Night Riding

I think my brainstem mighta gotten a touch o’ the frostbite during the combined 40 miles of cycling that I did last night between 7:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., because I’m up this morning with a killer base-of-the-skull headache perhaps from improperly thawing my cranium out afterwards. In other words, it was COLD last night.

I started off by channeling my inner agitator/guerrilla and rolling up to Griffith Park to participate in the looooong overdue storming of the DWP Lights Festival, which Militant Angeleno accurately recounts as being somewhat anticlimactic thanks to everyone — cars, bikes and authorized enforcement personnel — just getting along like it was a perfect world or some such nonsense.

If there was a single moment that summed up the glory of that ride it came near the beginning as we were splitting the gridlocked lanes on our way to the entrance to to the light show. I was riding behind a regular night rider buddy named Al who’s sound-system equipped bike was blasting Twister Sister’s wholly appropriate and rocking version of “Oh Come All Ye Faithful!”

Joyful and triumphant, indeed!

Once out the other end we gathered at the L.A. Zoo parking lot and ultimately decided to push the envelope by riding against traffic from whence we’d come. But instead of being netted in some sort of multi-agency coordinated effort to quell the uprising we were instead greeted by congenial horn honking and shouts of “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy Holidays!”emanating from inside the darkened interiors of the vehicles that we passed heading south.

From there I joined a contingent of riders heading to the Chinatown Gold Line station for what would be my first Sins ‘N Sprockets ride, which ventured south as far as Slauson and Soto and then east to Eastern and Washington, stopping at various libationary destinationaries along the way.

The cool moment for me during that ride came when I was approached by a young lady named Karen with “I know where I recognize you from!” and she proceeded to wow me with her recall ability by reminding me that she had been on the one-and-only Downtown Art Ride I’d led some 16 months previous whose duty I’d volunteered for to help out its organizers Eric and Dave who were both predisposed at that time. Shortly thereafter her husband Charlie came up and it came back to me that I’d encouraged both of them to check out Midnight Ridazz — which I remember they did the next time around.

In my ignorance I asked Charlie how many Sins ‘N Sprockets they’d done.

“Well, we pretty much created it,” he said.

Doh! No idea much?

From my clear case of cluelessness, I found some solace in the fact that there were but a few degrees of separation that existed between me and them: from my art ride in April of 2006 to their first Midnight Ridazz the following month to them organizing and building up their own monthly bike outing. And a popular one it’s become at that — not that I’m taking any kind of credit, just saying it’s cool that I was a player in that process.

Here’s a snap of Charlie and Karen getting set to get the ride moving again from Soto and Slauson:


Rolling back into downtown I split off as they made the final right from Cesar Chavez onto Alameda back to the ride’s endpoint in Chinatown. Climbing solo up over Sunset back home, I rolled in cold and tired at around 1:30, only 13 miles away from 3,000 rolled for the year.

Here’s the combined route on Gmaps, and here’s the photoset on Flickr.