HOPEWELL VALLEY: Super Moon Bike Ride planned at Mercer Meadows

After the sun sets Saturday, Aug. 29, a full moon will provide illumination as bicyclists ride along Rosedale Lake through meadows and under the tree canopy in wooded sections of Mercer Meadows in Hopewell Township.
They will be participating in the second annual Super Moon Bike Ride at Mercer Meadows, sponsored by the Lawrence Hopewell Trail and Mercer County Park Commission.
All riders ages 12 and up are invited to participate in the 6-mile loop along the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, the Maidenhead Trail and the Twin Pines Trail.
The ride, expected to take about 45 minutes, is free to all, although donations would be appreciated. Advance registration for every rider in the family is recommended; visit www.lhtrail.org.
“We are expecting this to be another spectacular nighttime ride through one of New Jersey’s premier open spaces, Mercer Meadows, and along the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, a spectacular biking and walking trail that runs through Hopewell and Lawrence townships,” said Jay Watson, LHT board member and curator of the Super Moon Ride. “If skies are clear, this will be a super ride on the night of an amazing full moon.”
Mr. Watson said this year’s ride will be staffed with volunteer trail guides, and the LHT and Mercer Meadows are taking many additional steps to ensure smooth riding. In the inaugural ride last August, 500 people participated, about 400 more than expected based on advance online registrations.
“We encourage people to check in before 9 p.m., and we will begin rolling out at 9 when we expect the full moon to be fully visible,” Mr. Watson said. “We also encourage people to use front lights on their bicycles, especially in the canopied areas of the route, which can be quite dark.”
Mercer County Parks Commission Executive Director Kevin Bannon added, “We are looking forward to hosting the second annual Full Moon Ride, and we will be fully staffed to ensure the safety and comfort of our guests. It’s a special treat for us to welcome area residents to the park after dark in this special collaboration with the Lawrence Hopewell Trail, which we have made the backbone of the Mercer Meadows trail system.”
At the ride, limited glow sticks will be provided to light participants’ bikes. Bike lights will be available for a small charge. Ice cream vendors will be on hand, too.
Helmets are required for all riders between 12 and 17 in accordance with New Jersey law.
Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said, “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.”
The LHT and Mercer Meadows are hosting this event to take advantage of the visibility provided by the full moon, also known as a perigee moon when the moon does its closest flyby of the earth, making the moon appear much larger than usual, Mr. Watson said.
Should there be any question about weather impacting the ride, visit the LHT website Aug. 29. The LHT will post information about cancellation should that be necessary.
The Lawrence Hopewell Trail is a 20 mile + bicycle and pedestrian trail and transportation corridor through public and private land in Lawrence and Hopewell townships in Mercer County.
The idea for the LHT grew out of a commitment to improving the quality of life for all of those who work in the region. The LHT supports an active, livable and sustainable community with alternative forms of transportation to reduce the reliance on automobiles. It also promotes health and fitness, recreation and outdoor education.
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 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 also is a popular activity at the park’s four water bodies.
For more information, visit www.mercercountyparks.org. 