Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Second Annual All City Toy Ride

All City Toy Ride Photos: Flickr Set (65 photos)

In what has become an annual event, this being the second year, the Midnight Ridazz community donates toys to under privileged children. Delivered by bicycles to a central location in East LA, with riders in groups from all parts of LA planning their own routes. Masses from The West Side, Hollywood, The Valley, Pasadena, Downtown and Long Beach were represented. It was a magical evening that brought together people from all over LA for a good cause, and in typical Ridazz fashion was concluded with a big after party.

All City Toy Ride

All City Toy Ride
(The little guy with the two vertical eyes was my contribution to the Holiday good will.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Santa Monica Critical Mass: December

Santa Monica Critical Mass December

Critical Mass in Santa Monica this month, was again tailed by police using selective enforcement of the law, giving citations for things ignored in other contexts or given as warnings.

Santa Monica Critical Mass December

Apparently less police force then last months ride & far fewer citations, although some believe that had more to do with a SMPD Christmas party that night then an effort to ease up the crack down. This is in fact a crack down, in the words of our mayor, who was interviewed by Fox news, which covered this months ride along with several other news stations.

Santa Monica Critical Mass December

Although I am a Santa Monica local I never made it out to SMCM in the past due to it conflicting with Ride-Arc, an architecturally focused ride, usually starting downtown that I was attending regularly. When I heard about the political situation brewing back home though, I wanted to come out to represent and also to see for my self what the fuss was about.

Santa Monica Critical Mass December
(She received a citation for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign, and a warning for being under 18 without a helmet. Seen here being interviewed by TV news after the ticket was given)

As someone who has been on many mass rides now, and read up on some of the history of the critical mass movement, I was shocked at the police attention to such a tame group. Santa Monica critical mass is so peace loving compared to any mass ride I'd ever been on, or any of the Critical Mass rides I'd read about in other cities. They stay in one lane, stop at reds without corking, let cars through at stop signs, and the route for the most parts did not follow busy streets.

Santa Monica Critical Mass December
(citation for "lack of forward facing lights" of which the rider had two, seen glowing on his fork)

The mayor apparently feels it is an effective use of our tax money to use the police force and clog the judicial system, in his political agenda to squash this group bike ride. A ride that has now existed for several years and done so peacefully. Why it has become such an agenda is not entirely clear, and seems to run counter to Santa Monica's supposed environmental leadership and efforts to reduce car commuting, which clogs our city far more then any bike ride can.

Santa Monica Critical Mass December
(Santa was apparently riding to far to left. SMPD seen here spreading the holiday cheer)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

My First Wolfpack Hustle

(Image from wolfpackhustle.com)

Pictured here is the gentleman responsible for last nights ride, known affectionately as Super Cole. He's been riding Wolfpack for 52 weeks straight, and as such this ride was in his honor. The mustache makes him more aero.

Was a fun ride with a lot of intensity, averaging 19.5 mph for 44 miles. Click for ride data from my bike computer.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Team Midnight Ridazz

Yes, Midnight Ridazz has formed a team for AIDS Life Cycle, with 9 officially registered and more expecting to join soon. Somehow I became nominated to be captain of this crew on this crazy voyage of epic cycling and fundraising. It will be 545 miles of cycling euphoria, and of course there will be some pain and suffering too, but come next summer, we'll be ready for it. WooOOoo00oo!!!


We had our first ride together at the official ALC kick off ride at the end of October, which featured an awesome 5 mile hill climb up La Tuna Canyon on the advanced course. Everyone seemed to be doing really well and I think we're all off to a good start. As we slowly progress closer to the ride date (next June), we'll ramp up training to longer and more challenging routes.

If you're feeling charitable, and would like to support a good cause, and our team's effort, we are graciously accepting donations through our official Team Midnight Ridazz Webpage. We each need to raise $2500 by next June, and every little bit can make a difference. We're also interested in seeking sponsorship from businesses and are intending to produce team jerseys and sell space for logos.

Currently we are exchanging ideas for fundraising special events, and as we work out the details I'll keep you all posted.


For more information about ALC, what the ride is like, and how their fund raising money is used check out their site. AIDS Life Cycle

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Halloween Ride

Halloween weekend descended upon Los Angeles and lots of merriment and costumes on bicycles ensued Downtown Friday evening. I dressed up as Little Red Riding Hood and I dressed my bike as the wolf. It was my first time in public dressed as woman, and it was a little unsettling how well the costume worked. Even some people I ride with every week had to take two or three takes before realizing it was me. Hope none of them had impure thoughts...

Red Riding Hood Takes Pictures (Halloween Ride Photos)


Halloween Ride

Halloween Ride

Halloween Ride

Halloween Ride

Halloween Ride

Halloween Ride

Halloween Ride

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Reflecting on my Independence Day Weekend.

This last weekend was the most exciting time I've had for a fourth of July ever. It's not usually a holiday I really get into, but I got two days off from work, took an extra day off and had a five day stretch. I ended up participating in a different group bike ride each of those five days, doing in total I think close to 180 - 200 miles.

The first day being on the 4th, was a critical mass gathering of a couple hundred bicyclists, taking over the streets riding from Santa Monica to the Venice side of Marina del Rey for the big fireworks show. Of note was a guy out there with barbecue on the rear rack of his bike, with coolers hanging on each side, and he started cooking food at the after party. The party was a lot of fun, with music, dancing and people lighting fireworks. Some of us also went down to hang out the beach afterward, a few even swimming, as the water is warm enough for that at night now.

The second day I went out to my second Cubcamp, a fast pace group of riders that goes out every Thursday night, and on Tuesday nights they have Cubscouts ride, scouting the route for Cubcamp. They were doing a practice ride for the All City Team Race East to the Beach, an underground street race hosted by the Wolfpack Hustle. This involved going from east Hollywood to Dockweiler beach as fast as possible the whole way, and trying to keep a paceline formation going. I've never riden that fast for such a sustained length of time before, it was certainly grueling, but also exciting.

On friday, was the second anniversary of the monthly Ride-Arc, a group ride hosted by students of SCI-Arc university. Each ride has a theme, and is led through different parts of Los Angeles stopping along the way to discuss architectural trends and history at the architecture being discussed. Bikes are a pretty ideal way to do this as you are able to cruise slow enough to appreciate your soundings,unlike cars, but able to cover far more ground then walking. It was an eye opening experience and I had an amazing time, I'll write more about this ride in a future post accompanied by photos I took from the event.

On saturday I joined the "Pier Pressure" ride because everybody is doing it. It was a more casual paced ride starting at the Santa Monica Pier and cruising toward Venice in search of the 7-11 that had been converted to a Kwik-E-Mart for the Simpsons movie promotion. Was a fun little ride, and I learned some new little routes cutting through Venice. I also got my self a Squishee and a hyperactive pink cartoon style donut, the most junk food I've had in months. I didn't finish the Squishee though, it was pretty overrated I felt. Afterwards a couple of the riders went out to see a gallery opening in Culver City so I joined them for that, and the day became an all day sort bike ride adventure.

On sunday morning I joined the West L.A. Cycling Club, which I've been doing for a couple weeks now, for their up the coast from the Marina area to Palos Verdes ride. They are a friendly group of folks, and the ride is about 35 miles (plus my miles getting to the start and getting home) with a little climbing. For how crazy I've gotten though, this has become my wind down for the week ride, and the route is ideal for a chill pace and chatting part of the way. The coast is always nice, and as usual gorgeous weather.

After that it was off to Disneyland, as my friend Sam had invited me to come with her and her boyfriend. They talked me into getting a season pass, which I agreed to if for no other reason then the photo opportunities. I find Disneyland to be an interesting intersection of American idealism and fantasy, consumerism and excess, technical innovation and imagination, as well as being a mixing pot of various demographics within America, and tourists from around the world. I'll be starting a Flickr set soon, with my Disneyland adventures.

Sunday was also the day the street race mentioned earlier was happening, and I found out the Cubs got third place in spite of a rider taking a nasty fall, causing a couple minutes to be lost. Apparently a car pulled out suddenly forcing one of the riders, Rich, to brake suddenly, and the rider behind him in the paceline, Annie, slammed into Rich's back tire and flew off the bike getting some road rash along the way. She got back up, made sure nothing was broken, and they went on to get third place, with apparently only 30 seconds between them and the first place team. Big props to the Cubs for pulling that off.

Then came Monday, and my weekend that I wished could just keep on going, finally came to an end. I met so many interesting people and had so much fun. This whole experience getting involved in the local bicycle scene, has given me a renewed appreciation for living in Los Angeles and taking advantage of what it has to offer. I look forward to more adventures in this big crazy city.

Most of these rides were found using the following links as resources:
midnightridazz
bikeboom

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Bicycle Block Party

I decided to check out the block party celebration for the closing of the Los Angeles run of the Bicycle Film Festival, and got my first taste of the bike street culture at the heart of downtown. Feeling a little tired from a hard week of riding, I wasn't up to ride out there the whole way, so I took a bus bike combo, not wanting to show up for a celebration of bicycles in a car. I'm also trying to do more trips I would otherwise use a car for by bike, the night before having gone to a birthday bash in La Brea all the way on bike, with a change of clothes in the trunk bag. It took a lot less time then I thought it would, and I ended up there sort of too early.

Back to talking about the bike block party; which was loaded with fun, games, people busting moves, tons of bikes parked everywhere (lots of fixies out there), vegan food and delicious home made lemonade. The little area at the corner of Melrose and Heliotrope where it was held, is a perfect spot for such an event, with Orange 20 Bikes (a shop specializing in urban & commuter bikes) and Bicycle Kitchen across the street (a do it your self bike shop that teaches people how to build their own bikes out of donated parts or make repairs to their own bike). It was a blast being out there, and I look forward to the festivals return to L.A. next year.

Orange 20

Skids Contest

Skids Contest

Foot Down Contest

Freestyle Session

Big props to the Bicycle Film Festival (which unfortunately I did not get a chance to see the films, but I'll grab a copy of the dvd when it releases), Orange 20 bikes, who hosted this shindig, and the Los Angeles Country Bicycle Coalition for supporting the L.A. run of the event (an organization of which I am now a card carrying member, and organizer for the L.A. River Ride mentioned a few posts back).