Ride Report: Sunset/Moonrise Ride, 13 Sept 2019

“How many riders are you expecting?”

I got this question posed to me twice on Friday. I always find this question interesting, since most of my rides don’t require registration. How am I supposed to know how many people are coming? Sure, I can get a few people tell me that they are interested, but that doesn’t mean that they’re actually coming. Nor does it account for those folks who are just going to show up.

No, the better question to be asked is: “How many riders would you like to show up?” And the answer for this ride is definitely: More than those who came in August.

Despite Thursday August 15th being a beautiful evening, I only had three riders, including myself. Part of that can be blamed to a post-Pedalpalooza lack of mojo: I got 100-125 riders for the June event, but due to fatigue, I didn’t do one in July. (And if I did schedule one, the weather for the July night would have been sub-par.) That means that folks probably forgot about my ride in the interim.

And it didn’t help that the sunset/moonrise for August fell on a Thursday, which is now dominated by the weekly Thursday Night Ride.* I had naively thought that since there are fifty-one other Thursdays in a year, I’d get some folks to show up to an event that by design can only happen with less frequency. And for something like my ride, the ideal window for waiting outside for one-two hours to watch it all while not getting rained on is from May to October. But the TNR juggernaut is hard to beat.

No, the best question to ask me is: “What’s the ideal number of riders for a ride?” I’d say ten to twenty-four. It’s a number that validates what I’m doing, for one. And it’s a decent size without being overwhelming. We can ideally talk with one another, and the ride doesn’t spread out that much. (With that June ride I barely saw the back of the ride.) When rides get too big, stupid things are more likely to happen, whether it’s because people let their guards down, rely on others to do the thinking, or feel that they can get away with it.

And ten riders is what we had for this September ride, a good number. We departed from Beaumont Market at 6:30 pm and rode three miles to Thomas Cully Park, which would afford us clear views to the west and east. Alas, it was a bit cloudy this evening, so the sunset was less than spectacular.

But the moon rise was magical. There was a thin gauze of clouds to the east, so we could see the bright moon behind them. Adding to the magic, the moon pretty much rose to the north (left) of Mount Hood, so we could see the silhouette of our mountain for a good while.

And then it was over. Everyone scattered, some heading on to take part in the monthly Midnight Mystery Ride that would happen later. Emee and I got some donuts and headed home.

While there’s a chance conditions could be ideal for an October Sunset/Moonrise Ride, I’m not counting on it. So this one is probably the last for 2019. We’ll be back in 2020 if you’re interested…

*There are rides that happen every Tuesday, but I don’t feel like they have the same amount of inertia as TNR. I’ve seen inklings of folks starting rides on Monday or Wednesday, but they seem to have sputtered out. The only other ride/event that comes close to TNR is Zoobomb, but that happens late on Sundays so there’s little interference with other events.

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