L.A.’s Midnight Ridazz set to “swarm” Portland

Posted by on August 13th, 2007 at 10:17 am

Coming to Portland this weekend.

A “Zeppelin of Love” full of fun-seeking cyclists is on its way from Los Angeles to Portland and they call themselves the Midnight Ridazz.

The Midnight Ridazz began in 2004 when eight friends got together to ride the streets of Los Angeles. Or, as one of the Ridazz — who goes by the name Placid Casual — put it, “we thought it would be fun to see Los Angeles from a different perspective than the usual one (through a car window at high speed), and to make our own free entertainment on a Friday night.”

From their Clown Ride.
(Photo: MAXIMUMSHOTS/Flickr)

The idea caught on big time and now the group has blossomed into a full-blown social phenomenon that regularly gets 1000+ people out on their monthly rides (they’ve gotten so big that the founders have tried to break up the groups into spin-off and regional rides).

This Friday, a group of about 30 Ridazz will make their way to Portland to partake in everything our bike culture has to offer.

I asked Placid Casual and other one of the trip organizers, Reverend Joe Borfo, a few questions about the Midnight Ridazz and about their Portland plans.

What are the Midnight Ridazz all about?

Borfo:

“The About Page on our website pretty much covers who Midnight Ridazz are – A party on wheels. Supportive non confrontational community of bike enthusiast. Midnight Ridazz is rooted in a punk ethos, challenging the status quo of Los Angeles, a city largely designed around the automobile. Midnight Ridazz does not overtly profess to engage in political activity other than its stance that “Riding a bicycle in this country in and of itself IS the political act.” It has some similarities to the pro-bicycle Critical Mass phenomenon in its massive rides of more than a thousand cyclists. However it is largely distinct from Critical Mass in that the rides are pre-planned by self appointed ride care takers and the general atmosphere — some say “Driving Force” of Midnight Ridazz — revolves around party culture and fun.”

A recent Midnight Ridazz ride.
(Photo: Joe Borfo)

How have the Midnight Ridazz impacted Los Angeles?

Borfo:

“The ride has since inspired many new ride groups in the Los Angeles area and is credited with popularizing bicycle ride culture in Los Angeles. The ride itself follows different routes each month, with the ride varying between 15 and 40 miles in length. It is traditional for the route to include the 2nd Street Tunnel in downtown Los Angeles. Sometimes the enormity of it gives me chills. I feel like shouting “we’re taking the streets!” – It’s like a bicycle revolution and everybody’s having a good time.”


Why did you decide to come to Portland?

Placid:

“At the time I came up with the idea, plans were in the works to “swarm” Las Vegas with Ridazz (“swarming” various places and locales is a sort of running gag/theme with MR) in July. It occurred to me that if we can organize a mass trip to a place like Vegas, then surely we can organize a trip to a city that actually has a reputation for being relatively bike-friendly, and that is full of wacky bike subculture people who might be fun to meet and ride with. Maybe if we saw what a bike-oriented city looked like, we could take some of those ideas back with us to LA and at least have some idea what to agitate for at home. Thus, Portland. Also, I’ve heard that the beer is pretty good.”

Borfo:

“To meet like minded people who love cycling and bicycle culture. To show Portland cyclists that Los Angeles has a growing bicycle community as well and that we should continue to support each other. We are enamored with the stories we hear about the strong bicycling community. We want to learn the ways of the mighty Zoo Bombers. And to leave no rider behind!”

What do you have planned while you’re here?

Placid:

“We intend to participate in the Dropout Freak Bike ride on Friday night (and/or attend some kind of yurt/pool party that we’ve been invited to); ride in the Tour de Fat parade on Saturday morning; put on our own Really Real, No Naysayers Swarm The Cascades / Follow The Leader Ride on Saturday night; and (for the brave and foolhardy) do Zoobomb on Sunday night.”

To learn more about the Midnight Ridazz, check out their awesome website and watch the video below. And this Friday-Sunday, look for them on the streets with their yellow patches (see above) and join in the fun!

(Note: The police in the video are helping escort the ride, they’re not busting them.)

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max adders
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max adders

how come there\’s nothing like this in Portland? or is there?

Hell, I just wanna get together with some like-minded youngfolk and ride bikes around for the hell of it. Surely that\’s not too much to ask of our lil\’ biketopia…

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

Sadly, another bandwagon hopping, traffic corking nightmare about to happen.

Keep anything even remotely related to \”Critical Ass\” off our streets.

By the way Max, there are too many things like this going on in Portland all the time.

That is the major problem.

Now, a bunch of hooligans are coming up from down south to piss off our cops more.

People do not even realize they tangled web they weave, mainly because they run off, leave town, and the working local cyclists get caught up in the web.

Maybe they will get their own tickets while here, helping feed \”Not My Police Chief\” Rosie Sizer\’s bloodlust for cycling citations, whether constitutional or not.

joe
Guest
joe

Dabby,
Is there anything that you actually like?

mtmann
Guest
mtmann

\”Traffic corking nightmare\” sounds like the opinion of a driver I was reading this morning on Oregonlive responding to the bridge closures for bikes yesterday. Dabby, why so negative about a little merry prankster-ism on bikes? \”Hooligans\” from \”down south\” sounds a little too provincial for my taste and I for one don\’t mind at all getting \”caught up in their web,\” whatever that means. Personally, I wish them a happy, ticket-free visit. Heck, if they love to ride, those are the kind of LA folks I wouldn\’t mind having move to Portland.

For the record, I too was caught up in the jams for Bridgepedal yesterday, but I woke up still loving riding and I choose to see the glass half full.

Crash N. Burns
Guest
Crash N. Burns

Maybe Dabby\’s upset that those L.A. cool kids are putting us to shame.

Maybe they get a little cop support by not lashing out at officers by name in public forums.

Or maybe they\’ll go home wondering how Portland ever got to be such a bike popular city with so much apparent deviciveness.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

I despise anything Critical Mass related because it is so horribly bad for our cycling community.

Is that so difficult to understand for you people?

Critical Ass is the mistake that keeps on giving, and a ride like this, that claims to have the same principles as, but is more about partying, is more of an actual problem that Critical Ass itself.

One day you will wake up and smell the cat food, in your bank account.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

I do hope you all have fun though……..

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

\”One day you will wake up and smell the cat food…\”

holy cow, did you just make a They Might Be Giants reference???

Mr. Viddy
Guest

If only I were not so self-conscious. I\’d love to put on a costume and ride around.

Minda
Guest
Minda

Dabby, thanks for at least saying \’have fun.\’ I was getting an ulcer reading your comments.

I remember the Midnight Ridazz. I relocated from the Eugene area to LA in 2004 hoping to transplant a little eco-consciousness to my old homecity. Well, LA kicked my ass (spiritually speaking) but I did manage to hold fast to my commitment to be car-free down there. I never joined the Ridazz, but I always took comfort in the fact that they existed. I am glad they\’re making the connection with us happen. LA riders need as much support as they can get!

Samhain
Guest
Samhain

I\’m one of the \”Hooligans\”. As a 38 year old insurace agent who neither drinks nor smokes, I understand your desire to hide the women and children. Don\’t worry, though: I sell business insurance, NOT life, so you should be safe.

BOO!

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

I guess when you sell your Sentra with the punk rock stickers all over the back of it you can get enough green to build a few janky bikes…

Nobody except spandex warriors and homeless people rode bikes when I lived in SoCal. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Actually it\’s nice that young counterculture types all over the country have embraced bikes. It probably wouldn\’t have happened in SoCal if rents hadn\’t skyrocketed at the same time student grants and loans were slashed and gas prices went up $1/gallon.

Only a nobody walks in LA.

zb
Guest
zb

Dabby, are you from Ashland or something? Cuz Portland ain\’t no retirement community, and you sound as crotchety as they get. \”Turn that music down, I\’m trying to sleep!\”

Rev. Borfo
Guest
Rev. Borfo

My bank account reeks of cat food…

N.I.K.
Guest
N.I.K.

As crotechy and grizzled as he may sound, Samhain, I doubt Dabby\’s concerned about what *you* do, but rather what a \”party on wheels\” likely means to many folks out there:

-public drunkenness
-no lights
-mass willful disobedience of traffic laws, signs, and devices

In other words, the exact same stuff that pisses off the non-cycling public and draws the ire of the police. And, as with CM, Zoobomb, or other events, it doesn\’t matter so much if the core folks *are* generally following the rules and not wasted out of their minds, because the entities already bent on using these types of events to make cyclists look like a bunch of \”hooligans\” are going to latch on to the people behaving like hooligans, and continue to sell that dirty scofflaw trouble-maker image to the public at large, which does indeed do more harm than good.

Dabby, please correct me if I\’m wrong.

bah come on
Guest
bah come on

sweet, some cali kids to run over. what more could you ask for. j/k, but really how is riding a bike a political statement? Wait, I think I see it, by blocking the streets, cars go slower, which uses more gas. This must be set up by the republicans..

Samhain
Guest
Samhain

I find that most true \”Hooligan\” types wouldn\’t make the considerable effort to put something like this together. Also, the Zoobombers offered the vile Californians a place to crash while we\’re in town, which is the same thing we would/will do for them. So who are the lucky riders staying with Dabby? As someone who lived in Oregon for 3 years I know how riled up people get with the very mention of our state. With that in mind, I\’d like to extend an olive branch to our new friend Dabby by way of song:

Green acres is the place for me.
Farm livin\’ is the life for me.
Land spreadin\’ out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.

New York is where I\’d rather stay.
I get allergic smelling hay.
I just adore a penthouse view.
Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue.

…The chores.
…The stores.
…Fresh air.
…Times Square

You are my wife.
Good bye, city life.
Green Acres we are there.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

NIK,
You have that right on the money.

The original intention of the event, for example Critical Mass, is quickly lost in the throngs coming for the party, while a solid few are actually there for the right reason.

Coming from a long background of riding my bike for a living, this does nothing but focus negative attention on the working cyclist 9 hours a day, 5 days a week.
This then spirals outward, affecting commuters, people training, etc. etc. etc.

Dabby
Guest
Dabby

And, by the way, I am quite the \”Hooligan\” myself.

redhandlebars
Guest
redhandlebars

Midnight Ridazz set to \”swarm\” Portland…. and apparently without helmets.

bikemonkey
Guest
bikemonkey

Well, if the PPB hold to the same behavior they have given the Midnight Mystery ride as of late, this could get interesting!

It might be tough to fight a DUI charge from LA!

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

Samhain, if I had to guess I would say Mr.Dabby McCrashalot has had his share of wayward messengers crash(alot) at his house in the 15 plus years he has been a messenger. If you are coming up here you need to respect every aspect of the local Portland bike culture.

RESPECT VATO.

Unimpressed
Guest
Unimpressed

Ah. So Dabby is a messenger. And this makes his ignorant, needlessly hostile blanket statement less of an ignorant, needlessly hostile blanket statement…erm, how, exactly?

tern
Guest

gee…this is getting complicated. I just wanted to come up to ride with other bike people. We are not trying to invade your town or make some statement with \’LA\’ attached to it. We are just comming up to have some fun and see how bike culture lives in Portland.

I have a bunch of friends in Portland–one really close friend. It\’s cool for me becuse I can do the tour de fat, zoobomb, hang out with all types of bicyle riders…and see my adored friends.

The provincial thing…I don\’t know, maybe some of you have a valid complaint with Californians comming up and raising the cost of living, but WE are NOT those people. I have lived in a bunch of places in my life, and I feel like I have always been welcomed…AK, NM, CA,.
We are not trying to make a mess of your town, for sure. We are not a Critical Mass group. We want to come out and see Portland and ride bikes…that\’s all.

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

\”If you are coming up here you need to respect every aspect of the local Portland bike culture.\”

Welcome to bike-\”friendly\” Portland!

gabrielamadeus
Guest

Ahhh, portland, that\’s why I moved here after all – the kindness of strangers and the hospitality of the city. We really need shirts that say \”The Messengers did it!\” whenever we ride around hooning.

a.O
Guest
a.O

I\’ll take these guys over Debby any day.

You guys should not pay these poseurs any mind. You\’re welcome in Portland.

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

I don\’t think it\’s \”provincial\”. I am from California, and almost everyone I know is NOT from Orygun originally.

It\’s about respecting the bike community as a whole.

It is one thing joke around or be sarcastic, and quite another to flat out talk shit.

Dabby\’s concerns are valid, with the way the Police have been behaving lately. I am sure in LA they are too busy dealing with gangs and drugs to be concerned with some bikes in the street (where they belong).

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

Also, I have had great fun at the alleycats and after-parties I have attended, and my tubby suburban self felt welcomed, but who knows what they were saying when I turned my back…

a.O
Guest
a.O

Skidmark, you and Debby must be really good cyclists, because I\’ve never seen anyone backpedal that fast!

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

I can\’t backpedal when I am riding fixed.

brian
Guest
brian

tern – There\’s an undercurrent of haters in the community in portland. You\’ll be received with open arms by 99% of the bike community.

Focus on the bike friendly drivers(despite what you\’ll read on this blog), miles upon miles of bike friendly roads, and a city that is steeped in bicycling culture.

Have a great time while you\’re here and don\’t let the comment of two or three people deter you from having a good time.

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

Tern,

I completely agree with Brian (post #33).

You are more than welcome here, and I hope to see you and your crew this weekend!

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Dabby a poseur? Sometimes you have moments of clarity, a.O. This isn\’t one of them.

Dabby voiced his quite legitimate concerns. He\’s not the only cyclist who sees mass acting out as having a harmful effect on cycling overall. But he is the most credible voice expressing that concern.

a.O
Guest
a.O

Speaking of moments of clarity rixter, the word/root \”credible\” and Debby should never be used in the same sentence unless the phrase \”lack of\” is thrown in.

Also, I did not specifically refer to Debby as a poseur, but I stand by that conclusion as accurate. The American Heritage Dictionary defines a poseur as \”one who affects a particular attribute, attitude, or identity to imprress or influence others.\”

Now, for your consideration:

1. @ #2: \”another bandwagon hopping, traffic corking nightmare….a bunch of hooligans … coming … to piss off our cops more.\”

2. [extensive criticism of the post]

3. @ #20: \”…by the way, I am quite the \’Hooligan\’ myself.\”

Draw your own conclusions.

BURR
Guest
BURR

Just another example of a few long-time cyclists not wanting to share the great thing they\’ve got with those who they consider to be a bunch of newbie usurpers, the great unwashed masses. Guess what, we\’re not getting to Amsterdam or Platinum that way either.

😉

Borfo
Guest
Borfo

Are the Hells Angels coming up to Portland or something?… We understand your concerns. You won\’t even know we were here. Well, you already know were coming – But, we\’re not a bunch of freaks.. ah, well.. Oh never mind!

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Draw your own conclusions.

OK…

Now, for your consideration:

1. @ #2: \”another bandwagon hopping, traffic corking nightmare….a bunch of hooligans … coming … to piss off our cops more.\”

2. [extensive criticism of the post]

3. @ #20: \”…by the way, I am quite the \’Hooligan\’ myself.\”

Dabby has consistently voiced an opinion that people should take personal responsibility for their actions. If Dabby is indeed \”quite the hooligan,\” I have no doubt that he takes personal responsibility for any consequences resulting from that.

How, pray tell, do a bunch of Angelenos propose to take personal responsibility for the aftermath of their Portland appearance? Won\’t the persons who bear the brunt of the afternmath instead be working cyclists, and then spiraling outward, commuters, and then other cyclists?

I believe that question is consistent with everything Dabby has said, past and present, and thus, he doesn\’t fit your proffered definition.

a.O
Guest
a.O

\”I believe that … he doesn\’t fit your proffered definition.\”

Well, it\’s crystal clear to me. But that\’s why I said draw your own conclusions — we\’ll have to agree to disagree!

Oh, and before I can answer your question regarding how these folks will \”take personal responsibility for the aftermath of their Portland appearance\” we\’ll have to decide what the \”aftermath\” will be. I can\’t wait to hear this.

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

Dammit,I was hoping you guys were a bunch of freaks…

Yougottobekidding
Guest
Yougottobekidding

Oh, I\’m sure that the \”aftermath\” of thirty people coming up to Portland for a weekend to ride bikes and make friends will be just hooooorrrriiibbbllle! I don\’t know how the city will ever recover from such a thing. Hey, what are those blue chunks falling on my shoulders? Oh….just the sky falling.

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

What if people have fun??? What then?? OMG!!!

Rev. Borfo
Guest
Rev. Borfo

Why, pray tell, won\’t you just come out and ride with us?

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

\”Fun\” is part of the essential tension in this and probably every other city.

Some people see bicycles as a means of having a good, leisurely time. Some people see bicycles as a means of having a good, rowdy time. Some people see bicycles as a means to get to work, or as the means by which they earn a living. Some people see bicycles as \”rideable art that can just about save the world.\”

It\’s possible for one person to hold more than one of those views– they\’re not all mutually exclusive. Sometimes, they are mutually exclusive. As Dabby has observed, creating hostility is not conducive to him earning a living on his bike. For others, creating hostility is not conducive to a safe commute. For me, creating hostility is not conducive to transforming society.

Will a party on wheels create that hostility? I guess that would depend on how it\’s conducted.

Personally, I think if I was trying to increase the presence of SUVs on the road, the last thing I\’d suggest would be a mass get together of SUVs, with attendant drinking, driving around with the headlights off, disregarding red lights, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Other people might disagree, and do exactly those things.

In the end, I think people will do what they want, regardless of how other cyclists feel about it. People who want to party on wheels will party on wheels. People who want to work or commute without a hassle will continue to work or commute, hopefully without a hassle. And if problems do arise, the same people who always disregard the concerns of other cyclists will criticize those other cyclists for not falling lockstep in solidarity with them when the trouble arises.

One last point, Samhain: Your snotty put-down of Dabby in post 12 fits well with the snotty Portland bike culture, so you should fit right in, but really, we already have a surfeit of snottiness. You might consider leaving it at home, even if it means fitting in less than you otherwise might have.

BURR
Guest
BURR

So we should end all bike fun events in Portland, which thousands of people have participated in over the years, just because, out of the grand total of 30 +/- working bike messengers in Portland, one of them thinks bike fun events somehow create \’hostility\’ that \’has the potential\’ to make his job harder? Got it, someone should get right on this. Oh wait, someone already has – Commander Kruger. Get real, we\’re either all in this together or not at all folks.

Yougottobekidding
Guest
Yougottobekidding

Any \”snotty putdowns\” of Dabby are more than richly deserved, based on the way he initiated the conversation by insulting people and demanding that they stay off the streets. Sorry, guy, but it works both ways: if your conversational style consists of insults and hostility, you just may receive some of the same in return.

Thankfully, most Portland bike riders do not act as though they had carbon fiber seatposts lodged in their behinds. Fun will be had. Of this there can be no doubt.

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

One of the best things about some of the fun activities that occur on bikes in Portland is that Rixtir isn\’t there 🙂

Or at least I hope not. That would be kind of sad…in the background muttering to himself disapprovingly 🙁

a.O
Guest
a.O

\”Will a party on wheels create that hostility? I guess that would depend on how it\’s conducted.\”

Exactly, rixter. I knew you\’d say that, because you\’re a reasonable guy. And that\’s why I think you (collectively) should at least give some out-of-town visitors a chance before talking about the \”aftermath\” their visit \”will\” create.

Jeez, people need to lighten up on these poor folks a bit. I mean I know they\’re from LA (or Hell A, as I like to call it), and we\’re honor bound as Oregonians to despise the Californication of our great state, but this is a bit much, and a bit personal, IMHO.

\”Any \’snotty putdowns\’ of Dabby are more than richly deserved, based on the way he initiated the conversation by insulting people and demanding that they stay off the streets.\”

Agreed. And in case anybody hasn\’t noticed this before, that happens every time this guy posts here…making fun of peoples\’ handle, calling people names, and repeatedly saying the same things over and over again without any regard for discussion. You get what you give…

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

I want to see a one-on-one bike polo cage match : a.0 vs. Dabby McCrashalot.

Is Oregon \”California\’s Canada\” or \”Washington\’s Mexico\”?

Californians can take a little shit-talking, it\’s like talking about the weather is up here, everyone does and it means nothing.

wyatt
Guest
wyatt

\”Jeez, people need to lighten up on these poor folks a bit. I mean I know they\’re from LA (or Hell A, as I like to call it)\”

Who the fuck cares where thery\’re from???? This is really pissing me off. Does anyone say anything when the Dead Baby Crew from Seattle comes up? The Canadian version of the Sprockettes? Or any other myriad out-of-town bikey visitors who come to mistakenly worship at what cycling mecca?

What a freaking load of crap. I personally feel pretty damned embarrassed.

Nevertheless, I know for a FACT that they will have a good time whatever they do in Portland this weekend, regardless of the piss-poor reception they received here.