Moonlight Ride – Central Park

[See the calendar for a complete list of upcoming events!]

Going strong since 1994!

It was very dangerous to ride in the streets of New York City so Time’s Up turned to Central Park as a safe auto-free location to build biker confidence. The Central Park Moonlight Ride offers cyclists a safe, fun way to explore the park at night.  A great draw for tourists, night-owls, lovebirds and regulars, the Central Park Moonlight ride recently celebrated its 23rd anniversary.  Since its inception, night-time activity has surged in the park, and car-free hours have greatly expanded.

This is a fun, relaxing auto-free ride through Central Park. Enjoy the tranquillity of the park & its beautiful ponds & waterways: a nature lover’s dream. Totally safe. Bike guides front & rear.

Meet at 10 p.m., Columbus Circle (SW corner of Central Park). Check the calendar for upcoming ride dates (usually on the first Friday of a month, but no longer every month as of fall 2018).

The ride moves at a very leisurely pace with a few stops to enjoy the scenery. We usually finish before midnight, back at Columbus Circle. Total mileage is under 10 miles. We do not require lights (although if you have them you should bring them), and any kind of bike will work.

Here’s what others have to say about the Moonlight Ride:

“Cycling and Socializing in Central Park” — New York Times, 2012

“Conventional wisdom says that when the sun goes down it is time to leave the local park. But riders at the Central Park Moonlight Rides in New York are far from conventional. . . . They pass up urban night life to enjoy the tranquillity of an automobile-free park and a perspective on nature accessible at night.” — New York Times, April 2006

“There’s an easy, unqualifiable magic to taking the park by moonlight on two wheels. It’s like pedaling into a fairy tale: Gliding past the lake, monuments, through dense patches of trees, we fight to hush our own giggles, reticent to break the park’s library quiet or scare off any park residents (fauna or faerie).” — New York Press, Best of Summer 2005

“Entering Central Park at night is generally as taboo as eating dinner before eight. But one Friday each month, it’s not only a a viable option but a magical one. . . . The evening was like a trip to the country — except for the spectacular shimmering skyline hovering above us like a halo.” — Time Out New York, April 27, 2000

“In the waning hours of the first Friday of each month, a group of bicyclists converge on Central Park for a spin through the dark corners of Manhattan’s largest yard. If you’re feeling worn out from a long week at work, don’t worry: you can ride at any pace you like, since the ride’s organizers . . . post riders not only at the front of the group but also at the rear.” —The New Yorker, October 9, 2000

“Move over, E.T. If you’re in the mood for a memorable moonlight ride, circle Oct. 4 on your calendar. The first Friday of each month, Time’s Up, an environmental group, leads a nighttime spin through Central Park.” — New York Daily News, September 30, 2002

Moonlight Ride FAQ

Q. How long is the Moonlight Ride?

A. It lasts under two hours, finishing where we started (at Columbus Circle) before midnight. In distance, it is less than ten miles, through some very interesting terrain.

Q. Where does the Moonlight Ride go?

A. The ride stays in Central Park, staying on the Loop Road and paths throughout the park. If the ride goes on a gravel path, there will be an alternate paved route for rollerbladers and others who wish an easier ride.

Q. Do I need a mountain bike for the Moonlight Ride?

A. No. A mountain bike is fine, but lots of people use ten speeds, and BMX bikes, and tandems, and fold-ups, and cruisers, and all manners of bicycles. It’s often fun to go just to see the different types of bicycles people ride.

Q. Can I go on the Moonlight Ride with rollerblades?

A. Yes, many people do. We would recommend that you are quite competent though as the pace is medium and there are small uphills and downhills to contend with. Also, you might want to bring a flashlight with you to watch the road surface.

Q. Are lights and a helmet required for the Moonlight Ride?

A. We recommend lights as it is quite dark inside the park. Since bicycles are hard to see, we think it is a good idea to have lights on for any ride at night. But it is okay to come if you don’t have lights. Helmets are not mandatory, but we recommend them too.

Q. Isn’t it dangerous to be in Central Park at night?

A. No, not at all. First, the dangers of Central Park are exaggerated, it’s a relatively safe place well patrolled by the police. Second, we are a group that sticks together, which increases the safety even more.

Q. Is the Moonlight Ride all year around?

A. It was monthly all year round for almost 25 years! Now we are taking a break and not leading it every month, so check the calendar to see when the next ride is.