D.I.C.'s, but I think you have me beat...I just wanted the complaining to stop...you have a passion for trash. Moreover, you are more angered over garbage than a persons well-being...

I wont dabble in comparing my illogical, warped, and borderline sociopathic comments to yours, but you do seem borderline b*itch.

"I would fucking ride alongside shaming them..."--SHAMING...wow...scary dude. Start riding your bike with the seat on...maybe you'll lighten up.

Who else would complain and care about trash so much? Oh and yeah I agree, I usually feel so fearful around broken glass...maybe I'll get cut or worse yet--"swerve".

Look, before you guys start getting to familiar with the bottles you collect...settle down and just enjoy the rides.

Should people litter? NO. But dont worry things will be okay...and just let us litterpunks do our thing...while you recycle freaks can waste your time polluting just as much in order to recycle all your crap.

Is littering civil disobedience? If it is, its kind of weak. My point wasnt about littering as much as it was about people caring about others being so "unbelievably fucking stupid"...Leave people alone at least for the ride and stop finding shit to complain about...thats my point.

N.I.C.

Will said...

N.I.C. howsabout you take your own advice and "STOP FINDING SHIT TO COMPLAIN ABOUT" or at least do me a favor and try harder to get me to take your stale punkrock bullshit personally, OK? Can you do that for me speedbump? I'd be much more inclined to continue the discourse with someone who isn't afraid to use their real name. Otherwise you're just another blowhard anony-mouse that's 12 times the bitch I am.

Anonymous said...

I knew Id be able to prove that you were no different than those you complained about...a little violent arent we?

Now what about beng illogical? Lets see...Trash makes you crazy...and anonymous bloggers get you angered.

I think its time someting with substance causes some distress in your life. Bloggers could be a 15 yr old??? or 30??? Or not even someone from the states...Im mean how serious can you take this?

so dont take blogs personally. You have enough trash on your plate.

However I think the whole "blowhard anony-mouse" shows how serious this shit is to you. What the hell is that? "anony-mouse" is that blogger slang? Get real, man, I think you need to sit back at laugh at this shit, just as I have been.

"Speedbump" that actually impressed me...i feared you didnt have a sense of humor. And see I do have fears...Im not as anarchic as you thought. I might even by on our city-council.

by the way my name is Nic...

or is it? See...I dont think of you as more or less of a bitch for using your name. By the way how do you figure theres "12 times" an increase in bitch-ness? Do you bloggers have some really cool calculator?

So if Im a first time blogger and I decide not to use my name, does that automaticly put me 12 times higher on the bitch-meter, than those that use a common name?

YOu see Im wondering about brave-ness. Does it make me more brave to put more information? Lets say I put my last name and phone number--am I less a bitch, now? What if I put a picture of my mother and my soon to be released from prison brother along with our address? How would I do on the bitch-o-meter?

Nah...were both smarter than that...why? because we both know that doesnt make someone brave, does it? Instead...its what?...yes--stupid! but thats just my illogical self, so dont take it personal.

Lets be peaceful...and stay angry at those that deserve our anger...THE MAN and the glendale police and who ever decides to cancel the Simpsons.

Anony-mouse (A.k.a. Speedbump)

Kimchi said...

Kimchi screams, "MIDNIGHT RIDAZZ!"

2 people mumble shut up. I hear another complaint in the background similar to many that have gotten onto this blog. People used to yell back "Ride On!", our motto.

When did this sort of anger land on our ride? Midnight ridazz began with 8 friends and when strangers started coming- we became friends-so who are you? Friend or foe? Now in a sea of 700 riders a SMALL FEW are trying to change things for the worst....good luck, I dare you! Ridazz is always perfect. Perfectly planned, perfectly free, perfectly offered by a group of close friends who want you to have a wonderful time. Thanks for coming out every month, we are stoked at the commitment to the cause but we need your support. Who are we, we are the ones pumping your tires, fixing your flats, corking traffic, riding safe----join us!

Hundreds of people had a wonderful experience this last month as they have for 2 years. Ridazz grew from eight to 100 in 5 months and then to 600 by one year as a result of bike LOVE. Some of the best rides have been: the mural tour, the stairmaster, E.T., Parlez Vous Ride, Death in December- the dead celebrity tour, the Nerd ride, THE STRIP RIDE! word up Too tall Jamall, and there are still more to come!

The Midnight Ridazz, are uneffected by the SMALL FEW who don't know how to ride in a group or handle their liquor. They, sadly, have fucked up their bikes or hurt themselve, get well soon. We grew to our amazing numbers without the help of them. This is a beautiful event because it is only what you make of it.

Welcome to Midnight Ridazz, a chance to share bikes WITH our city. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we kept growing the way we have, this has been through caring not destruction. We have the potential to grow into thousands of Ridazz in this city- wouldn't you like to feel safe on the streets on our fine ass ride every day? If this appeals to you, then YOU are a true Midnight Rida- and we, the organizers of this WONDERFUL PHENOMENA in the car capitol of the world say, RIDE ON!

This note is dedicated to the Bicycle Kitchen, boy do they know how to ride! Thanks for being there for us.

fireweed said...

RIDE ON!, KIM CHI FOREVER.

IT COULDN'T HAVE BEEN SAID BETTER NOWHERE. THANKS AND BIG UPS TO THE OG MOMMAS AND POPPAS.

XO

Anonymous said...

I like Glendale PD. They were corking intersections for us. They just wanted us to get out of their town. I said "thank you" to some Glendale Officers because they were doing their best to help us get through their town safely. Of course no one likes to see cops do bad things, and I don't doubt that there were some negative incidents with the Glendale PD that I didn't see. But I did see that the leader of the Glendale PD made a wise decision to tell officers not to try to stop us, instead to protect us at big intersections. They could have been worse. They could have chased us around and made us bike unsafely to get away from them.

One thing that concerned me was the account of police cars, which are emergency vehicles, being 'blocked' by bicyclists. I don't know if that is what the Ridazz are supposed to do. If my mom was getting murdered, and a police car couldn't get there in time, I'd feel a little angry at the bikes that were blocking it. Sure the sirens and the lights might have been used to intimidate us only, but how can we tell when a cop has to leave the gangbang to deal with something that has nothing to do with us? When the EMT went on the scene to help the accident at Echo Park and Sunset, I was relieved to see Ridazz getting out of the way of those lights and sirens.

Maybe Glendale PD could have loosened their belts a little and boogied down with the bicyclists if we weren't automatically their adversaries. The scene would be like a music video with the robotic, angular group dancing made popular by Paula Abdul.

What's funny about this is that I normally totally hate cops!

Two things to finish:
1. Why I go on Ridazz: That moment when you go down the first gentle grade and see a beautiful sea of lights blinking as far as the eye can see.
2. The following is an essay designed to express my confusion at the situation, and to stress that all viewpoints can be right and wrong. And that I love people:

It's a tough spot to be in, in some way benefiting from the 'system' and hating it too. How much fuel did I burn by using the electricity to power this blog entry?

Does fuel = the system? Fuel = CocaCola? CocaCola=Shopping? Shopping=Bad? Bad=System? Squirrel=Grape Nuts? Up With People=Up With People, or Up With People=CocaCola?

Thank you!

IMBG said...

Regarding the "shut up" mumblers: there's nothing you can do about insecure hipsters, for the time being anyway. They'll grow up someday. Or not. Kind of like bad-boy "punx" spouting cliches from before they were born and bragging about their stupid, destructive behavior. They'll grow up someday. Or not.

By all means, shame them, but don't let it get you down if you don't see a lightbulb immediately turn on over their heads. Wisdom doesn't come to most people that quickly. Better to spend your time praising and bonding with people who do get it. I saw many people like that on this last ride.

Will said...

Nic Nic Nickity Nic... Me violent? Dude, I'm just a big cuddly jolly gentle giant. If you see my rebuttals and unwillingness to back down from your rude attacks as aggressive then that's your ball to bounce. Personally I find it terrifically funny how you swing away at me with your comments like I'm a punching bag, yet somehow I'm the violent one.

Different strokes for different folks I guess.

There's absolutely nothing I can do about your readiness to draw incorrect assumptions about me, or your misguided belief that you've proven me to be something I'm not, so I'm not even going to bother trying and instead I'll totally cut to the chase and quit wasting this space and sign on to your suddenly surprising interest in bringing back some peace and quiet to this comment thread.

Anonymous said...

You guys are too much...if you take me serious. Im siting here wondering if some of you are seriously taking issue with the crap Ive wrote? I have no beef with Glendale police...I dont even venture into Glendale.

Moreover this is the first time Ive ever blogged anything and you guys jumped on my comments like we were having a symposium. Do I want peace? Sure...but in this blogger world, you have to ask if there is actually an "I" to want and whether there is such a think as peace on a comment page?

Its funny to me, period. And there doesnt seem to be much more that I can joke about with Willie and Im probably more embarrassed that I had a little bit of fun doing it.

I almost feel like I intruded into your land or something. if you like I'll type something different:

Will, I agree with you 100%, I think its disprespectful to other riders when people drop their cans (accidentally or purposely) while riding. Its dangerous and its unwarranted. I think people who are going to drink on the ride should put the cans in their bag and just wait for a trah bin to show up.

What do think? I could have gone this route.

Anyhow peace Will, have fun and keep riding...But my point still is:

The rides are fun and fine...no need for any change.

Peace...lets ride.

NIC

Theodore said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
IMBG said...

Ah...just having a laugh, were you, NIC? Glad to have been part of your evening's entertainment. Well done. Trolling the Internet is fun, isn't it? Almost as much fun as having real friends that you can call on the phone and do stuff with! Awesum, bro! Laterz!

mabell said...

ridazz is for lovers.

and watch how you use the word GAY "theodore".

fish-e said...

here's a link to the latest from our brothers and sisters on the eastern seaboard as they battle the man in an effort to run critical mass:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/16/nyregion/16critical.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

cyclists 1, city 0

Anonymous said...

Check out the video of the ride.

www.uutest.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

HAY ALL YOU NEWBIE MIDNIGHT RIDAZZ. ONE THING NOBODY SEEMS TO KNOW IS THAT IF ONE PERSON YELLS OUT "MIDNIGHT RIDAZZ" IT IS REQUIRED PROTOCOL FOR EVERYBODY THAT HEAR'S IT TO YELL BACK "RIDE ON!!" GET THAT THROUGH YA SKULLZ

Anonymous said...

AYE THE NEXT RIDE WILL BE MY RIDE. THE BLOW JOB RIDE!!

Anonymous said...

WTF??