The Lawrence Hopewell Trail’s fifth annual Full Moon Ride will be a magical event, featuring a Mercer Meadows pond alight with floating lanterns, a ride through “Firefly Lane” with twinkling lights in the tree canopy, and live music, among other activities, on Sunday, August 26. Co-sponsored by the Mercer County Parks Commission, the event runs from 7 to 11:30 p.m., starting in the picnic pavilion area of Mercer Meadows Park.
“We are excited to offer a blend of nighttime experiences that tickle the senses, especially a glorious, six-mile bike ride under a full moon along the trails in Mercer Meadows,” said Jay Watson, creator and lead for what has become the LHT’s signature event each year. Watson brings his longstanding commitment to the environment to his volunteer service with the LHT and his creation of the Full Moon Ride. In his “day job,” he is vice president of the D&R Greenway Land Trust, and recently Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora tapped him to co-chair his Greening/Sustainability/Recreation/Natural Resources Transition Committee.
Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes reiterated his support for the LHT and the Full Moon Ride, which is brought to the public in partnership with the county. “For those who know and love the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, this annual ride offers a way to discover the splendor of the trail in a different light, while raising funds for one of the most worthwhile endeavors in Mercer County. Mercer County is a proud supporter of the LHT,” he said.
Before the bike ride, attendees are invited to bring a picnic dinner, decorate their bikes, watch a movie on a huge, outdoor screen or enjoy a campfire. The band, Sounds of Sandstorm, will perform contemporary, blues and jazz throughout the event.
When the moon rises, at around 8 p.m., groups of 40 to 50 riders will head out in waves from the picnic pavilion area of Rosedale Lake, riding the elevated edge around the lake before moving onto a magical segment Watson is calling Firefly Lane because twinkling lights will illuminate the canopy above riders’ heads. By moonlight, they will also pass lanterns floating on Dragonfly Pond and will be serenaded by classical musicians.
Adults and children of all ages are welcome at the activities prior to the bike ride, with the expectation that adults supervise their children at all times. The full moon bike ride itself is open to adults and children aged 12 and above. For riders under 18, helmets are required by law. The LHT encourages helmets for all riders for safety reasons, and also suggests the use of bike lights.
Participants are encouraged to carpool if possible. All participants should use the entrance to the park on Federal City Road, between Blackwell Road and Old Mill Road in Hopewell Township. The rain date is Sunday, September 22, but if rain forces the change, the program will be limited to the bike ride.
For each person riding the six-mile Full Moon loop, the admission fee is $20. Those who register by August 15 can enjoy a reduced rate of $15 per rider. There is no fee for participants who will enjoy the evening but who do not ride, although a donation is requested. The funds help support of the work of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail Corporation.
“The LHT is a nonprofit organization, not a government agency,” said LHT Co-President Eleanor Horne. “As such, we need to raise funds to cover the costs of trail building and maintenance, hosting cool events such as the Full Moon Ride, and covering our operating expenses. We so appreciate the support of participants in this event.”
Online registration is possible through 5 p.m. the day of the ride. After 5, participants can register at the event. Please visit the LHT website at http://lhtrail.org/fullmoonride to register online. The 2018 Full Moon Ride tee shirt is also available for pre-purchase or purchase at the ride.
The organizing committee for the 2018 Full Moon Ride includes Watson and Horne as well as Joe Pizza, Dave Buxton, and Wanda McNeill representing the Park Commission.
About the Lawrence Hopewell Trail: The Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) is a 22+ mile bicycle and pedestrian trail and transportation corridor through public and private land in Lawrence and Hopewell Townships in Mercer County, N.J. The Lawrence Hopewell Trail Corporation is a nonprofit organization that depends on the community for support. The LHT is a key member of the Circuit Trails an 800-mile network of bicycle and pedestrian trails connecting people to jobs, communities, and parks in the Greater Philadelphia Region. For more information about the LHT, please visit www.lhtrail.org
About Mercer Meadows: The Mercer County Park Commission manages diverse offerings within its more than 10,000 acres of parks, recreational facilities, and open space throughout Mercer County. Mercer Meadows, where the Full Moon Bike Ride will take place, consists of more than 1,600 acres, divided among five separate districts. Miles of mowed and gravel trails provide visitors and their families with scenic walking and biking routes through the meadows and woodland. Fishing is a popular activity at the park’s four water bodies. For more information, please visit www.mercercountyparks.org