Riding through your city from midnight to dawn, surrounded by thousands of other cyclists, seeing iconic and familiar landmarks in an otherwise unfamiliar scenario, being entertained by live performances and fuelled by pop-up food trucks…
Sounds like you’re kind of riding? Well Ride the Night is back.
In fact it’s not only back, but after the success of last year’s inaugural event this 65km - 70km ride (distance depends on which city you’re riding through) has expanded and will roll out as the clock strikes midnight on Saturday 30th January 2016 in Melbourne, Brisbane and Hobart.
Some 8,000 cyclists are expected to be spinning through the cities, soaking up the atmosphere from midnight ‘til dawn, and helping to break the cycle of youth disadvantage as they go.
A Bicycle Network and Youth Support + Advocacy Services (YSAS) initiative, Ride the Night hopes to raise $600,000 in what is the country’s largest mass participation night time bike riding event. Riders over the age of 16 years are welcomed to the event, which is very much a feel-good social ride rather than a race (riders 16 + 17 years old must be accompanied by an adult).
We caught up with inaugural event rider and Ride the Night convert Angela Hird to get her thoughts on what to expect.
Firstly Angela, give us an idea of the type of riding you normally do
I ride casually on open road and a little bit off-road; I am more of a BUG than a Lyrca die hard.
Why did you decide to get involve in Ride the Night?
There aren’t many riding opportunities locally and the chance to ride at night through Melbourne was too good to pass up. Also, being from the county I felt this would be a really safe way to taste riding in the city. And, it was a fundraiser for YSAS, which was a bonus.
Did you go in it with mates or solo?
I intended to go with mates but they were too slow in booking and missed out. I met up with someone new who was in the same boat and we had a great time. I made a great new cycling connection!
What was it about the event that has you signing up again for 2016?
It was safe, and I had time to enjoy sights and landmarks I don’t see as a traveller.
The timing – from midnight to dawn; the fun and atmosphere of the event, the colours of the people and bikes dressed up, the camaraderie of the riders – all added to the experience.
It wasn’t a race and the volunteers did a great job especially given this was the first time it was staged. A group of us took a wrong turn at one point – the road was quiet and as soon as someone realised we turned back, no harm done.
What about the live entertainment and food stops – how were they?
We didn’t stop at most as the lines were too long! We did however, stop at the last stop to try out the silent disco and food!
[BikeExchange checked in with Ride the Night about this and apparently it was earmarked as a major area of improvement for 2016 – event organisers are promising more food trucks, more coffee vans and better set-up for big numbers to gain access]
So you’re back for more in 2016?
Absolutely! The route is similar but having the split start is a great thought as it will accommodate more riders. A bunch of friends are joining me this time [Angela and her group booked the day tickets went on sale – clearly her mates were onto it this year!]