Mid­night ride gets ped­als pump­ing

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - News - By Jon W. Sparks

Spe­cial to The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

The 10th Mid­night Clas­sic Bike Tour and Lu­nar Fes­ti­val, of­fer­ing live mu­sic, night­time scenery and a good work­out, be­gins Satur­day night and runs un­til the wee hours of Sun­day morn­ing.

The main event is a 17-mile bi­cy­cle tour that starts at mid­night, leav­ing from Chick­a­saw Oaks Vil­lage near the Ben­jamin L. Hooks Pub­lic Li­brary. The non­com­pet­i­tive ride — with po­lice es­cort — gets the scenic tour of a bit of East Mem­phis and mostly of Mid­town be­fore re­turn­ing to the start­ing point.

The bike ride and fes­ti­val, a fundraiser for Mer­i­tan, ac­tu­ally gets un­der way at 10 p.m. at the mall at 3092 Po­plar with a warm-up party. The band The Venus Mis­sion will per­form and there will be door prizes, bike checks and cy­cle prod­ucts from ven­dors.

“It’s a great way to spend an evening with friends and fam­ily and help a cause,” says Deborah Cot­ney, pres­i­dent of Mer­i­tan, which spon­sors the event. The non­profit agency, for­merly known as Se­nior Ser­vices, of­fers pro­grams for se­niors as well as spe­cial­ized foster care for chil­dren, as­sis­tance for the vis­ually im­paired, and pro­grams for the de­vel­op­men­tally dis­abled.

This is the 10th year for the event, al­though they skipped last year to eval­u­ate how to im­prove it. Now it’s later in the sum­mer than be­fore and the route has ex­panded. The po­lice es­cort is sup­ple­mented by vol­un­teers and sup­port ve­hi­cles along the route who can help if there are me­chan­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties or if some­one needs to head back early.

What hasn’t changed is the con­nec­tion to Mer­i­tan’s mis­sion. “We have a great em­pha­sis on fit­ness,” Cot­ney says. “We pro­vide fit­ness pro­grams in our se­nior cen­ters in Shelby and sur­round­ing coun­ties.”

In 2007, the Mid­night Clas­sic Bike Tour and Lu­nar Fes­ti­val drew a big crowd. Af­ter a break last year, it’s back Satur­day night with an ex­panded route through Mem­phis.

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