My friend Phil organizes a late-night bicycle ride every month on the night of the full moon, and every time I’m able to attend I thoroughly enjoy it, even though I stay out waaay past my bedtime and miss out on my much-needed beauty sleep.

Phil calls it the “Fool Moon” ride  because the folks that go are a hearty (and hardy) band of court jesters from all walks of life: teachers, lawyers, engineers, writers, builders, publishers, social workers…even an air care nurse. We meet at 8PM, leisurely ride for 10 miles on a bike path and pull off to a spot near the Little Miami River where a large tree has fallen. The tree serves as a makeshift buffet table for the nibbles that everyone brings. Last night kimchi soup and venison were on the menu. We build a fire (and by “we” I mean “folks other than me because I’m not much of an outdoorsman”), eat, drink some adult beverages and engage in very lively (albeit sometimes rather juvenile) conversations. In the wee hours, we’ll put out the fire, pack up and head back to our cars.

Phil has been organizing the ride for years, and will go in pretty much any weather, year ’round. I’m a wimp, so I typically only ride in the warmer months, and only if full moon falls on a weekend. Last night was a blue moon, and it was a picture-perfect evening for a ride – not many clouds, and a temperature in the low 60s. 11 cyclists made the trip, from folks in their 30s to septuagenarians. There’s something very peaceful – and very primal – about being outdoors, in a secluded area of a forest, next to a river, near a fire, under the light of a full moon. It engages all your senses in a way that few other experiences can. Laughs ensue. Time flies.

On the ride back, there are a few clearings on the bike path where you can turn off your bike’s headlight and just let the moon be your beacon back home. It’s mystical. Magical. I find myself wishing the full moon happened more often. But if it did, it wouldn’t be as special.