catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 12, Num 19 :: 2013.10.18 — 2013.10.31


Ode to my bike

Seven years ago I bought my first real bike. It’s not that I’d never had one before; it’s just that this one was different. It was an oma bike, the 100-euro, black, banged-up version that one should ride wearing a skirt and heels. It was love at first sight. Or almost. It was love after I managed to figure out how not to fall off when I braked (back-peddling!).

Little did I know then that this new love was going to be forever. But already from the beginning it was definitely more than just a thing to take out for camping trips or because there was nothing better. This was to be become a lifestyle choice. It was my new mode of transportation: rain or shine, day or night, heels or boots. It even simplified the purchase of clothing: if I can’t bike in it, I won’t buy it.

And I loved my bike. I used it almost daily — still do! It is perfect for days out: exercise, a view, and cheap. It gives me time to think when I go to and from the university. And it’s incredibly convenient: easy to park and ideal for passing by stopped vehicles and weaving through groups of tourists. The occasional flat tire that I get can be fixed at home (or for 10 euros, someone else will fix it). On it, I can carry a suitcase, groceries or even the cat (meowing all the way, of course). Some days I even manage to wow the tourists by carrying two garbage bags full of donated bread through crowded Amsterdam streets.

My oma bike is since gone. You might expect that with my all devotion to it, I’d have worn it out — or upgraded. I did actually upgrade, but it was more from necessity than choice. My bike went the way of many other Amsterdam bikes: stolen. Fortunately, with bikes second love is just as good as first love, and the ring is much cheaper: a two-foot, five-pound bike lock. 

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