Charge your lights, get some bright kit on, round up your bunch and get ready for ‘Ride the Night’, Melbourne’s first ever mass-participation night-time riding event.
The only catch – get it quick as this event is close to reaching its 2,200 participant limit.
Yep – that’s right, 2.2k riders are anticipated to be weaving their way in and around the city on 31st January 2015.
The 70km journey is set to be more than just a spin in the dark – even organisers Bicycle Network, FebFast and Youth Support + Advocacy Service are planning festival stops along the way. Think local DJs, food trucks, coffee carts and even a silent disco. Not your average twilight whirl!
The festival fun kicks in from 10pm, but cyclists will roll out from St Kilda Rd as the clock strikes midnight.
Entries will be supporting Youth Support + Advocacy Service, which is all about helping youth and their families overcome drug and alcohol issues.
A great classic Melbourne ride; a top local cause. We caught up with Event Organiser Josh Comer:
What is your background, Josh?
My day job is to run the event FebFast, and Ride the Night has sprung from that. The link between the two is the cause. It’s a big task to organise any inaugural event but it’s coming along well. We are pretty thrilled that we’re this close to selling out already.
How will you be policing things so that randoms (who haven’t registered and therefore supported the cause) won’t be part of the mix?
We have a small army of volunteers who will be out on the roads marshalling the event and helping to ensure safety of all riders.
All riders will be given a glow-in-the-dark wrist band which will identify them as part of the event. The wristband is compulsory for accessing each of the stops organised along the way.
Is there are lead rider and someone bringing up the rear, or can people go at their own pace?
Absolutely we want people to go at their own pace, but this is not a race. This is a chance to cruise around the streets of Melbourne at night, with your mates, and just to soak it all up.
That said if you find yourself bringing up the rear we will have a sag wagon nearby that can help out. Also the route essentially loops back on itself so that’s a chance for riders who might want to shave off some kilometres to simply jump on the bunch returning.
It’s important to us that everyone who starts this event finishes it.
Why this particular kind of event? What inspired you to go down the path of a Night Ride?
I am not a professional or avid cyclist but I do ride – I am more of a commuter.
FebFast is all about giving up a habit to support a good cause. It made sense to compliment that with taking up an activity that was really good for health and wellbeing, hence Ride the Night.
Melbourne has become such a passionate bike city – it made sense for us to turn to the bike. The fact we’re doing it at night is obviously resonating with a lot of people who love Melbourne, and a lot of people who love riding.
Who designed the ride route and what was the goal when planning it?
We have been working with Bicycle Network, who are the experts in delivering bicycle events. They’ve designed this route with predominately two things in mind; making the most of great existing bicycle infrastructure and making the most of exceptional and iconic Melbourne sites.
How many riders are you anticipating?
Looking to hit 2,200 quite soon – this has really exceeded our expectations.
Have you modelled this off an overseas event?
Not really. Our approach was that there was nothing in Australia like this. Since starting to create this event I have heard that there are others overseas, but we have not modelled ourselves on any of them.
What food trucks will be along the way?
We are talking with a few and we want to make sure everyone’s well hydrated and nourished throughout the event. Names are still being finalised so stay tuned!
Will you have places for people to park their bikes if they stop?
We will provide riders with a wealth of info prior to the event but in terms of storage there will be dedicated areas for bikes, in particular at the end, and these will be manned by security. That said we’re encouraging people to bring their own locks, especially for use at the other stop-offs along the way.
We don't want to jinx you but if the weather forecast is really, really bad will you delay/ reschedule or will you be going ahead come rain or shine?
January 31 – surely the weather will be great?! We’re planning for best case scenario but preparing for the outside chance of bad weather. Participant safety is our utmost concern so if weather is particularly bad we might look at postponing. But we’re staying positive for now.
Are you doing anything in terms of limiting car traffic along any areas of the route?
We’re quite lucky – we’ve been in touch with all emergency services and they’re happy we’re doing this in the middle of the night given there is less traffic. One lane of traffic will be closed in parts but by and large people will be on bike lanes.