2015 Winter Solstice Ride – Sun 21st Jun

It’s now less than a week until the fourth annual Winter Solstice Ride, and it’s shaping up to be the biggest yet. The longest night of the year falls on 21-22 June, so to celebrate here in Christchurch we will be having a fun casual ride around Hagley Park on the evening of Sun 21st Jun from 5.30pm.

Enjoying last year's Solstice Ride (c/ Bryan Muir)
Enjoying last year’s Solstice Ride (c/ Bryan Muir)

The ride starts near the Armagh St entrance to Hagley Park (fortunately currently closed off to motor traffic) and then proceeds in an anti-clockwise fashion around the periphery of North Hagley Park, using the paths, and back to the start. For those who want to prolong the fun, this year you can even ride around the park twice. After the ride, participants will have the opportunity to continue the conversations either at one of the nearby bars and restaurants (e.g. Fiddlesticks Bar) or over some food from the food carts that will be on hand along Rolleston Ave.

Two years ago, winter truly came out to greet us, with snow limiting the numbers to a hardy fifty participants. Last year, conditions were much better and more than 150 people took part in the ride. This year, if the Facebook page is anything to go by, we could be looking at over 2000 people attending! (maybe they all got a taste for things like this at last year’s Tunnel Ride?)

And I thought this was a good crowd...
And I thought this was a good crowd…

Having that many people will no doubt create some new logistical issues this year, so please bear with the team as they try to keep things moving. Please try to be there on time for pre-ride instructions; the extra crowds will make that trickier than normal. Remember, THIS IS NOT A RACE, and no-one will be left behind. Volunteers will be on hand to help guide/assist people during the ride. Enjoy the evening, take time to soak in the scenery, chat to your neighbour, wave at the passing traffic, and ring your bells! All ages are very welcome, although obviously if you have self-propelled young ones you will need to keep an eye on them amongst the throngs.

Being a night-time ride (sunset at 4.59pm that evening), the Winter Solstice ride is all about the lights! This year that’s even more relevant because it is the International Year of Light. So “bling” up your ride in the brightest, craziest, colours and lights you can find! There are some pretty cool “glow” products out there these days, and the bar seems to be raised every year for the most standout bikes. {P.S: Make sure that you use only your standard lights when riding to/from the event; technically it is illegal to have distracting or incorrectly directed lighting when on the road} If the weather’s not so great or a chilly night is in store, make sure that you are dressed appropriately for the ride too.

That's what you call lighting... (c/ Fairfax)
That’s what you call lighting… (c/ Fairfax)

Worried that your old bike might not make the journey? As luck would have it, next Saturday the friendly team at ICEcycles are holding their next bike repair workshop between 1-4pm at Delta House, Richmond. They can help sort out all those little “tune-up” details and even show you how to do them yourselves. And if Saturday doesn’t work for you, RADBikes will also have their usual workshop session in town on Sunday afternoon between 1-4pm.

No doubt, this will be a great event (thanks again to Ian Wells for making this happen every year!); it’s a pity that I’ll still be in Europe and will have to miss it this year (someone else please report on it for Cycling in Chch!). Any cancellation info will be available via the event Facebook page by 4pm Sunday (and only really severe weather will cancel it – that’s part of the challenge!). Have fun!

Will you be going to the Solstice Ride?

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