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The Moonlight Tour

13/10/2015
The Moonlight Tour

Rome by night has a strange alluring nature and on nights of full moon, this allure grows into something different altogether. It charms adventurers, businessmen in suits and John Does alike to gather and roam the city streets; on bikes; by the hundreds. Sometimes even thousands; that is how many full moon bikers gathered last Monday for the red full moon. The monthly event is organised by a Facebook group that has gathered a steady following of bikers who follow whoever happens to be at the lead - usually one of the group organisers. Talking to the participants, you quickly understand that part of the pleasure is not knowing where the trip will lead. Every Full Moon Bike tour starts the same way; meet-up at 8 pm in Piazza del Popolo, departure at 8:30 or 9ish, after that, nothing is sure except that the scenery of the 10-15 km tour will exceed any expectations.

Biking in Rome can be risky for novices due to the difficulty of building biking lanes in the narrow streets and the consequential improvisation of rules by both bikers and drivers, in order to cope with one another. This can make a biking experience somewhat challenging for the fainthearted, although any worries disappear when biking along with several hundred kindred spirits.

In order to participate, all you need is a bike and knowledge of how to get to Piazza del Popolo by 8 pm on a full moon night. The former is easily arranged, there are many bike rental shops around Rome (one of the biggest being Bici & Baci), most of which will provide you with a map and some general information regarding traffic rules. Alternatively, you could ask for information on the aforementioned Facebook group where, especially if you have any special requests, the members will be happy to recommend their favourite custom, fixed gear, sports, fat-tire or high-top bike shop.

Part of the pleasure of this gathering is marvelling at the menagerie of two-wheeled species and their riders wildly mixing as the sky darkens. The palette ranges from neon spandex on ultra-light bikes, over boom box equipped bmx’s, to corduroy on homemade double frames, including groups with balloons, flags, top hats or other fancy attire to ensure keeping track of one another or simply for the fun of it.

The tour usually lasts between two and three hours, travels at a relatively modest pace and is highly recommended for anyone wishing to experience moonlit Rome in all its splendour, including the romans who make this bustling cove of joviality truly come to life.

 

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