An annual tradition is back.

For years local families have been getting on their bikes for a fun evening and night ride organized to encourage biking in the community. But it was put on hold. Now it’s back for area riders of all ages to participate.

The Lunar Bike Ride returns to Rome on Oct. 15 and this year takes participants to a new venue this year, with fun trails riders of all ages can enjoy.

The ride will take place on Friday, Oct. 15 from 5-8 p.m. at the GE Trails at Garrard Park, on the former GE property located at 1389 Redmond Circle.

Riders will be using the facility’s large parking lot as well as some of the GE trails.

This year’s event is a joint venture by local trails advocacy organization TRED and the Floyd County Police Department.

TRED’s Julie Smith said in years past, the event was put on by the Coosa Valley Cycling Association and used to be held at the mall and for a couple years at the airport.

“People loved it,” she said. “I know it’s been dormant for a few years and I’ve always wanted to bring this event back at a more manageable hour for families. We want to give kids and families a safe place to ride their bikes. And this is a great way for people who aren’t familiar with the GE trails yet to get to know them.”

Organizers will set a course utilizing the large parking lot as well as some trails for the course, Smith said. And the Floyd County police department will be setting up a “bike rodeo,” an obstacle course for riders who would like a little bit more of a challenge of their riding skills.

The cost is $5 per person. Helmets are required for anyone 16 and under and bike lights are strongly recommended. No registration is required, Smith said. Folks just have to show up, pay and ride. Cash, Venmo and credit cards will be accepted.

Organizers will set up free water and snack stations but food trucks will also be on site for riders to purchase food.

Smith said anyone who would like to wear a Halloween costume during the ride is encouraged to do that as long as it’s safe to do so while riding a bike.

This year’s ride is a fundraiser for the Santa Bike Patrol program which raises money to purchase bicycles and helmets for needy kids at Christmas. Smith said last year the program, also conducted jointly with the FCPD, raised enough money to purchase 65 bikes for local kids. This year’s goal is 100 bikes.

So aside from the $5 entry fee, additional donations will also be appreciated.

Chris Fincher with the FCPD said his department is happy to join with TRED to promote the family-friendly event and to raise money for the Santa Bike Patrol program.

“We are looking forward to the return of the Lunar Bike Ride, Fincher said. “The police department’s relationship with TRED is interwoven by our desires to help the community where we live. The work they do with trails and as cycling advocates goes hand in hand with our spirit of helping children have a good Christmas through our Santa Bike Patrol program. Our fundraising is off to a slow start but I’m enthusiastic that we will be able to help just as many kids as last year.”

And even after the ride is officially over at 8:30 p.m., Smith said, riders are welcome to stay and ride on the trails but cautioned that bike lights will be necessary since the trails are not lit.

For questions or additional information about the event, call Julie Smith at 706-844-8509 or email tredromefloyd@gmail.com.

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