We tended to be pretty oblique in our route descriptions and, indeed, in our descriptions of the ride in general. The Passage was in fact probably best suited for those that could tolerate a high level of uncertainty. That being said, here are some answers to some questions you might have...
Does this ride still happen?
The weekly Passage ride is over. After ten years, we decided that it had fulfilled its mission. The ride set out to be both an argument for, and an exemplar of, boundless curiosity about the city and its surroundings. We hope those that joined us found a different Los Angeles than they previously had known and, further, were inspired to keep exploring all its corners, hills, inconvenient passageways, and beyond.
But what about this new ride I've heard about?
Yes, while the Passage itself is over, after a little break we did decide to start leading some rides again, on a monthly basis. We're calling this new ride Completism, and you can find info on it here.
For latest announcements about dates and locations of this new ride, please join our mailing list.
What about Covid?
After a loooooong pause in Completism rides due to Covid, we started monthly rides again in June 2021. Obviously, this will all depend on how things are looking on the pandemic front and if it all takes a turn for the worse again, we may have to do another pause.
For everyone's safety and comfort, we now ask riders to please be fully vaccinated before joining us for a ride.
How hard was the Passage ride?
It varied from week to week, depending on the route, but generally it is safe to say that it was probably an easy ride for a strong rider and could be a strenuous ride for a weaker one. Most people fall somewhere in between and therefore so did the ride.
What do you mean by "medium pace"?
Faster than a typical "social ride" and slower than a typical "fast-paced ride." Maybe somewhere between 12 and 18 mph? But, again, it depended on the route. Longer routes tended to inspire faster paces.
And how about "some hills"?
There were almost always some hills. Sometimes just small rollers. Sometimes hills that were short and steep, sometimes long and gradual. Sometimes all of the above. We didn't avoid them. A lot of interesting places are at the top of hills.
No, seriously though, you just pretty much started with three questions about difficulty -- was this a hard ride?
That's just what people asked about the most. Difficulty was not our intention; the ride was not about that. We were interested in exploration, not athletics. We tried to keep the ride together and wait for anyone who fell behind.
Since your routes varied in difficulty, did you have some sort of rating system?
We did! One donut = easy. Two donuts = average (for us). Three donuts = challenging. Four donuts = very easy.
Wait, why was four donuts the easiest rating?
You try to eat four donuts after a hard ride!
How inconvenient were the "inconvenient passageways"?
It might've been a footbridge. Or an underpass. Sometimes we rode on dirt trails. Sometimes we took pothole-ridden and glass-filled alleys. Sometimes we climbed stairs. Or did a little hiking. One should've generally been prepared for anything. But, don't worry, we gave ample warning when we were going to ride several miles underground in a wet tunnel.
How does Completism compare to The Passage?
Completism follows Passage routes. You can expect roughly the same thing. However, since Passage rides trended somewhat more difficult as the years progressed and we're doing routes in chronological order, you should probably expect Completism to be a little easier than later Passage routes for a while. But the big difference is that you can see the route ahead of time if you want.
What if something happens to me on a ride?
We do our best to provide a safe and enjoyable experience, and rely on our riders to help us maintain a mature, responsible ride culture. But on very rare occasions incidents do and have happened, as on any bike ride. If something happens to you, we'll do everything we can to make sure you get the help you need. But please understand that, by participating in the ride, you assume all responsibility for yourself and agree not to hold the ride leaders liable in any way.
Please also note that if you see something happen to someone else, unless there is clear and immediate need for emergency services, PLEASE check with them before calling 911. For many people, a trip in an ambulance can be a prohibitively expensive prospect that unfortunately must be avoided except as a last resort.
What should I bring on a ride?
A bicycle in good working order, with well-inflated tires; front and back lights; basic repair supplies like spare tubes, tire levers, and a pump; enough food and water for the duration of the ride (we do not stop at stores).
What kind of bike should I bring?
A cyclocross/touring bike is probably the most appropriate choice. That is what both of us are riding these days, and what many of our Passage regulars ended up on eventually. Most people, however, bring other styles of bikes. A geared road bike will be fine for most routes. Likewise a "hybrid"-style bike. People do ride fixed or single speed with us, though sometimes it becomes obvious that is not the most appropriate choice (riding brakeless, in particular, is a rather bad idea on most routes, and we'd really prefer you didn't). A mountain bike can work, though sometimes might be a bit sluggish. We've had tall bikes on the ride and that sometimes worked out okay. Someone brought a swing bike once and that was one of the few times we outright dropped someone (sorry!). Cruisers and BMX are strongly discouraged, unless it is advertised as a very slow ride (we do those occasionally). Whatever style of bike, investing in durable, puncture-resistant tires is a good idea.
I have an awesome sound system for my bike. Should I bring my awesome sound system?
While we are sure your sound system is indeed awesome, we do ask that people not play music during the ride. First of all, music can make it hard to hear people call out potential hazards, which can be a safety issue, as well as hard to hear conversation, which can be a conviviality issue. Furthermore, our goal to generally pass through the city unnoticed -- both for sake of access as well as to respect the neighborhoods of others -- can also be thwarted by people playing music. The most compelling argument against it, however, is probably the aesthetic one. Music is great on a party ride, but our ride isn't really supposed to be a party (sorry!/you're welcome). Music disconnects one from one's environment and making connections to the environment is an important part of the ride. Thank you for understanding.
How big was the Passage ride?
For first the year or so, it was usually just a handful of riders. Then it expanded to maybe 10-20. There was a short period, after some media attention, when it was 20-45 people. For the final few years, it was typically around 15-35 people each week. Routes advertised as shorter/easier generally brought out slightly more riders.
When did you start doing the ride and when did you stop?
The Passage started in June of 2009. The ride ended in June of 2019.
Where are you going this week?
We announce upcoming rides through our mailing list. During the Passage years, we were often notoriously bad about giving advance notice of our plans, but that was usually okay because we rarely gave more than the sketchiest details of what was going to happen -- and the ride reliably happened every Wednesday, with rare exceptions (over the approximately 521 weeks it lasted, we rode 509 times). You just had to show up and find out.
Now that the Passage has ended and we are instead doing monthly Completism rides, we give more advance notice and we link to the prior ride description on our site -- which includes a map! Less mystery but also less uncertainty. You're welcome/we're sorry!
But the route maps on your site are so small!
True! But the heading that says "Route Map" directly above each map is actually a link to an interactive map that you can zoom into/out of and see all the detail you want.
Additionally, Passage regular Erik Price generously made an interactive cumulative map, accessible on his site, where you can see every route in detail.
Is the ride happening this week?
Probably not. The weekly ride is over.
But Completism lives on. Again, join the mailing list and find out when that is going to happen.
Did rain cancel the ride?
In theory, when it rained we went bowling. In reality, we sometimes chose to ride in the rain and sometimes that was fun. Often, we had extremely good luck and rain cleared up before the ride began. A clear night after a good rain is a beautiful time to ride. So, to answer your question, maybe...?
Did you leave on time?
We used to give a few minutes of leeway for stragglers, but we kind of stopped seeing the point of that. If you were not at 3rd and New Hampshire by 9pm, you would miss the ride.
There are a bunch of daytime photos in your gallery -- but didn't this ride happen at night?
It did! ...Most of the time. However, on special occasions, we held the ride during the day, on weekends. For our 100th ride, we did a century (that's 100 miles) and, for our 200th-203rd rides, we took the Metrolink train and explored the suburbs. Then we realized that riding during the day in the summer is often not that much fun and so, after that, we did a series of weekend rides every winter, the first week of each month for four consecutive months.
How can I contribute photos I took on the ride?
Submit them to the Passage tumblog!
(We're quite bad about actually posting stuff there, though, so don't be too disappointed if your submission doesn't get posted.)
And, while our Tumblr is pretty much defunct these days, we have been using Instagram a bit. You can tag us @thepassageride in your photos, if you want.
Or, if you just want to tag your photos on other social media platforms, use #tpoafptarbmit
Did the ride cost money?
The ride was free and open to all (that are willing/able to behave in a safe, respectful manner). We did it because we enjoyed it. We hope you did too.
How do I obtain products that signify I am living the Passage lifestyle?
A small amount of Passage-related goods are available for purchase here: theroyalacademy.storenvy.com.
We also can probably dig up some patches we made years ago, if you ask Sean sometime.
Let's go back to your refusal to give clear ride descriptions -- what was that all about?
Where we were going was usually less important than how we got there. And, anyway, surprises are fun!
What's with the crazy long name?
It's the name of a situationist film (and, later, a book about the Situationists). It seemed to fit. They also wrote the line about dropping usual motives and being drawn to attractions on our home page. The Situationists had some interesting ideas about the city and one's experience thereof. But they were just one amongst many inspirations for the ride.
What is the best kind of donut?
Whichever came out of the fryer most recently.
Have a question you don't see here? Ask us!
passage [at] theroyalacademy [dot] org