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A Full Moon Bike Ride

This week's story comes to us from guest author Annie F. Adams. A dedicated commuter, Annie shares her recent experience riding under a full prairie moon to get ice cream.

Destination: Sidney Dairy Barn

​As a person interested in "all things bike” as well as place-making, planning and design my ears perked up when I heard local cyclists discuss the Full Moon bike ride. It seemed like some kind of dream to think of cyclists gathering under the full moon and riding en masse on rural roads to obtain ice cream. “Why not?” “It’s fun!” cyclists would say to me with a gleam in their eyes. ​The round-trip would easily be 30 miles. But this was not something I told my husband who reluctantly agreed to the adventure. We arrived at Meadowbrook Park in Urbana, Illinois at 7:05pm where true to the google event invite "gathering and chatting” began. I test rode a lime green Felt with disc breaks while my husband chatted up other riders who were 8 to 80 years old and rode all sorts of bikes.

Meadowbrook Park 7:15pm: It's Friday night in Urbana, Illinois and a pink full moon so we're biking 11 miles to get ice cream!

Around 7:25pm the organizers made a few announcements until “We can’t hear you! Let’s ride!” ruled the day.

The organizers made it clear in the invite:

EVERYONE IS INVITED. This is a community event It is not a sanctioned event by any bicycle club, group or individual. Family, friends, co-workers, groups, individuals are invited. Please invite at least ONE of your friends!

They also suggested following these three rules:

  • Cyclists are responsible for their own safety and navigation.

  • Use lights at night.

  • Wearing a helmet is a VERY GOOD idea.

Some cyclists raced the 11 miles to the Sidney Dairy Barn. While others rode at a steady pace, turned on bike lights and watched the pink moon rise over the newly planted fields.

​We were passed by groups of late starters on handmade tall bikes, barely held together cruisers and racing bikes. The ride was very social with many discussion and all manner of topic.

Illinois’ rural farm roads are narrow and laid out in one mile intersecting grids. They are designed for large farm equipment, light car traffic and gaggles of late night cyclists.

Once you get out to the rural roads there are few cars. Those that do drive there, must drive with caution as the roads are unlit and narrow.

The Pink Moon

Each month the organizer includes an explanation of the month’s celestial body’s nickname. He explained that April's Full Pink Moon came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for April’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.

Sidney Dairy Barn after pink full moon cyclists descend upon it. The ride was a bit cold. But the company was charming.

We arrived at the Sidney Dairy Barn whose sign appeared like a beacon in the darkness. We got in line for ice cream and realized it had become quite cold. After eating frozen treats, my husband and I decided to ride back by ourselves as quickly as our tired legs and slow bikes could take us.

Perhaps part of the appeal of the ride is the slightly scary ride back. It is dark. Really dark. You see some light in the distance and think “I will bike toward that—but what if it is a mirage?” At some point I turned on Siri and asked her to take us home. She wisely suggested we turn down a dark skinny road with a tiny sign. Soon we were out of the "prairie farm field wilderness" and a few miles from home.

We both look forward to doing our next Full Moon ride. But will pack additional warm clothes, fully recharged phones and all the bike lights!


About the Author

Annie F. Adams is a seasoned bike commuter, having ridden daily in Chicago and later in Urbana, IL. Her motto is Bike Nice!

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