Midnight ride gets pedals pumping
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.