#FeelGoodFriday: Moonlight Mass

It started as a casual night bike ride with friends, but Moonlight Mass now draws a thousand-plus strong peloton each month. EWN learns how the full moon inspired two Capetonians to take back the city's streets two wheels at a time.

Hundreds of cyclists pour down Long Street on 4 February 2015 as part of the monthly Moonlight Mass night ride in Cape Town. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - The full moon has had a tough time over the centuries. This particular part of the lunar cycle has been blamed for many a malady, not to mention the nasty habit of making some unfortunate souls sprout a coat of hair and a set of fangs.

But for once it can unashamedly take pride in itself for luring a different kind of night owl onto the streets.

In January 2012 Capetonians Daniel Graham and Elad Kirshenbaum decided to make use of the moonlight to enjoy a social night bike ride, giving birth to Moonlight Mass.

The word was put out on social media and the monthly event quickly started gaining momentum.

Just over three years later the 'casual ride' has turned into a phenomenon, attracting more than a thousand cyclists on a fair evening.

And you don't need to be familiar with the lunar calendar to recognise a Moonlight Mass evening. The surprising number of bicycles in the vicinity of Cape Town Stadium quickly gives it away.

Cyclists of all shapes and sizes start to assemble in Green Point, where the ride traditionally starts, before the 9pm start time to socialise. The area fills with all manner of mobile Capetonians - some choosing to unicycle, skate or rollerblade the 12km route.

While the growing event has no doubt irked city and traffic officials, who had to step in to help manage the outsized posse, Moonlight Mass has been able to go ahead thanks to some out-of-the-box thinking.

Some strategic traffic management along the route allows cars and cyclists to get along without too much hassle. By the time the group pours down Long Street, where the route ends, many 'whoops' and whistles can be heard from appreciative party-goers.

Co-founder Daniel Graham says no rules apply, other than those of the road - to wear helmets, use lights and show consideration to others.

Judging by the amount of first-timers at the February event, there's no knowing where Moonlight Mass will go. Graham hopes the event may be replicated elsewhere, so other South Africans can also experience the joy of reclaiming their cities' streets.