Every year about this time I hear ads for the Moonlight Ramble, a leisurely nighttime bike ride through the streets of St. Louis. Every year I think, "I should do that some day". Now I can say I have; last night Hubby Tony and I participated in the fifty-first version of the ride.
This year AARP was one of the big Ramble sponsors. Last month when I was reading through the group's Bulletin I noticed the local office was offering a limited number of free registrations. I quickly sent off an email to the contact person, and was excited to find out a couple of days later that I'd snagged one.
Last night at 12:05 AM (long after I'm usually in bed) Tony and I were on our bikes at the staging area just south of Busch Stadium along with thousands of others waiting for our turn to start riding. Around us was an incredible variety of people, from babies in bicycle trailers to couples on tandem bikes. Families were clustered together, and there were quite a few people in costumes or groups with matching shirts.
When we finally got the OK to start it took several minutes for the bikes in front of us to get out of the way so we could get moving. For the first couple of blocks things moved slowly, but eventually the crowd spread out. Despite the fact the organizers emphasized the Ramble is not a race, some bikers felt the need to go fast; they darted in and out of the pack annoyingly, but for the most part the riders were a friendly group that leisurely rode down the blocked-off streets.
There was a short (9 mile) and a long (19 mile) ride. We had planned on doing the longer route, but when we got to the turnoff we changed our minds. Only half the people turned with us, which made the rest of the ride less congested and more pleasant. It took us about an hour to return to the staging area, where a band was playing. We got some snacks and a drink, listened to the music for a while, and decided to call it a night.
On the way home we were already talking about what we'd do differently next year. I guess we've started a new tradition.
Five years ago today: Younger or Older?