The Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride: it's one of my favorite events of the year. Some people look forward to Spring Classic. Others to the first bike commute of the year, or perhaps the start of the Brevet Series. Not me. I wait with bated breath for the one tiny glimmer in the midst of the banal phase of the cycling calendar that is the month of July: The Midnight Bike Ride
The reason? It's a fun ride that I can drag my friends along to. But mostly, it's the stretch of subterranean street known as the Meritex compound. After slogging up two decent grades on Prairie Star Parkway, you earn the right to descend into the chilly, humid caves. It's somewhat surreal and loads of fun; worth the price of entry on its own.
This year, The Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride isn't going to go through the caves. It won't even start at Old Town Lenexa. It won't even take place on public roadways. The organizers are holding it at Shawnee Mission Park, where families can do laps around a 4-mile loop to their heart's content (or until they finally shut things down). This, to me, is a Pretty Big Deal for several reasons:
- No cave action
- A 4 mile loop is going to feel like a criterium
- A loop with kids is going to feel like an elementary school bike rodeo
- The hills around Shawnee Mission Park will force people some to walk the bike
I may still donate to the Optimist club and get the T-shirt, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be attending. Instead, I think I'm going to arrange my own ride, in conjunction with the Dark Side Ride group. It will likely be held the same night as the Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride (meet around 11:45PM July 11th, kick off at midnight), but it will probably be a shorter route than most of the other Dark Side Rides (because it'll start at midnight, not 9:00PM). I'm going to talk to some folks tomorrow and see if I can't get access to some caves to ride through.
I kind of have a route already planned, but I need to make sure I can use the caves that are along the way. If so, the start location would be just off the highway in Merriam, the ride itself would be less than 20 miles, and the out-and-back route would land us tastily close to a 24-Hour Denny's that we can hijack afterwards.
Interested? Leave a comment or e-mail me ( noah at kc-bike dot net )