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Cycling in the moonlight: Tour de Jeff City set for Sunday morning

This weekend, don't be alarmed if you see a crowd of cyclists in the early morning hours.It's just the annual Tour de Jeff City Moonlight Bike Ride, slated to start at 2 a.

This weekend, don't be alarmed if you see a crowd of cyclists in the early morning hours.

It's just the annual Tour de Jeff City Moonlight Bike Ride, slated to start at 2 a.m. Sunday from the parking lot of Hy-Vee, 3721 W. Truman Blvd.

The popular free bike ride typically attracts roughly 250 participants and has been running for over 30 years now, said Phil Stiles, special events program manager for the Jefferson City Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. Stiles emphasized the event is meant to be a friendly, fun ride with friends. In past years, participants have ranged from young children to senior citizens, and a few from outside of the area.

"This is not a race, it's a ride," Stiles said.

The route will start and end at the Hy-Vee parking lot on Truman Boulevard and go along spots on West Edgewood Drive, Creek Trail Drive and Stadium Boulevard. There will be a water stop at the Red Wheel Bike Shop, 400 W. Main St., the event's sponsor.

The forecast for Saturday night and Sunday morning currently shows chances of thunderstorms. Stile said they will decide if the ride needs to be canceled on Saturday night. Typically, he said, there aren't any issues for the cyclists as long as there isn't flooding or anything like that.

With the coronavirus pandemic, Stiles said cyclists will be encouraged to physically distance to ensure everyone stays safe. They also encourage participants to weat helmets and reflective gear, as well as place lights on their bikes, preferably both front and back. Stiles noted they've had a couple of accidents over the years where helmets have spared people from permanent brain damage.

"On an event like this, people just need to be smart," Stiles said.

Participants should arrive early in order to complete the needed waiver beforehand, Stiles said.

For more information on the Tour de Jeff City, visit the event's Facebook page or jeffersoncitymo.gov/parkindex.php.