Sunday, December 03, 2006
I felt like a true Dutchie today (and that's NOT a good thing!)
If you've ever been to the Netherlands then you know that a bicycle is not just for recreation. It's a way of life.
It's nothing to see men in suits and ties pedaling their way to work in the mornings. It's a norm to see women in their dresses and mini skirts biking to their destination, trying to cover their 'parts' as well as they can, in heels no less! It's also normal to see a parent biking with up to 3 kids balanced on their bikes (one in front 2 in back). It's crazy how many different ways you can find to attached your children to a bike and drive in traffic!
Biking in Amsterdam has a whole different meaning to me than it did in the States. In the US I rode my bike for two reasons. The first reason was because I was 11 and had to get to softball practice. The second reason was for exercise and didn't even happen until I was about 22. Let's face it, after age 16 and earning your little plastic drivers license you don't really ride a bike anymore (at least in the midwest).
Well that's not the case for the Dutchies and since I'm living here I decided to join the masses and get a bike a while back. I chose an omafiets (see picture) because it was cheap. Omafiets literally translates to 'grandma bike' and from the picture you can see why. I chose it in this lovely orange color because if I'm going to be riding a ugly bike I want it to be the ugliest bike possible! (they also come in lime green if orange doesn't suit you). And of course no omafiets is complete without a little bell. Ring-a-ling-a-ling!
For the first month I owned the bike every time I would hop on and start pedaling, the music from the Wizard of Oz would pop into my head. You know the scene when the mean old lady (later the wicked witch) comes and snatches Toto away from Dorothy and is riding away with the dog in her basket? Yeah, that song...every time. I'm singing it now. Great. I still find myself singing it every once ina while but not nearly as often.
The bike is a main form of transportation and the quickest way to get through the city. And those crazy Dutch don't just ride them on sunny days! No sir! You see people holding umbrellas in one hand, steering with the other. Or you can just buy a long hooded raincoat and pedal to your heart desire. These people are troopers and really take it like a champ.
Well today I decided to be integrated and ride my omafiets to the gym since Marco took the car to work. It's a short ride and in better weather I would ride there anyway. On the way there it was just sprinkling so no big deal. I've ridden in the rain before.
Well the way home was a totally different story. I left the locker room a hot sweaty gross mess to get downstairs and discover a downpour.
I could have waited in the gym for the rain to let up but around these parts that could take minutes or hours, you just never know. I figured I may as well start on my way and hope for the best.
So it's freezing, I'm sweaty, my hands are ice blocks and the wind is whipping me around all over the place. Now I've lost some weight but I'm no waif model by any means. I'm still a pretty big person and that wind was pushing me around like a bully on the playground determined to give me a wedgie.
I swear the bike ride home was a harder workout than being at the gym. I was soaking wet, freezing cold and not a happy camper by time I reached my doorstep.
Integration-schmintegration... next time I'm skipping!
Posted by sarahaarssen at 5:05 PM