The 2023 Midnite Bicycle League Challenge is happening from January 1st to February 28th! Registration now open.
It’s a Challenge…and a Club!
Do you like riding your bike at night?
I’ve had a lot of fun with my Challenges over at Society of Three Speeds, so I wanted to do something that’s not specifically about three speed bicycles! Like Three Speed October, this is about riding your bike several times. And like Society of Three Speeds, you’ll get membership into an exclusive club, the Midnite Bicycle League!
I’ve always enjoyed night riding, especially when I have a good headlight. And winter (in the Northern Hemisphere) means the most night time to ride. Winter can be cold and dismal, so this is a way to inspire you to get on a bike during the long nights!
And it’s always fun to be part of a club, especially one with no meetings and minutes. Unlike Society of Three Speeds, the club does not have “open enrollment” throughout the year. The only way to join is by participating in the Challenge!
Back in the day of 2002 I was all about creating pseudo-societies, clubs that didn’t have membership beyond deciding to be a part of it. I was also into riding my bicycle after dark. So I whipped up a sticker to celebrate, and the Midnite Bicycle League was born. I gave the stickers away and slapped them on bike racks all over Portland.
One of these stickers caught the eye of Ayleen Crotty, who wanted to do something with it. She got in touch with me and asked if it would be okay to create a ride around the concept of riding bicycles at midnight. I gave my blessing, and the Midnight Mystery Ride debuted in February of 2003. Nearly twenty years later, this ride still happens every second Friday of the month, with its founding principle intact: A ride of about five miles, departing at midnight, heading to a mystery location.
Fast forward to 2020 and I wanted to do something with this Midnite Bicycle League besides making stickers and inspiring other rides. So a challenge and a club is born.
What is the Challenge?
It’s pretty simple:
- Ride your bike at night
- Each ride at least 3 mi/5 km
- Three times during the Challenge
- You can do a maximum of two rides in a week
The 2023 Midnite Bicycle League Challenge will happen from Sunday January 1st, 2023 to Tuesday February 28th, 2023. All times local.
What’s different for 2023:
- Slightly longer timeframe: The first (2020-21) challenge spread across three months. While it gave plenty of time for people to ride, it turned into a logistical headache for me. Plus, because people thought that they had “all the time in the world”, there was a panic amongst a few of you when I reminded people it was the last week of the Challenge. “What? I thought I had more time!” In 2022 I halved the challenge length to just six weeks. This year I’m making it a full two months, giving people a little more breathing room.
- A longer deadline for reporting. Last year you had to submit your journal by two weeks after the end of challenge. This year I’m giving you a full month! But please note: March 31st is a hard deadline. If you are in the US, your journal needs to be in my P.O. Box by this date, not just postmarked. (International participants need to e-mail me their journal by this date as well.)
- You need only three rides, but can do up to five. You still “finish” with three rides, but this time around I’m allowing for five rides in the journal. You do NOT get anything “extra” for doing more rides, though.
- Three Speed sub-challenge. Since I’m not doing my three speed challenges for the time being, this is a way to give something special to Society of Three Speeds members and other folks who like three speed bicycles. If you do at least two rides on a three speed, you will get a special sticker! No extra fees required.
- Bikes and Film Cameras sub-challenge. For members of Bikes and Film Cameras Club and people who still do film photography: If you record at least one of your rides with a film camera, you will get a special sticker! No extra fees required.
And here are the specifics:
- What do you consider night? We’ll consider it anytime between sunset and sunrise as “night”. You can check out a website like Time and Date to see your local times. And yes, local. You can’t start a ride while the sun is up and say “Well, the sun’s already set in Newfoundland”, it has to be between sunset and sunrise at your location.
- Rides cannot be a continuation of a ride started before sunset. You can’t just count the “after sunset” minutes/miles of a ride you started in (theoretical) daylight. Each ride for the challenge must be a unique ride started after sunset and finished before sunrise. The whole point of the challenge is to get you out after dark and ride!
- Also, you do not have to ride specifically at midnight. It can be any time while it’s dark, after sunset but before sunrise.
- Your rides must meet the minimum requirement of 3 miles or 5 kilometres, depending on which measurement system you celebrate. Yes, the ride can be longer if you want.
- You must do at least three rides between 1 January 2023 and 28 February 2023.
- You can do a maximum of two rides in a week. We are considering “weeks” to be from Sunday to Saturday. And this is important: The week starts at sunset on Sunday. So if you did a ride before sunrise on Sunday, it counts for the preceding week.
- Also important: Your rides must be on separate overnight periods (sunset to sunrise). Meaning: You can’t do a ride on Monday at 8 PM, then do one on Tuesday at 1 AM. Your two rides in a week must be separated by a daylight (sunrise to sunset) period.
- And finally: You can do a ride on January 1st, so long as it starts at 12:01 AM or later, your local time.
What do I get if I do the Challenge?
Everyone who signs up and does at least one ride, and submits their journal:
- A membership card with your member number
- Two stickers
And everyone who completes the three rides of the challenge and submits their journal gets all of the above, plus a patch made by Falls Creek Outfitters!
There is a fee of $35 USD plus s/h to register. This fee will cover my initial shipping of the reporting journal to you, plus the shipping of the prize pack and returned journal after completion. (Shipping of the completed journal to me is not included.)
When you sign up, I will send you an Official Reporting Journal. This journal will contain all the rules and pages for you to document your rides. If you are in the US, you must send me via post the physical journal. If you are outside the US, you can send scans/photos/PDFs of the journal
Registration is now open! Please go here to register.
2023 Challenge Timeline and Deadlines
- Mon 28 Nov 2022: Registration opens.
- Mon 12 Dec 2022: Reporting journals mailed out to registrants.
- Sun 1 Jan 2023: Challenge starts.
- Sat 25 Feb 2023: Last day to start challenge. Registration closes.
- Tues 28 Feb 2023: Last day of Challenge.
- Fri 31 Mar 2023: Reporting deadline.
- Participants inside the US: Physical journal must be received in the post by this date.
- Participants outside the US: Electronic copies of the journal must be emailed to me by this date.
- Sometime between May and July 2023: Prize packs mailed out to participants.
Updated 27 November 2022