Riding a bike on the streets of LA is nuts

But not so much nuts in a big group at the right times:

“Conceived by 30-year-old graphic designer Kim Jensen — known by her outlaw-affecting Ridazz handle, Skull — during a late-night ride in Cambodia, Midnight Ridazz was inaugurated in L.A. on Feb. 27, 2004, when the Echo Park resident led five like-minded friends on bikes and two on skateboards on a rolling tour of downtown’s fountains. A sense of community and an almost liturgical fellowship was immediate, says Jensen, as was a consensus on where to take the nascent bicycle club: ‘We were all anti-establishment, creative and feeling a need for speed in a nonconformist format. We were really set on keeping it free and totally noncommercial.’

“In addition to wanting to keep Ridazz events free-spirited, Jensen and company wanted them to be fun. So, in diametrical distinction to the politically charged but leaderless Critical Mass, Jensen set the precedent of promoting festively themed outings late Friday nights, when auto traffic is svelte and mellow, along routes mapped out ahead of time to avoid narrow streets, freeway exits and left turns.”

~snip~

“That’s no exaggeration. Although a few dozen cyclists had joined the core group for that third event, the Belmont Tunnel “Mural Ride,” hundreds began appearing thereafter. Within a year, the group was regularly pushing 1,000. To accommodate the swelling horde, which could no longer pedal through a single light cycle en masse, Midnight Ridazz felt compelled to adopt an extralegal practice popularized by Critical Mass — ‘corking’ — whereby a few lead riders block an intersection so that cyclists who miss the green can stay with the pack.

“‘When we obey the lights,’ says Roadblock of the namesake move, ‘it’s even more chaotic because the traffic is just insane for blocks and blocks. I’ve talked to police officers about it, and they say, “Yeah, keep it together and just get through.” So that’s what we go on.'”
Midnight Ridazz are bound to keep on riding. In the heart of car culture, massive bike rides are hitting the streets. Should you admire them? Scorn them? Or join the pack? By Liam Gowing, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer, December 6, 2007

Ah. Sometimes I really love my town.

(Just don’t try this in Beverly Hills, they hate cyclists over there.)

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