Police Sgt. Tom McEwen patrols the campus of the University of Missouri–St. Louis. McEwen, an avid cyclist even off duty, has participated in the annual Moonlight Ramble. This year’s ramble is sponsored by UMSL.The first 300 UMSL students, faculty, staff or alumni cyclists who register before Aug. 9 can enter free. (Photo by August Jennewein)

For 50 years, many streets of St. Louis have been barricaded on the Saturday night of the August full moon. At one minute past midnight, thousands of people hop on their bicycles and safely ramble through city neighborhoods, cleared of traffic by police squad cars and hundreds of volunteers.

This year, organizers of the Moonlight Ramble have teamed up with the University of Missouri–St. Louis to jointly celebrate their mutual 50th anniversaries. The result promises to be an even bigger and better event on Aug. 17 complete with UMSL perks.

Registration is free for up to 300 UMSL student, faculty, staff or alumni cyclists who sign up before Aug. 9. Visit the special UMSL Jubilee Moonlight Ramble page and enter the code: UMSLJUBILEE. Registration costs run from $10 to $50 and proceeds will benefit HI-USA and Kingdom House.,

“We are thrilled to sponsor the Moonlight Ramble and share our 50th anniversary with another outstanding St. Louis tradition,” said Ron Gossen, UMSL Chief Marketing Officer. “It’s more than just UMSL’s name on a t-shirt. We’ve created a partnership that underscores our mutual commitment to St. Louis in a fun, healthy and energizing way.”

This year’s ramble begins at Busch Stadium Parking Lot C at 8th and Cerre streets downtown at the southwest corner of the stadium. The staging area opens at 9 p.m. for registration and packet pickup. A vendor village will offer food, refreshments and an array of bicycle paraphernalia.

The UMSL Jubilee Moonlight Ramble then begins at midnight. The route is always a top secret, but registered bicyclists will receive a map at the event. There are two routes to choose from – 10.5 miles and 18.5 miles. All participants receive a glow-in-the-dark t-shirt. Riders are required to wear helmets and comply with all City of St. Louis bicycle regulations.The traditional after party for riders includes snacks and drinks, and runs from 1 to 3 a.m.

The UMSL Jubilee Moonlight Ramble is open to all ages, but riders under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is required of all participants. Deadline for UMSL advance registration is Aug. 9. Packets can be picked up at participating businesses throughout the region.

Police Sgt. Tom McEwen, who formed UMSL’s police bike patrol in 1995, has participated in the Moonlight Ramble on numerous occasions, as a cyclist and a volunteer bicycle police officer. He can vouch for the safety of the event.

“Because so many people participate you’re always riding in a group,” McEwen said. “The Metropolitan St. Louis Police Department clears the streets and blocks traffic. Years ago, when there were more municipal and campus bike patrols, we would volunteer and ride in uniform with the people, helping out if needed.”

McEwen recalls riding through south St. Louis one year and out to Forest Park another. He said the routes are usually confined to wide, well-lit and maintained streets.

“Lots of families participate,” he said. “Some people show up in costumes. It’s a fun, non-competitive and safe event.”

HI-USA is an American affiliate of the Hostelling International network of more than 4,000 hostels in over 80 countries. Kingdom House is a St. Louis nonprofit offering a variety of social services including: child care, food and clothing assistance, educational programs, job training and programs for youth, teens and seniors.

For more information on the ramble, contact 314-613-7966 or esertic@stl.emmis.com.

Media Coverage:
South (St. Louis) County Times 

Maureen Zegel

Maureen Zegel