On Saturday, August 27th — as arguments over the need for bike lanes rage on in the comments sections of local media outlets — more than 1,500 cyclists will take to the road for a midnight ride to raise money for charity while reminding four-wheelers that they are also a part of the landscape.
"Our primary purpose is to raise money for Meritan," says Elise Bone, spokesperson for the Midnight Classic Bike Tour. "But over the years we have become close to the Memphis Hightailers [Bicycle Club] and into raising awareness for people riding bikes."
When the Midnight Classic launched a dozen years ago, 800 riders showed up. Bone expects to easily double that number this year. "When the event started, it was all people who bike all of the time," Bone says, reminding that a strong police presence helps to promote safety. "Now you see lots of families coming out to bike together. You see all age ranges and all skill levels."
The Midnight Classic Bike Tour kicks off at the corner of Poplar and Highland with a Lunar Festival featuring music by the Venus Mission, snacks by Gibson's Donuts, trick-riding demonstrations, and a few chuckers of bicycle polo.
"I don't think people are accustomed to seeing polo played on bikes," Bone says.
Midnight Classic Bike Tour & Lunar Festival, Saturday, August 27th, 10 p.m.-3 a.m., Departs from Poplar Plaza Shopping Center. Adults $35, students and kids $20. For more information or to register, go to midnightclassicbiketour.org.