I have to start off with a disclaimer: I did not shoot that picture and it was not taken at Lake Okeechobee. It was photographed by David Haworth and I swiped it from his site, which contains some spectacular astronomical photos and some hints on how to take them. David was kind enough to allow me to use it.
What’s a Full Moon Ride?
Just like the picture, I ripped off the idea. Regis Hampton, a bike shop owner in Floral City, has been sponsoring Full Moon Rides on the Withlachoochee Trail for years.
After doing a couple of rides with Regis, I discovered the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST) and decided that Lake O is closer to West Palm Beach than Floral City and that it’s the same moon in both places. Besides, the view is a lot clearer without trees in the way.
The main difference is that I’m not as well organized as Regis. My approach is to throw out the question, “Anybody want to ride Lake O in the light of the moon?” and see who responds.
Depending on who wants to ride, how far they want to ride and what time they can make it, we come up with a schedule that is heavy on “ish,” as in, “I’ll be at Port Mayaca at 3ish and will ride north to Taylor Creek for a pizza, then back to Port Mayaca by around 7ish to ride north again to Chancy (7 miles) or Henry Creek (14 miles) and back.
The only promise I make is that nobody will be abandoned on the dike.
LOST weather conditions
The timing isn’t the best in the world this month. Moonrise is going to be 4:12 in the afternoon, so we’ll miss spectacular glow as it breaks above the horizon. One night I thought a sugar mill had caught fire until I realized that it was the moon coming up.
It’ll still be bright enough to ride without headlights unless it’s overcast. Flashers and headlights are still a good idea so that we can find each other and if we go off the trail to get something to eat. Helmets are encouraged.
The sun sets at 6:28. Temperature at 2P.M. is forecast to be 77 and 70 at 8 P.M., so it’ll be a little chilly, but not bad. Winds will be 7 miles per hour out of the SE at 2 P.M., changing to 6 mph our of the ESE at 8 P.M. Since we’ll be starting at Port Mayaca, well have a slight tailwind northbound and a slight cross headwind on the way back.
Port Mayaca is the starting point
Port Mayaca has good, safe (so far) parking and is easy to find, so that’ll be the starting point. If you are interested in riding Sunday, leave a message or a comment and I’ll let everyone know what’s happening. I have one rider lined up at this time. Our tentative plan is to get to Port Mayaca 3 or 4ish to get in some daytime riding, then be back at locks by 6ish to ride north under the moon. You’re welcome to hook up at either time.
If you’re with me, plan on a slow ride with stops to take pictures of wildlife along the way. On the other hand, if you are a speed demon, you’ll love the LOST because there’s no stop signs, no motorized traffic and very few other riders to slow you down.
Here’s a link that will show the access points along the northeast corner of the LOST.
Bring bug spray
Mosquitoes can be miserable for about 45 minutes around dusk. When gnats are heavy, I ride with a bandanna over my mouth and nose to keep from sucking them in. Glasses are advisable to keep them out of your eyes.
Bring along leg warmers, arm warmers or something to cover yourself if you’re on the chilly side. Extra clothing can also help keep the bugs off if you have to stop to change a flat. I’ll have a pump, but a spare tube is a good idea.
There is no drinking water nor restrooms on the LOST.
Don’t forget to leave a message or comment if you want to ride.
The Withlachoochee Ride if you are in Central FL
If the weather permits there will be a moon light ride this Saturday night, March 7, starting at 7:00, starting at Hampton’s Edge Bicycles located in downtown Floral City 8294 E Orange Ave., Floral City, 34436.
We’ll be going to Anthony’s Pizza Cafe’ in Hernando about 12 miles North on the Withlacoochee Trail. Parking in Floral City is behind the Veterinarian’s office and bagel shop accessed from US 41 just North of SR 48. It’s the lot you can see from the gazebo to the west. There is also parking in the Capital City Bank lot next door. Helmets, lights and flashers please