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Two upcoming organized bike rides offer unique opportunities to check out some of our region’s most scenic spots.

On Sunday, August 10, the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) and the Mercer County Parks Commission are hosting the first ever Super Moon Bike Ride at Mercer Meadows. The night features a confluence of celestial events – a “super moon” and Perseid Meteor Shower. The ride begins at 8:30 p.m. at Rosedale Park. Riders will cycle around a 6-mile loop along the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, the Maidenhead Trail and the Twin Pines Trail. The ride, expected to take about 45 minutes, will end with water ice and ice cream.

“We expect this to be a spectacular nighttime ride through one of New Jersey’s premiere open spaces and along the Lawrence Hopewell Trail,” said Jay Watson, LHT board member and curator of the moon ride. “If skies are clear this will be a super ride on the night of a super moon!”

August 10 is expected to be a special celestial evening with the super moon, when the full moon makes its closest approach to the earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the moon seen from earth. And the night sky will be especially active that evening when as many as 50 to 100 meteors per hour may be streaking across the sky as part of the annual Perseid meteor shower.

At the fun bicycle ride, bike decorating will be encouraged and limited glow sticks will be provided to light up participants’ bikes. The ride is for ages 12 and up, and helmets are required for all riders.

“We hope individuals and families will join us for the ride. We will pass through meadows and forests, all on gravel paths that serve as the pathways through Mercer Meadows,” said Eleanor Horne, co-president of the LHT.

Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes added, “I encourage everyone who enjoys the outdoors to take part in this special event. It’s a unique opportunity to observe the wonders of the night sky while experiencing the natural beauty of Mercer Meadows along a great trail system.”

For more information, visit: http://lhtrail.org/trail-guide/events-along-the-trail/super-moon-bike-ride-registration/.

Then on Saturday, September 6, hop back on a bike for the Sourland Spectacular. Hosted by the Sourland Conservancy, this third annual bicycle rally will offer challenging routes for serious cyclists, as well as a shorter alternatives for more casual bikers. Routes of 23 to 63 miles are planned, all of which include climbing, as Sourland Mountain is beautiful, but not flat. The routes begin and end at the Otto Kaufman Community Center on Skillman Road in Skillman. All parking will be across the street at Montgomery High School.

There will be coffee and snacks at registration, and designated rest stops along the routes will offer beverages, snacks and bathroom facilities. SAG services also will be provided.

“The bike routes are through the large Sourland forest and adjacent picturesque farmland”, says Sourland Conservancy President Cliff Wilson. “Bikers also will ride by historic sites such as the Charles Lindbergh estate, site of the infamous kidnapping.”

Following the morning rides, bikers will join up for a gourmet picnic lunch, with brownie sundaes for dessert. All participants who registered by August 22 will receive a free insulated water bottle commerating the event.

Proceeds will benefit the Sourland Conservancy, a non-profit organization working to protect the ecological integrity, historical resources and special character of the Sourland Mountain region.

The 90-square-mile Sourland region is home to the largest contiguous forest in Central New Jersey. The sparsely populated area is home to an incredibly rich diversity of animal and plant species, many rare or endangered.

The registration fee is $40 per person, with discounts available for early registration. The fee for children ages 12 to 16 is $20. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more information, visit: http://sourland.org/spectacular/.

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Andrea Fereshteh has been writing for as long as she can remember. An avid journal-keeper as a child, she dabbled in dramatic notes to her parents and designed her own stationary. With a zest for small talk and meeting new people, she pursued journalism in college and worked for nine years in PR, writing and media relations for the higher ed and nonprofit sectors. She has a mousters and ducktorate from Disney University and is a mother to two lively boys who inspire her to just keep writing, just keep writing.

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