MITCH BARLOGA: Experience region at night with Starlight Express Pass

2014-06-05T00:00:00Z MITCH BARLOGA: Experience region at night with Starlight Express PassBy Mitch Barloga nwitimes.com
June 05, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Riding your bicycle at night offers an experience unlike during the day. The air feels different, as does your perspective on your surroundings. Having the darkness around you provides a special type of intimacy, which depending on your attitude toward the dark can either frighten or liberate you.

This latter attitude helps to explain the popularity of nighttime bicycling events. An abundance of them have sprouted up around the country over the last decade. The earliest of these was Chicago’s L.A.T.E. Ride, which takes bicyclists on a 25-mile cruise through a number of neighborhoods and finishes at sunrise. Another is the N.I.T.E Ride in Indianapolis. Both are very popular events, attracting thousands of participants every year.

Following the success of these events, smaller communities started to get in on the fun. The Calumet region is no exception, and offers at least four night rides during July and August. This year, the pedestrian and bicycle advocacy group South Shore Trails is offering a “Starlight Express Pass” for all four rides at one discounted cost. The Starlight Express Pass will cover full registration to the following events:

  • July 18: LaPorte Night Bike Ride – 13-mile event through LaPorte. For more information, visit www.cityoflaporte.com
  • July 25: Lansing LOOP (Lansing Overnight on Pedals) Ride – Offers 7.5 mile or 15.8 mile rides through Lansing. For more information, visit www.chamberoflansing/the_loop
  • Aug. 2: WHAM (Whiting-Hammond After Midnight Ride) – 25-mile ride through Hammond and Whiting. For more information, visit www.active.com, and search for WHAM ride.
  • Aug. 23: Valpo Night Ride – 15-mile ride through Valparaiso. For more information, visit www.ci.valparaiso.in.us

Each event will offer participants a free T-shirt, as well as other giveaways. A meal is also provided at the end of these events, which usually includes breakfast. You are required to wear a helmet at each event, as well as to equip your bike with front and rear lights. Please visit each event’s website above for more details.

To sign-up for the Starlight Express Pass, visit www.southshoretrails.org. For a free trails map of our region, visit www.nirpc.org/greenways-blueways. See you under the stars!

Mitch Barloga is nonmotorized transportation and greenways planner for the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission. The opinions are the writer's.

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