First, I want to give a shout out to all the unicyclists that have ridden with me on LA’s mean streets! The way that cycling is exploding in LA right now offers some great opportunities for us to mix it up and promote unicycling within the “alt” cycling community, and there are MANY cyclists that love it when we show up!
It’s now been 8 months, and I have managed to get over 60 nightrides in here in Los Angeles. My experiences include many urban mini-concerts, a few upd’s here and there, mistakes, and a real learning curve on appropriate lighting systems, and a whole lot of sunscreen-free fun!
In the process, I have also learned some of the things and people to avoid. After all, it’s far too easy to get in a situation with the wrong people at the wrong time when you nightride. My most notorious moment was realized one night about 7 months ago… I found myself wearing handcuffs alongside my daughter against a fence in Griffith Park… a direct result of picking the wrong ride. We weren’t prosecuted, but I am now very careful about who I listen to when somebody texts me and says “hey, can you come out for the _ _ _ _ ride tomorrow night?”
Anyhow, there are several “tried and true” nightrides that I can wholeheartedly recommend, and I would like to use this thread to continue to grow the number of us unicyclists that throw in for these. There are links on midnightridazz.com that I will point to on occasion, as well as facebook event pages. I’m going to start with the most consistent and reliable ride. This is one that I help lead. They actually pace the ride against my speed on the 36’er:
Los Angeles Critical Mass (LACM) is HERE on Facebook. They have about 2,700 members, most of whom ride the event.
Time: Ride rolls at 729pm on the last Friday of each month. (October 28th this month)
Place: Wilshire and Western
Size: 1,000 to 2,000 riders
Speed: 9-12mph average
Distance: 27miles average
Uni-friendly factor: 2-3 rest stops about 15 minutes each in grocery store parking lots. Ride is paced to be a “rolling conversation” so 36’ers are easy and 29’ers can keep up with some work.
Unique because: The only ride in LA that includes a rolling partnership with LAPD. They ride with us on bikes and motorcycles, in addition to protecting the ride from red lights (you get to roll just about EVERY stop light).
LACM and nighriding “DO’S”
-Bring a front and rear light
-Wear a helmet and as much protective gear as possible
-Stay as close to the front of the ride as possible. Most non-unicyclists near the front on this ride (there are a few…lol) have been schooled on the ways of the unicycle and make room for my mounts and idles.
-Have the cellphone and save number of at least one, if not more, people on the ride to stay connected and reach out if you need them
At the lights and stops, I often get in trackstand competitions with them amongst cheers and jeers (they think of “idling” as a trackstand). Unicyclists get max respect on this ride.
Also, for those of you who are uncomfortable about riding at night in unfamiliar areas… if you use Android, I developed an app that gives you an One-Touch emergency button to broadcast your location and a message to people of your choosing if you need to be picked up or helped. I built the app after I was injured and stranded on a solo day-ride and found it troublesome to find and dial people to come pick me up. It also provides for people (like family) keeping tabs on where I am. They can text a special code to my phone and receive a google maps update on my location. Not for general sale yet, but I can help you set the app up for free if you want it.
One of the most important things we do when we ride is to pick up fans and hopefully converts. The people who do nightrides are just “alt” enough to get fired up about trying the unicycle, and I am regularly sending people craigslist listings to help them pick up their first uni! Many of these people are NOT what you would expect on these nightrides. Many of them are just like us.
Come and join us, and be a part of the LARGEST monthly group ride in the state (and likely the nation)!! Message me here or send me a PM for more details