Three weeks ago today, I participated in the Moonlight Ramble, St. Louis' annual midnight bicycle ride through the City streets. Three weeks ago, Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed teen, was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson in the City of Ferguson, Missouri, just a couple of miles West of the city in the heart of inner-ring St. Louis County. The past three weeks have seen the heart and soul of this community rent wide as we face questions and issues that have been deeply buried for a very long time. I have been simply unable to post here about the event because of the magnitude of pain and uncertainty in our metropolitan area - pain and uncertainty that has touched people nation- and even world-wide. Stability is returning to the community, but we have a long road ahead of us yet, and a great need for healing and change. In light of the stabilization, I am now comfortable posting my review of the ride, but I want to name what happened the same day as the ride, and in the days and weeks that have followed, and which will likely be part of our story for a very, very long time.
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First and foremost, this event was huge! If there were around 1,500 riders at the World Naked Bike Ride-St. Louis, there were easily three times as many at the 51st annual MR.
The MR is a charity event that takes place at midnight around the full moon in August. The cost is $25 and nets you a participation number, tee shirt, and benefits Hostelling International. You can choose routes of varying lengths; our group choose the 19-mile route. You can read more about it here and here.
In our group, we had Jim, Mary, Monica, me, and Mike (below, L to R). We met up at Monica's home, about 5 miles from the race start, where we decorated our bicycles before heading to the race start (below). We then took off. The first couple of miles were so closely-packed that we went pretty slowly, but things spread out a bit as we progressed over the course. We rode through downtown, and into South City, through neighborhoods and Carondelet Park, and back through Soulard. Afterward, we rode to Uncle Bill's Pancake House, where we refueled while the sun started to peek above the horizon.
Honestly? This ride was on the short list of my favorite things I've ever done and I really hope to ride again next year and in future years. It was long, but I wasn't tired while riding - it was simply too exciting. That said, it took me about 36 hours to fully recover from it - I was exhausted both Sunday and Monday.
Here are some photos taken by my friends:
Also: You can read Mike's review of the ride here!