October 21, 2020

LHT Annual Full Moon Ride Is a Bit Longer This Year

TO THE MOON AND BACK: The Lawrence Hopewell Trail’s annual moonlight ride has been transformed this year, thanks to the pandemic, into a virtual trip to the moon. Participants have multiple options that include more than biking.

By Anne Levin

Yet another organization has turned a casualty of the pandemic into a positive opportunity. Administrators of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT) have transformed the annual Full Moon Bike Ride, a popular event since 2013, into something much bigger, longer, and more informal.

The 2020-2021 Journey to the Moon invites cyclists, runners, dog walkers, skaters, and even treadmill users to log as many of the 238,000 miles it would take to travel to the moon, on or off the trail. The initiative was launched on October 2, the first of this month’s two full moons, and the night the event would have been held if not for COVID-19. It runs through March 1, 2021.

Allowing that the 238,000-mile journey might be a big daunting to accomplish, distance will be recorded in “LHT miles” — equaling 22 miles each, or the actual length of the trail. That makes the virtual journey 10,818 LHT miles.

“We’re not sure you can cover 238,000 miles by walking your dog,” said Ruth Markoe, LHT board member. “So we’ve made this adjustment. But having said that, since we announced this a week ago on social media, people have already racked up 1,400 miles.”

Being fit and being outdoors are the goals of the initiative. “Plus, we want to keep the trail in people’s minds,” said Markoe. “We hope people will get out, get exercise, and hopefully take part in a real Full Moon Ride next year.”

Everyone, all ages and fitness levels, is welcome to take part. Groups are encouraged. “The LHT also hopes to inspire participants to reach out to friends and family around the world, joining the community in its efforts to ‘Journey to the Moon.’ With Halloween around the corner, participants are encouraged to log miles in costume,” reads a press release for the event.

The LHT is a key member of the 800-mile bike and pedestrian Circuit Trails that connect people to jobs, communities, and parks in the Greater Philadelphia region. It runs through public and private land in Lawrence and Hopewell townships, and is run by the Lawrence Hopewell Trail Corporation, a nonprofit that depends on community support.

The annual Full Moon Bike Ride drew about 500 people last year. “Every year, it’s gotten bigger,’ said Markoe. “It’s a great event and people love it. Of course, this year we weren’t sure we could do it. So we decided to call it off. But then somebody came up with this idea of a virtual trip to the moon. And it has really taken off.”

Participating in the five-month event is free. Those taking part can log their miles using the Journey to the Moon uploader (lhtrail.org/moon-miles/), and view the Journey to the Moontracker (lhtrail.org/moon-miles-tracker) to check collective progress.

On the LHT Facebook page, facts will be posted throughout the five months. “We’re thinking about songs, videos — anything related to the moon,” said Markoe, who hinted that a video of the famous TV sitcom The Honeymooners might be included. “People should join the Facebook group to post stuff.”

“It’s absolutely free, and you don’t even really have to sign up,” she added. “You just have to go on the website to the form, put in your name, email, and the date, and how many miles you did that day. It’s completely on the honor system. The whole idea is just, ‘Get us to the moon.’ Let’s see how close we can get.”