Monday, 26 January 2015

As easy as riding a bike...

I have come to the conclusion that the phrase 'as easy as riding a bike' is pretty much a pile of rubbish.

I mean, ok, the physical act of sitting and pedalling is not hard once you've worked out that you just need to stick your feet on the pedals and move your legs around in a circle. Staying upright is a bonus.

Being in the Netherlands, cycling is pretty much the only way to get from A to B, and there are literally no hills (something that, having grown up surrounded by mountains, completely freaks me out every time we go outside), so I don't really have any excuse not to. Therefore, on Saturday, I rode a bike for the first time in roughly 15 years (I'm not counting the time I cycled 3 miles from my parents house in North Wales to visit a friend, and then left my bike at their house for six months because the journey was so traumatic!).

I borrowed my friend's mother-in-law's bike, and after some faffing around trying (unsuccessfully) to lower the seat, we headed off on what should have been a relatively short journey into town.

Wait, that makes it sound like it just happened.

Now might be a good time to mention that, the night before, it snowed in Meppel for the first time in over two years.

So, we decided we would walk to the end of the street, where the snow had been cleared. Then, to avoid the confusing anticlockwise roundabout, we walked across the road. We were essentially half way into town before I even attempted to get on the bike.

In between my nervous/hysterical giggling, and my short legs not quite being long enough to reach the floor, it took a further ten minutes before we could actually set off.

I was just about settled into being on two wheels when we arrived at the supermarket. I had navigated my way around a small child and snow drifts, and managed to not crash into any cars (stationary or otherwise), so I was pretty happy.

The one thing I hadn't factored into my journey was stopping. I mean, I knew I would have to at some point. I just sort of forgot to think about how.

As I mentioned before, my legs aren't quite long enough for any more than the very tips of my toes to touch the floor when I am sitting on the saddle. Those of you who know me will know that I have a hard enough time staying upright when my feet are on the floor.

Needless to say, the disembarkation was less than elegant. As we came to stop, I forgot which of the many knobs and levers on my handlebars (which are, by the way, located somewhere near my ears) were the ones for stopping, and I panicked, steering the front wheel into the pavement. Fortunately, the snow provided a soft landing...

I'd like to say I'm getting better at this game, but I'm currently sitting on the sofa drugged up with ibuprofen and feeling sorry for myself, having lost control of the lower half of my body (ie, the bit attached to the bike) while crossing a road. Turns out I can do the splits (a challenge even without a bike tangled around my legs).

I think I can safely say that cycling is not a thing I will be taking up on my return to Edinburgh.

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