Frequently asked questions
1. What is the Owl Ride?
The Owl Ride is Omaha’s nighttime urban cycling adventure. Some 2,000 riders participate each year, making it the largest night bike ride between Chicago and Denver. The ride benefits the Meyer Foundation for Disabilities, which works to improve the lives of people with developmental disabilities in the Omaha area.
2. Can I stop during the ride?
Absolutely – as often as is fun for you! The format is non-competitive and multiple Owl Perch rest stops are provided along the route where snacks and water will be available. This year’s perches will be in the Blackstone business district, Aksarben Village and Field Club. However, don’t loiter on the course too long or you will miss post-ride festivities at the riverfront.
3. What equipment is required to ride?
Front white light and a rear red reflector (state law).
Bicycle in good working condition.
A desire to have fun and a willingness to ride responsibly. Please see the Safety page for more information on safe participation.
Those are the requirements. But to optimize your experience, we also recommend:
Lights and decorations on your bicycle. The brighter, the better! Be seen and be safe! Decorate your bike and enter the Bright Bike Contest!
Bicycle water bottles, filled with water of course!
Cool, light colored clothing.
Driver’s license, extra money.
Spare tube, patch kit, pump (we do have bike shops providing support on the course should you run into problems).
There is no rain date, so be prepared and bring gear if rain or chilly weather is a possibility. If severe weather develops, please take warnings seriously and seek appropriate shelter.
4. Can kids do the Owl Ride?
The short answer is yes. The event is geared to be family friendly, especially with the 7.5-mile course. Kids of any age are welcome to participate. However, even that 7.5-mile course features a challenging hill coming up Farnam Street from downtown. Parents are urged to take into account their child’s riding ability. Tag-along bike extenders are another great option that allow parents and kids of all ages to enjoy the Owl Ride together. Any minor 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult.
5. What items are prohibited on the ride?
Alcohol is prohibited on the course. No pulled coolers are allowed.
We do allow music, but since the Owl Ride route travels through residential neighborhoods late at night, riders are asked to be considerate with with volume levels. We encourage riders to continue the courtesy they’ve shown in the past!
6. Will there be mechanical support for the ride?
Yes! The bike shops listed on our sponsor page will be on the route to assist during the ride. Also, one more of those bike shops will be available before the event at the Lewis and Clark Landing. Any need for assistance on the route may be reported at the next Owl Perch rest stop.
7. Where is the start and finish?
The ride will begin and end at Lewis and Clark Landing on the riverfront in downtown Omaha.
8. Where do I park the night of the event?
Parking is limited at Lewis and Clark Landing. Some additional parking is available north of the landing on the Gallup campus and throughout downtown. Riders are encouraged to park downtown and ride to the start.
9. Where do we check in when we get there?
All riders are encouraged to pick up their packets in advance of the ride. That will allow you to avoid checking in at the riverfront. Riders unable to pick up packets in advance can do so at the riverfront beginning at 7 p.m.
10. When should I arrive?
Come early and join us by 8 p.m. for the pre-ride entertainment and contests, including Bright Bikes Contest and the Owlet Ride. The ride starts at 9 p.m.
11. Where will any updated information regarding the event be available?
Click here and like us on Facebook. It is updated regularly with the latest information and discussion.
12. How long is the ride?
Riders have the choice of either a 7.5-mile ride or 17-mile extended ride. Participants must be prepared for the hilly terrain of downtown and midtown Omaha city streets. Please be aware that, while the route is accessible to casual cyclists and that reducing uphill grades was one criteria in selecting the route, it still contains many hills.
13. Will the streets be closed?
No! Riders must obey all traffic laws. While the route is open to all traffic, there will be support from volunteers and Omaha police officers at major intersections.
14. What should I do if there is a medical emergency?
Minimal first aid assistance is available at the start/finish and at the rest stops. For a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.
15. What will happen if the weather is bad?
The Owl Ride will take place rain or shine. There is no rain date. So please be prepared for wet weather, if needed. If severe weather develops, please take warnings seriously and find appropriate shelter.
16. Do I need a credit card to register?
A credit card is required to register online. You can register and pay cash during packet pickup and beginning at 7 p.m. the night of the ride.
17. What is the registration fee used for?
Proceeds benefit Meyer Foundation for Disabilities and its efforts to improve the lives of disabled teens and adults in our community. Fixed costs are covered by our generous sponsors listed at the bottom of this page, so all registration fees pay for your fun and support MFD’s good works.
18. What do participants receive?
All riders receive an Owl Ride moisture wicking shirt, rider packet, access to the rest stops, support during the ride and a post-ride fun! But really, the greatest benefit is the chance to cruise the streets of Omaha at night with hundreds of others in a safe and fun environment.
19. Our company would like to sponsor this event. What opportunities are available?
Please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
20. Have another question?
Please email us for a prompt response at: email@example.com.