Many people give me a strange look when I tell them I am moving to The Netherlands. They give me an even stranger look when I tell them I do not know how to ride a bike. I never learned how to ride one growing up and felt managing my bills took priority over bike riding in NYC. Cycling is embedded in Dutch culture and for a good reason. It’s up to me to soak up the culture and learn how to ride. (without falling off)
I’ve Fallen and I can’t get up
I thought learning how to ride a bike would be as easy as… riding a bike, but unfortunately it’s not. Damn you awful cliche for making me think riding a bike would be simple. Considering how awkward I can be and how my balance sucks, my Dutchie assured me I couldn’t just rent a bike and figure it out.
It was mid-way through my first visit to Rotterdam and we were on route to his best friend’s house.
“We’ll go by bike” he said.
“Uh… how?” I replied.
“Easy.” he said. “You can sit in the back.”
“Is my big Puerto Rican butt going to fit on that?”
Not exactly. Even worse was trying to get on the damn thing while my guy had to pedal. This odd synchronized hopping to biking took 3 attempts and we were off.
My sweet and patient guy warned me of every upcoming bump and they sure were bumpy. I held on to my seat like it was the last ride of my life, but luckily, we got there quickly. A few rounds of Belgian beers later, it was time for us to head home. I remember valiantly hopping on to the back of the bike quickly and feeling amazed that we were riding through the streets of Rotterdam untouched. Until I looked up and realized we were going pretty fast.
And as my Dutchie slowed down I let go and fell to the concrete head first.
That was my first ride along bike experience. My first real bike experience with peddling was in Berlin.
I really do like the whole biking concept
You’ll learn a lot from the documentary of how the Dutch got their bike paths and how essential cycling is to the Dutch. Many people bike in New York City but I find that as risky as getting a nose job without anesthesia. The flat lands and the car-free zones encourage cyclers to get around easier. I love the idea of getting around without relying on anyone or anything.
It encourages good health; I bet I’ll lose weight faster by biking every day rather than counting calories.
The whole bike culture is addicting. Yes. I’m going to have a pretty basket and have a loud and obnoxious bell to make sure people get outta’ my way once I learn how to bike.
It’s essential for me to learn how to bike to be a part of The Netherlands. It’s bad enough I don’t know how to drive. Getting around by bike is a lot easier than relying on mass transit, or walking everywhere. In New York, the subway system runs 24/7, but in Rotterdam, not so much.
Cycle routes allow a safe way for bikers and motor vehicles to get where they need to go.