I had my first Midnight Ridazz experience on Friday and it was great fun. I left my loft in Downtown at around 9:10 on my bike, heading down Los Angeles street and turning left on Sunset. After cresting one hill and then reaching the halfway point on a second one I was startled by a couple of riders coming up behind me. They turned out to be some cool folks who asked me if I was heading to Ridazz, which I obviously was so we rode together to the meeting spot on Sunset and Echo Park.
After being greeted by a nice woman in a motorcycle cop outfit and given a spoke card with the route, I hopped off my bike, took out my camera and took some shots of the crowd which consisted of several hundred people and bikes. I saw the cool folks from the Bicycle Kitchen who had helped me build my wheels and who were offering a floor pump. As I have a slow leak in my back tire I took them up on the offer, loaning my 15mm wrench and tire irons to a guy who had a flat, I kept an eye on the pump as a couple of other folks used it and made sure it got back to its rightful owner.
The mob took off right around 10PM and once the pump was reclaimed I put my tools away and started to ride. I made it up towards the front of the group and when we came to a busy intersection I helped by corking, chatting it up with a driver who wanted to know all about the ride and who promised to make it out next time.
After the last riders passed by I continued on for a few feet until I a guy on a mountain bike who had a flat so I stopped and asked him if he needed help, which he did so once again I lent out my tire irons and a couple folks from the Kitchen stopped and helped, one providing a pump, and one who had a whole collection of tubes. We got the rider moving again and and the five or six of us who were now pretty far from the group headed on down the route, until the mountain biker went flat again and we stopped and helped him.
At this point we were pretty damn far from the group, but we headed on again, riding through Downtown and the 2nd street tunnel. When we got to the Not a Cornfield there were some folks checking it out, I stopped and asked if they were ok, but they said they were just checking out the cornfield. I told them it was “Not A Cornfield” to which the replied “Fuck You, it is a corn field!” to which I retorted, “No Fuck You, it is Not A Cornfield,” eventually one of the girls told me, “Actually it’s an art project and is a corn field” and to which I replied, “Yes, and it is actually called ‘Not a Cornfield'” and then I rode off.
A couple hundred yards later I saw 4 people walking their bikes on the sidewalk and I asked if they needed help or tools. It turns out that they needed a chain tool, which my trusty Crank Brothers multi-tool had, so I turned around and stopped to help. They had been in a rather nasty crash and one of the girls had broken her chain and gouged a pretty deep cut under he chin. I took a look at it and as she opened up the wound I could tell it would need a stitch or two. I felt like a total idiot for leaving my trusty first aid kit at home and opting to bring my camera, next time I will bring both, but I told her to get some steri-strips which would work just as good as sutures and not to worry too much because it wasn’t bleeding. We popped a couple of snarled links off her chain and closed it back up and she was able to ride home with her friends.
I rode the rest of the route with a fellow on a semi-recumbant bike and then I finally made it to the end of the route and met up with Eric Richardson who had been there the whole time, but who’s path I failed to cross until the end. Eric was tired after riding over 30 miles before even getting to Ridazz. He watched my bike while I took some more photos and then we rode back to Downtown and parted ways at 6th and Spring. The ride was great fun and I can’t wait to do it again. Next time I’ll be sure to bring my first aid kit!