Saturday, September 19, 2015

Full Moon Bike Ride

During August's full moon, 670 people gathered to ride from Rosedale Park to Mercer Meadow's Pole Farm and back again. This is one of those events that sounds so much better reading about it than it feels in reality. Reminded me of decided to stroll through a rain forest on the island of Kauia, Hawaii in what was deemed the rainiest spot on early, only to realize as we were there (and not lounging on a beach) that is a nice way of saying the muddiest place on earth.
The thought of taking a full moon bike ride through a field sounds lovely. The ride was slated to start at 9 PM. According to someone in the know, people started to arrive at 7:30 and were insistent on doing the ride a full hour before the sun set and the moon rose. These are open spaces, you can ride on these trails during any given day. What was special about this event was you could ride on the trails legally after the park closed.

We live near the mid-point of the ride, so we decided to ride to the start rather than try to park at Rosedale. After all, where were they going to fit cars for 670 riders?

I thought we allowed plenty of time, but just as we were within a half a mile of the start of this six mile ride, bicyclists started coming at us with a vengeance. We pulled to the side to let them pass. My pictures aren't very good because, well, we were in a field in the dark and the targets were moving. Enough of taking bad pictures, we found a gap and joined in the group.

For a "family-friendly" ride, I was struggling to keep up with this batch of cyclists. When we got closer to home, Ashley and I bailed and went straight to our house (remember these are trails I ride and run on at least weekly). We made it home by 9:07. This was my first clue the ride started early. There was no way I could have ridden six miles in only seven minutes.
What happened?
Someone in the know said the people waiting were getting restless, so they let them start early. Gee thanks, for those of us doing the reverse ride to get to the start.

Don continued on. When he got to the point where we joined the riders, he decided to do the loop a second time and then come home since our car was at home and not in Rosedale Park.

Some people thought the full moon would illuminate their path, and they had no need for a light. Many others were slower than me. Some seemed to show up around 9:30 for a 9:00 ride.

This was the second time Lawrence Hopewell Trail and Mercer County Park organized this ride. They felt it was a success. Of course my impression may have been tainted by what I saw (or rather could not see) on the ride:

That's right. I had a lovely view of the inside of my basket. If I shined my light higher so I could see outside of the basket, I was told I was blinding other cyclists (not sure how since I could only see their backs and not their eyes), but if I shined it the right level, I could not see the ground in front of me and it was useless.

If there is a next time for me to ride in the dark, I'll have to try mounting the light to the front of the basket.

HERE is an article about the ride.


  1. We did the ride last year. It is one of those things you should do once. We could see pretty well in the open field sections, put the parts in the woods were pitch black. About half-way through I figured out how to use my flashlight in my basket. That helped a little. Also, the route was not marked, so at one T-junction we did not know which way to go. Maybe they fixed that this year? Riding in a big crowd on bumpy ground was also a challenge. Great experience. Glad we did it. Would not do it again.

  2. Ha! We did it the first year, and would not do it again. Mayhem & chaos ensued when there were no course marshals or directions at intersections. There were also a lot of kids under 12 there. 911 was getting flooded with calls from riders lost in the dark. It's a great idea, but I don't think I would enjoy riding with that many riders on that trail during the daytime! I wound up riding along Federal City Rd. in the dark after I got separated from my family (and I was not alone)...

  3. I have mixed feelings about this. The ride itself sounds like it could be great, but it also sounds like the experience could be lessened by other riders and pace constraints. I guess you could say the same for any organized ride, but this one doesn't seem as dependent on city streets as others, so I don't really understand. Oh well. At least the inside of your basket looks nice!

  4. This has officially received more comments than any other Pillsbury Press post. ;)

    Nancy and Gabrielle. they did have marshals this year, and they blocked off the paths they did not want people to use, but 670 people traveling on the same six mile stretch in the DARK is too many. In theory you had to be over 13 to do the ride this year, not sure if they adhered to that rule.