I only learned to ride a bike when I was 9. For the longest time (9 years, because that’s how old I was) it was my biggest shame. But when I finally tasted the sweet freedom that came with speeding down the road on two wheels, I loved it. And that’s why the idea of Moonlight Mass is so cool to me.
The Moonlight Mass is “a casual night bicycle ride starting at the Green Point Circle on a full moon once a month”. I’ve been putting this off, coming up with feeble excuses and bailing on this for a year. And FINALLY, finally I committed and sealed the deal this passed January.
My experience was not really what I expected; a classic case of REALITY vs. EXPECATATIONS. And so, for your reading entertainment, a breakdown of my night from start to finiszh.
Dad (an avid and experienced cyclist): “You need a helmet! And your feet can’t even reach the pedals properly. Group cycling is dangerous hey! Your bum is going to be so sore etc. etc.”
(ER THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT DAD)
Me: “Ok, I’m going now.”
I decided to borrow a smaller sized ride, which, like the uber prepared individual I am, I rode for the first time, 15 MINUTES BEFORE the event started. BEST IDEA EVER. Ha. Ha haa. NO. Far from being my dapper steed, my bike was bordering on being my nemesis. The bike itself was cool , but ill-suited to my tiny frame.
My conversation with my bike:
“Please don’t let me fall. You know you’re making me look like I’m having a seizure. And not even like a sexy seizure.”
Seksie leg there bro beans.
Waiting underneath the circle, the sounds of laughter, wheels spinning, tyres crunching against the gravel, the general excitement was infectious. I got excited. When we eventually started, everyone began moving very quickly and simultaneously, morphing in to a giant wave of people. AND THEN I PANICKED.
“BECAUSE WUT ACTUALLY NAT, WOULD MAKE YOU WANT TO RIDE IN A GR OMG THAT WHEEL ALMOST HIT YOURS YOU ALMOST FELL. THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE. RIDE OR DIE. RIDE OR DIE. Now I know how you guys feel cast of Fast and The Furious. Yes Dom, I finally understand. I will get it tattooed on my left thigh.”
“Aneeqah! GO ON WITHOUT ME, LEAVE ME!”
And with that, my sister was swept up into the sea of people. And I…I was alone.
*Screen goes black. One single light shines on me.
When you’re out there, on your own, your killer instinct kicks in. My life flaszhed before mine eyes and by then I was ready to ride…or kill…or die.
Ride or Kill or Die. Sounds like a movie starring Jason Statham. Coming to cinemas near you this Summer! Someone ask Jason Statham if he wants to be in this movie. And then someone make this movie.
And then by some miracle I found my friends and all was well as we were reunited.
There came a point where my liddle legs were really starting to feel it, after all, they are like 5 cm long. And just like that, the universe decided to inspire me, in the form of Katy Perry. As we rode passed a restaurant, from their speakers blared “Rooooooaoo or or or orrrr”
Yes Nat, you got the eye of the tiger. You are a fighter. Nat, you can dance through the fire. I didn’t even realize that I was singing along quite loudly too.
To which a nice (?) man responded ” You have a great voice.”
Me: “Thanks. My shower head is very impressed with me. The bathroom tiles though, they’re my biggest fan”.
At this point, the hardship seemed to be over (haha, guess again!) and I’d gotten the hang of it and was starting to have fun and take in my surroundings.
RANDOM COVERSATIONS WITH STRANGERS
Neeszh (sister), this isn’t even glamorous. This is not at all how they make it look in the music videos! I don’t look cool. Screw you Macklemore and girls from Now and Then! No man! No man!
Man: Wow, that’s a pretty awesome bike you have there. Can I buy it? It’s practically a vintage diamondback.
Me: Diamondback? No. Actually more like Hard sore back. It’s not very nice to my butt.
Heeeeey. *two boarders slide up on either side of me* oh, we thought you were a kid, not like a grown girl. Cool bike.
“You have a lovely singing voice. Up the volume.” Oh sorry uncle. No. You’re a bit creeby.
Did you fall earlier? *Turns to his friends. See, she is that girly. She fell on tar bra.
Can you show us how you fell again?
You should know, me spilling food, breaking an object, bumping in to my car door or simply flat out falling is some how mandatory in my everyday life. And this nide was no exception. I mean come on, I had a bicycle.
So when I approached THE pavement I obviously had a conversation with myself.
No Nat. Don’t do it. Just stop. Don’t go over this pavement. Oh. Oh you did. Now you fell. Are you dead? Just check to see if – ok you’re not dead and nothing’s broken. I wonder if the fall was at least entertaining. I hope someone laughed. OBVIOUSLY MY DEMON BIKE IS FINE.
WAIT. WHAT? IS THAT? NO. As I catapaulted off my bike, a bit of snot literally flew out of my nose and landed on the pavement in front of me. When my brother came rushing to see if I was ok, the first thing I did was point to it and say “look, that’s my actual snot”. I don’t know why I felt so proud. I was and am fine though. I fall enough to put profezzional faller on my CV. For the next week I did play hide and seek with the many new bruises I’d find on my body.
Just to cheg that I wasn’t completely vrot on a bike, I tested my sister’s after and I WAS SO FINE. The level of fine, where I could actually be in the bagground of a music video (I’m not ready to be the lead. Calm down everyone! One day maybe).
I’d just like you know that as I write up this entry, my cat is laying at the foot of my bed. I am so sore I can only stroke it using my toe. Just the big one.
Big ups to the team from Moonlight Mass, the bicycle renting businesses and all the cyclists. I think it’s a really cool event and a monthly something to look forward to in our beautiful city. Either way it was a great experience and something I am super keen to do again. Go try it guys!
A better suited bike is really necessary, as is thicker pants. Or next time I’m just going to buy an adult nappy. Or stuff socks in my crotchal region for fear of breaking my nether parts.