Wednesday, April 1, 2009

When in the Netherlands Thou Shalt Cycle

This evening was glorious. Sunshine and blue sky. So we decided to try out the newly acquired toddler seat for the back of my bike and do a spot of pedalling.

We were cycling for a total of an hour and on our arrival back home, it was already very clear to me that tomorrow everything will ache. No doubt I will feel like I have been subjected to a torture rack.
Unfortunately, I am a fair-weather cyclist and am yet to embrace fully the cycling culture of the cloggies around me.
Whilst I admire their ability to cycle with a baby on the front, a toddler on the back, a crate of beer suspended somewhere on the rear side, saddle bags full of groceries and an umbrella in their hand - and all whilst 8 1/2 months pregnant - I have no wish to join the club. I am just not proficient enough to attempt such cycling heroics.
It was a big day when my husband took me to the local bike shop to get my very own fiets. It was the first bike I had owned since my childhood days. The salesman at the bike shop made it known during my proefrit (test ride) that it was clear it had been some years since my bottom had been on a saddle. He had the tenacity to laugh at my unique cycling style.....

It was an even bigger feat when we bought a baby seat for the front of my bike, and I successfully cycled with my son for two years without causing either of us any serious injury. Not that we have been out on the bike daily over the two years, or even weekly for that matter. At a push, aggregating trips out on my two-wheeler, I might squeeze it to a monthly achievement. But still, we are both unscathed and I radiate with pride at the thought of my integration attempts.

I have been in the Netherlands now for more than 8 years, so I should certainly have graduated to the 'shopping and child' level by now I am sure, possibly even 'beer crate on the back' too.
But for now, a toddler on the back is more than enough. In my defence, my son can be quite active when he loses sight of his papa, swaying from side to side trying to locate him in front, causing movement that has more than once conjured up images of us lying in a ditch, canal or worse.... I am at least giving the Dutch way of getting around a good go!

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