Thursday, April 24, 2008

Test drive

I was told the best bike to get here is called an omafiets... translated in English it's called a 'grandma bike'. It was given the name because it was the typical model of bike in the early to mid 1900's. They have been passed down from mother to daughter to grand-daughter, and most are still very good bikes. These models are still made today, and are supposed to be one of the most comfortable ones around. It is a smooth ride, with extra large wheels; the seat is higher than most bikes that allows the rider to sit upright giving the sensation of sitting on a chair instead of a bike.

Now that I've finished promoting the bike, I will move on with my story.

I got off work today at 3:30, which gave me enough time to go to the bike shop which is across the street from where I live, before it closes at 6pm. The omafiets at the shop was only 200 Euros, which is a good deal, and was in perfect condition.

So I handed over my passport for leverage as I took the bike for a ride. -- Preface: I haven't ridden a bike in years... YEARS. -- So, I get on the bike while holding onto my oversized purse, sitting on the seat which is high enough up that I can't touch the ground at all. I managed to make a fool of myself as the bike wobbled down the road and even more so as I went around the round-about. I don't know the rules of the road here in Amsterdam, and I didn't want to get hit. Instead I stopped at every road around the circle that leads out. Since I couldn't reach the ground while sitting on the seat, I had to get off the bike completely each time which caused more issues. See, the only flaw about the bike is that you press the breaks by turning the pedals backwards (like little kid's bikes). Because of that, I couldn't turn the pedals to a good position in order to get back on the bike and start pedaling. Thus, I managed to run into the curb and later almost destroy the bike by stopping just in time before getting hit by a truck.

That said, it really is a comfortable bike, unlike any I've ridden before. And... I'm buying the bike on Saturday. Moral of the story is: next time someone says "it's just like riding a bike", tell them they've never tried riding one in Amsterdam.

*Oh, and so that I don't get a lot of questions, yes, I got my passport back.


Danielle said...

That was hilarious to read! Even funnier when I actually pictured you stopping at every street in the round about! I was on the verge of tears I was laughing so hard and I am in the library so everyone kept looking at me! Which made everything even more funny! Thanks for the laugh! I can always count on you!

ReL said...

Hm, Good luck with the bike... you're definately going to be in fit shape when you come back from Amsterdam :-)I certainly hope you can figure out the traffic rules soon because I'd hate to hear you'd gotten run over! Be careful.

Courtney said...

That's one cool-looking bike!

Marco & Meredith said...

that is so great!! have you seen the bike seats that don't have the part that goes between you legs... its just like an oval you sit on.... now those are a little trippy to ride on, but they're great for if you're in a skirt!