Since April of 2022 we've been putting on these Full Moon Lighted Bike Rides. It was inspired by my friend Marissa with LightMeUp Safety Lights in San Diego. She's a really amazing person who brings all this joy to the bike scene across San Diego County by hooking people up with wheel lights. Her slogan is "Get lit or get hit." That's pretty baller right?
What I love about the service that LightMeUp Safety Lights provides goes beyond just colorful bike decoration. When a group of bike riders are rolling with wheel lights, frame lights and style, drivers seem to step up their respect for bicyclists. It looks like party on wheels, a glowing parade, something that you really want to be a part of, or at least spectate. So typically drivers slow down, they watch, they cheer and they make space for bike riders.
We started full moon rides in Upstate NY to promote that same kind of culture of safety for cyclists but it's grown into something even better.
Our first ride was the Pink Moon Ride in April, supported by Bike Walk Tompkins. We met at the Ithaca Farmer's Market an hour before sunset to install some wheel lights and by the time we got onto the Waterfront Trail we had about 20 riders in tow, and everyone lit up for the evening roll. So that was 7 rides ago, and out little full moon ride has caught on and created an unexpected following with a culture that's very different from the lighted bike parades in San Diego...
Since that first April ride, we've led a monthly full moon ride to celebrate the Flower Moon (May), the Strawberry Moon (June), the Buck Moon (July), the Sturgeon Moon (August), the Corn Moon (September), and the Hunter's Moon (October).
Our most recent event has about 40 rides and maybe 25% were under the age of 16. I'm choosing 16 here before that's the age that most kids get a driver's license in NY. We have this amazing crew of young riders that always lead the pack, struggling to slow down that everyone else can keep up. They gibber gabber with one another, try out stunts and occasionally they get over enthusiastic try to pass the ride leader. When we pull up to stop lights to patiently await our turn to cross the intersection they chant "change light change!" When a pothole appears in the road, the scream "pothole" as loud as they can.
I want get the next generation stoked for cycling. I want these kids to consider bike riding to be a viable form of transportation even after they are eligible to get a license. I want these kids to learn the rules of the road and the benefits of cycling so that they can be safe stewards of the streets.
The rides provide this lovely opportunity to show off safe ways to get around town, avoiding busy streets but also teaching riders how to navigate roads with cars, traffic signs and new bike infrastructure.
I've been keeping the ride to 5 miles in the flat sections of downtown Ithaca, just about 1 hour of riding today. The youngest kids who come on tricycles have no problem sustaining the slow pace of 6 miles/hour, in fact they're usually the ones that I'm reminding to slowdown so that they can set a good example as a supportive ride leader.
October was our final official full moon ride until April, when the weather should be more reliably nice again. It's sweet to know that there are about 60 bike riders who will be itching to get back out in the Spring time to howl at the moon as they roll through the streets at night on their glowing bikes.
Stories from the road and bike shops en route.
Author: Sylvie Froncek
I've ridden thousands of miles, led group bike tours, taught maintenance classes and started bike collectives, all in an attempt to share what I love with great people. Read about my adventures and tell me about yours!