Friday, August 14, 2009

The Friday Night Moonlight Ride

It is often said that fall in Flagstaff begins in August. Last Friday night certainly seemed to prove it true but then again, the morning also began on a brisk note. Warm glove weather will soon be upon us.

Last week, our dear friend and coworker, multimodal transportation coordinator extraordinaire Martin sent me a little e-mail to tell me that Friday night Flagstaff Bicycle Organization was hosting a 10 mile moonlight ride beginning in downtown Flag at the bus depot on Phoenix Avenue. Awesome for two reason - riding after dark is one of my favorite things and the bus depot is is directly across the street from Fratelli's Pizza, one of Bob's favorite things. Sign us up!

So we gathered last Friday night on Phoenix Avenue, after consuming a simple but delicious pre-pedaling cheese pizza, with some 40 or so bicyclists of all ages to travel by the full moonlight over the Flagstaff Urban Trail System to our destination, Fort Tuthill.

The gathered pedalers represented various realms of the Flagstaff bicycling universe. Mountain bikers I must say were strongly represented but I recognized several bike commuters I often see on my way to and from work, including these Breezer enthusiasts. Yes, it is truly a fine commuter bike.

Martin pulled me aside to show me his prized Breezer Mountain bike, which he has upgraded over the years. Joe Breezer no longer makes mountain bikes according to Martin, who extrapolates on the Breezer mythology with considerable fondness and admiration. He in fact encouraged me to keep mine locked in one of the interior bike racks of City Hall.

As anybody who has lived in Flagstaff for any length of time will tell you, do not expect to take a moonlight walk or bike ride without running into a skunk. They were present and accounted for but happily none of us were sprayed. I one I saw was quite large but high tailed in in the opposite direction when suddenly startled by a motion sensor light.

Not a natural photographer, I failed miserably in recording the moonlit trails we covered but they were simply too mysterious and dreamy for me to stop for any shots. The FUTS paths we traversed were mostly smooth and graveled with occasional gentle assents, nothing my Specialized Expedition couldn't handle. I was grateful that despite the full moon the Running Bob reminded me to attach my headlight to the handle bars but regretted I still had not replaced my flashing rear light.

At Fort Tuthill we bicyclists gathered to wait for the slower riders, mostly younger children and the grownups accompanying them. We chatted about our impressions of the night ride and I overheard one older gentleman gush to his wife over his cell phone that he could not believe how far he had ridden, making me smile as we had only done 5 miles but learned that riding 5 miles, even at night is more than manageable and definitely the funnest 5 miles he has ever crossed. The five miles, though, was enough for Bob, who already had pedaled at least 20 miles that day, including to his morning physical therapy appointment. We were less than 2 miles from home and decided to head in that direction. Without socks and the temperatures dipping down into the low 40's our toes were quite frozen when we reached our house but we were invigorated by the ride and the starry sky. After hot baths, we threw an extra blanket on the bed and, with carefully placed dogs on the foot of our bed,soon drifted off into a satifying Friday night sleep.

6 comments:

Dottie said...

Looks like a lot of fun! Night is often the most pleasant time to ride, with less traffic and cooler temperatures, but it's much better and safer to do it with a group.

Doohickie said...

I've done a couple late rides, leaving home just before dusk, and that's a great time to ride too.

Doohickie said...

leaving for home (riding from work)

Filigree said...

A moonlit ride sounds so romantic! I'd be tempted to make a dress out of reflective fabric.

She Rides a Bike said...

Skunks take a little of the romance away. I like the idea of a reflective dress for night time riding. I wonder if a reflective, fitted halter dress with some ruffles would make the ride romantic.

Phoenix Cycle Chica said...

We in Phoenix are SO jealous of your temperatures right now!! Can't wait until it cools down...