by Louise R. SHAW
ANTELOPE ISLAND—The sun had just barely set after sending a burst of rays through the clouds, when an orange moon rose from the hill on the other side of the horizon.
Those who’d come to Antelope Island to ride their bikes became photographers for a spell, grabbing their cell phones to capture nature’s show.
“It’s gorgeous,” said Kirstin Knapp, who had traveled to Antelope Island from Sandy with the oldest two of her five children.
“We come here a lot,” she said of the island state park. “We’ve come to hike, we’ve come to swim, but this is the first time we’ve come for biking.”
Knapp and her children were joined by some 1,200 others who came not only to bike the island, but to do it by the light of the full moon.
This year marked the 25th year of the Antelope by Moonlight ride, and as in past years, people of all ages from all over came for the adventure.
Jeff and Brenda Jensen of West Valley have been doing the ride together since they heard about it 12 years ago.
Their son is 11 and has been part of the ride for 10 years. Their daughter Brooklynn, in fact, turned nine at midnight on the ride.
“We started doing this together as a couple and when the kids were little, we’d take them in a trailer, then we’d tandem with them and then they ride on their own,” said Brenda.
The family also participated in the costume contest, taking third place for their costumes as super heroes and super bad guys.
Brett Teasdale came from Utah County for the ride, an event which was especially poignant for his family.
Teasdale and his brother were part of the very first ride 25 years ago, and rode the next year as well. But his brother died last October, so this year he decided to ride it again, bringing two of his children and his nephew, his brother’s son, A.J.
“It’s fun,” he said of the night ride. “It’s a little bit interesting, but I think we’ll do great.”
Families are just what officials had in mind when they started the ride 25 years ago, according to Neka Roundy, community development specialist in Davis County.
“We tried to do a fun event that people would look forward to every year,” she said. “It was important to us to keep it family friendly and fun.”
In addition, the ride raises money to help with necessary projects on the island.
Riders left from White Rock Bay beginning at 10 p.m., then took the road over the low rise and along the eastern portion of the island to Fielding Garr Ranch, 11 miles away.
The ranch was decorated with silver streamers in honor of the 25th anniversary and had a display of the T-shirts made for the event over the 25 years.
After entertainment and snacks, riders made the return trip.
Many dressed in costume to the theme of this year’s ride, “Ride of the Silver Serpent,” others had lights woven in their helmets and bike spokes. All were required to have lights on their helmets and bikes.
Barbara Kimball and Cheryl Chidester ride bikes often on Antelope Island and come “pretty much every year” for the night ride. As they adjusted blue wigs for the ride, they talked of why they participate.
“It’s fun dressing up,” said Chidester. “It’s one of our favorite rides.”
The ride is always scheduled for the night of a full moon. Because of haze in the air from fires in the west, the moon took on more of an orange glow this year.
“People had a good time in this ride,” said Roundy. “The weather was perfect. It’s really nice to be outside on a nice night.”