Cyclists brighten night during sixth annual Moonlight Ride

DEREK OPERLE | The Sun

A group of cyclists from St. Louis lines up at the start of the sixth annual Moonlight Ride at BikeWorld on Saturday night. The yearly Paducah Cooperative Ministry fundraiser drew in over 500 riders and upwards of $15,000 toward the nonprofit's cause.

Streets around Paducah's downtown and midtown lit up Saturday night as more than 500 cyclists participated in the sixth annual Moonlight Ride.

Hosted by Paducah Cooperative Ministry -- a local interfaith organization that helps anyone in need of food, shelter and other household items -- and sponsored by BikeWorld and Chain Reaction Cycling Club, the event is one of the group's larger fundraising efforts throughout the year. This year it raised more than $15,000, Executive Director Heidi Suhrheinrich said.

"It's just gotten better and better every year really," she said.

Before the 10-mile ride, participants celebrated the occasion with treats and entertainment in the BikeWorld parking lot from the McCracken County Cooperative Extension Service, Broadway United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian of Paducah, McCracken County Public Library and Paducah Bank.

Suhrheinrich appreciates the joy the event generates, along with the funding assistance.

"It's such a great event because it's not just raising money, everyone that comes has a really great time," she said. "This event is for the whole family. Anyone can do it, whether you're 6 years old or 80. It's good, clean fun. The Moonlight Ride is just a great way to celebrate summer."

Martha Emmons, one of the owners of BikeWorld, cherishes the diversity of the crowd that shows up to support the event.

"It brings together people from all backgrounds and walks of life, people who are dedicated cyclists that rode 100 miles already were here and for one little girl this was the first thing she's done after getting her training wheels off," Emmons said. "I've seen people as old as 92 and as young as 4 on the ride.

"The Moonlight Ride really brings out the romance of summer and nighttime. It incorporates all of that, and even better, it does real good in our community."

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