Biking by moonlight

Jessica and Aaron Lackman of Holts Summit pull into the Hy-Vee parking lot after riding 15 miles in the Department of Parks and Recreation’s annual Tour de Jeff Moonlight Bike Ride. The Lackmans brought with them their two children, Isabel, 4, and Ethan, 1. “It was a great night for riding,” Jessica said.

Jessica and Aaron Lackman of Holts Summit pull into the Hy-Vee parking lot after riding 15 miles in the Department of Parks and Recreation’s annual Tour de Jeff Moonlight Bike Ride. The Lackmans brought with them their two children, Isabel, 4, and Ethan, 1. “It was a great night for riding,” Jessica said.

At times, the only light lighting the roadway during the Tour de Jeff Moonlight Bike Ride early Sunday morning was a yellow supermoon shining in the night sky.

Nearly 300 people rode their bicycles in the annual 2 a.m. event, which is held during the summer supermoon. Last year, the event was held in the early morning of Fourth of July.

“It really was a beautiful ride,” said Sharon Buffington. “I didn’t realize how challenging it would be, but the night couldn’t have been better.”

This year’s Tour de Jeff was her first, and Buffington hopes that next year her husband will join her in the twilight ride.

“This year, my goal was just to finish,” she said.

The 15-mile bike ride began and ended at Hy-Vee, 3721 W. Truman Blvd. Following the event, a group of boys sat outside the grocery, eating a box of ice cream cones and reminiscing the ride’s events.

They said they made their ride even longer by biking through Memorial Park.

Ken Hoerchler, father to two of the boys, said the hill at Stadium Boulevard and Edgewood Drive is always a reality check.

The course ran from Hy-Vee along Truman Boulevard to Missouri Boulevard, and then Missouri Boulevard to Highway 179. It then turned onto West Edgewood Drive and onto Southwest Boulevard. It snaked along Ellis Boulevard, Moreau Drive, Clark Avenue, Ash Street and High Street, before coming to a pit stop on Madison Street at Gumbo Bottoms Ale House. The route continued on Capitol Ave., around the Capitol, and then followed Main Street back to Hy-Vee.

Like Buffington, Sunday was Kathy Frese and her son Justin’s first Tour de Jeff.

“It’s something fun for us to do together,” Kathy said.

The duo even bought lights for their bikes to assist the moon in lighting their way.

Stacey Reeves of Holts Summit iss a veteran of the Tour de Jeff, participating in the annual event for nearly 20 years.

“I’ve done it since I was a kid,” she said. “It’s something fun, so now I bring my kids.”

If you would like to experience an event like the Tour de Jeff, but on a larger scale, St. Louis offers the 50th Annual Moonlight Ramble Aug. 17. For more information on the event, visit www.moonlightramble.com.

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