I first came across Moonlight Mass on Twitter in around October. I was absolutely thrilled at the idea, though disappointed that I could not join as I had initially thought. The ride starts at 9pm, so at a time when school was winding down and exams were coming up, it was just too much of a stretch for us to make it at that time of night all the way from Melkbos to Greenpoint and back. This time though, I was planning a full moon hike up Lion’s Head, which didn’t quite pan out and I suddenly remembered there would be Moonlight Mass. The decision was made. The full moon of 28th December would host the last Moonlight Mass for 2012. We had to be there.
I loaded the bike and rickshaw into my car early and eagerly anticipated the evening ahead. At around 6pm I was getting too antsy at the thought of waiting another three hours, so we decided to take a slow drive into town and get milkshakes beforehand. I was so relieved at that decision: I hadn’t taken into consideration that we would be meeting with Cape Town’s festive season traffic, and that although I thought I knew where I was going, it turned out I didn’t really. Eventually we found the Green Point turning circle and saw all the other cars parked and cyclists unloading their bikes. We met with the group under the bridge for a very festive vibe. There were all sorts of bikes and outfits. Damian was a little overwhelmed by being in a huge crowd at night, but soon got excited as well.
We set off at 21:15 in a tightly packed bunch, moving slowly past the stadium and around towards the promenade. We rode en masse along the beach front and then turned off and headed back towards Cape Town central where we regrouped to head down Long Street for the final stretch to Green Market Square for the finish. Damian got a lot of attention along the way. Surprisingly, people kept asking if there was a child in the trailer and came over to check. Why else would I possibly be towing a trailer? The church in the square (I unfortunately didn’t take note of which church it was) provided free cupcakes for all the cyclists inside the church. At this point Damian said he didn’t want to go home. He was now completely taken with the atmosphere and spirit of the group.
Once the vibe wore down, everyone dispersed and went their separate ways. This was the part I hadn’t taken into consideration – travelling back to my car alone at night through the streets of Cape Town with Damian in tow. Fortunately another family of three were headed in the same direction and so we grouped together to find our way back. We passed groups of other cyclists stopped off at coffee shops and the like with their bikes parked outside.
We made it back to our car and disassembled our bike and rickshaw, loading it all back into the car in record time. We rounded off the evening with McDonalds milkshakes at around 11pm and made our way sleepily back to Melkbos.
The actual ride is apparently around 12km with the trip back to the car around 8km. I was surprised how easy it was and a more comfortable ride by moonlight than in the heat of the day.
This is an event I highly recommend to anyone in Cape Town at full moon. There are a number of bike rental options available for those who don’t have their own bikes.