For the seventh straight year, hundreds of cyclists will hop on their bikes and pedal from the starting line of the Boston Marathon route all the way to Boylston Street.
The annual Midnight Marathon Bike Ride, a tradition that has attracted a swell of bike enthusiasts since it was founded, will take attendees along the 26.2-mile course in the dead of night this Sunday — hours before runners line up for the race.
The event ends with a pancake breakfast.
Greg Hum and a group of close friends started the midnight ride in 2009. It is hosted by BostonSOS, the organization responsible for spontaneous, free events such as the No Pants Subway Ride.
“Part of the magic of this ride, and why it’s so cool to do with friends, is we take our bikes down to the starting line and feel like we are part of this major tradition,” Hum said.
The other draw is taking over the roadway in the middle of the night, when there is little traffic.
So far, at least 250 people have committed to joining the ride. But, if last year’s numbers and the head count on the event’s Facebook page are any indication, Hum expects at least 750 people to join in.
“There were so many people last year, it was hard to count,” he said.
The event is not affiliated with the Boston Athletic Association, which hosts and organizes the Boston Marathon.
As they did last year, Hum and supporters organized a “Truck ’n Train” program for riders, giving them the option to purchase a ticket to have their bikes shipped to Southborough, near the starting line in Hopkinton.
Those who opted for the bike delivery service will hop on an MBTA commuter rail train to Southborough Station where they will be reunited with their bikes.
Money raised through the program will go toward local bike organizations, including Bikes Not Bombs and the Boston Cyclists Union, he said.
Cyclists were able to pick which charities they wanted to receive their contributions when they purchased tickets for the delivery service.
“The best way to give money back was to use a democracy-type approach, and to distribute proceeds to whatever organization people wanted it to go to,” he said.
Others typically get dropped off at the meeting spot. The ride is meant to be leisurely and participants are encouraged to go at their own pace.
The group has also teamed up with the Wellesley College Sustainability Office this year, Hum said.
Once cyclists reach the school, which is near the halfway point along the route, there will be a rest stop and tent where they can refill water bottles, plug in a stereo for a music break, eat, and use restrooms.
“It was the least we could do to help out,” said Sharon Bort, the college’s sustainability coordinator.Steve Annear can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.