Avid Elk Grove Village cyclist Dave Simmons sometimes finds himself riding the trails of Busse Woods on his way home from work after the sun goes down.
“I just realized it’s a really cool time to view the forest preserve. It’s the stars. It’s the crickets. Everything about it,” Simmons said. “Nighttime in the forest preserve is completely different than the daytime.”
Simmons, president of Friends of Cycling in Elk Grove, got to talking with officials from Friends of the Forest Preserves. Together, they’ve come up with the idea to have a formalized night-bike ride through the woods.
The first Busse Woods Night Ride set for Friday, Sept. 25 will take cyclists on an 8-mile route, guided by a pacesetter at the front and someone in the back of the pack to make sure no one falls behind. Everyone will be required to wear helmets and headlights.
Organizers got permission from the forest preserve district to conduct the ride after taking district staff on a test run last year.
There’s 10 scheduled waves of riders, beginning at 7:30 p.m., with room for 25 cyclists each. Riders must be at least 12 years old to participate.
The $50 cost covers reflective ankle wraps and a post-ride after-party near the boat house. The party includes snacks, beer from New Belgium Brewing, a live band, bonfire, wildlife exhibits and flashlight tours of the preserve. Spectator tickets for those not riding are $10.
The registration deadline has been extended to 5 p.m. Tuesday at fotfp.org/event/night-ride.