Midnight Madness Spawns Love Story


The kind of event that takes place in the dead of a steamy summer night and unites like-minded people in an exciting expedition dressed in silly costumes would naturally spark a love story.

You may have seen them downtown Saturday night. Hundreds of bicyclists rode 20 miles dressed in costume for the annual Midnight Madness bike ride.

Amid the bustle there was a couple that met on this very night one year ago. Tara O’Brien had just moved to San Diego and volunteered at the event in the hope that she would meet some like-minded people. Little did she know.

“He had a friend who was ill and so when he was getting his t-shirt I said ‘well, I really don’t know anybody, do you want to kind of ride together?’ We talked the whole entire time because it’s a nice slow pace,” O’Brien said. 

The pair quickly realized that they had a ton in common.

“We started dating right after Midnight Madness and the rest, as they say, is history…. tonight’s our first anniversary and we’re doing really well. We live together now,” O’Brien said, grinning from ear to ear.

That’s not the only reason she loves Midnight Madness.

“There are a lot of cyclists here in San Diego and a lot of areas still don’t have bike lanes. So I think that it raises bicycle awareness,” O’Brien said.

The event started in 1974 and has evolved over the years. The race used to start at Balboa Park, but now it starts at the County Administration building.

“We let the people off in waves because there’s a huge mass of people, safety first, we don’t want anyone injured. We let people go in waves of about 100 riders,” executive director of Hostelling International Sue Schaffner said. “We have police presence at various locations, certainly at the very beginning of the route.”

As the organizers worried about safety, Veronica Hobbie was focused on her Martian costume.

“It’s so much fun and I like dressing up, I obviously like the attention,” she said laughing. “I love it because it’s a summer night and it’s so beautiful in San Diego, you just appreciate where you live even more.”

As for the other love story, O’Brien and her boyfriend were feeling rather patriotic and proud as they got ready to ride.

“We have a red and blue tandem bicycle. He’s Captain America and I’m Wonder Woman,” she said. “We’ve got our bike completely lit up and ready to go.”

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