Full moon this weekend—Sunday, to be precise. That means a moon ride is in order.
We here at the DM made a New Year’s resolution to go on a night-ride every full moon of 2014. Moon runs are something we’ve done on occasion in recent years (like this time and this). Don some lights, find some quiet roads or trails, and go for a spin under the primal lunar light: it can be magical. But now that we’re making a more systematic effort to do this regularly, it would seem that some establishment of moon-ride rules is in order. So here goes:
Roll within the moon-grace window. For our purposes, the Full Moon will cover a three-day period, with one day’s grace on either side of the actual full moon. As long as the ride occurs within that three-day period, it can count as a moon ride.
Ride when you have a chance to see the moon. The ride must take place at a time when, theoretically, the moon could be viewed. This means that at least some of the ride must happen in the dark, which, around here, means any time after 4:30 in the darkest winter and after 11 pm in the spring.
Eat nachos after. All moon runs must conclude with post-ride nachos and beer (in rare circumstances, alternative food items can be substituted).
Go for at least 15 km. The length of the moon ride is to be dictated by weather and road conditions, but, generally, we’re talking a minimum of 10 miles. Anything less than that and the eating of nachos becomes problematic.
Howl at the moon. At some point in the ride, all participants will partake in frenzied yipping, barking, howling, or yowling at the moon.
Toss around some moony nomenclature. At some point in the ride, it’s essential that someone utter pretentious moon words such as “waxing” and “waning” and, my favorite, “gibbous.” As in, “Hey, is that a waxing or a waning gibbous moon?”
Take bad night photos. It is de rigueur to rack up a gallery of terrible dark-sky photos and blurry bike lights.
Respect the moon name. Val is the acknowledged expert in moon lore in our group. I believe he consults some weird old Farmers’ Almanac he acquired in Iowa that lists the traditional First Nations names of each of the full moons: Hunger Moon, Crust Moon, etc.
Go dark, at least for a few minutes. At some point in the ride, all lights must be turned off, and the cyclists must ride in the black, with just the light of the celestial bodies to guide them.
(Columbia Bicycle poster image from Pryor Dodge's The Bicycle, Flammarion, 1996)