A natural consequence of my being a casual season behind in my writing is that I have an abundance of untold stories and therefore spend much of my free time spinning these stories. It is an amusing past time though, I do wonder which podcasts I am negating while doing so or meeting I have tuned out of in the process. In an attempt to catch some of you all up, let’s go ahead and turn back the clock shall we?
Okay, so I lied. This begins just about a year ago. Another lie, I suppose one could argue that my bike stories started the moment I arrived in The Netherlands. I was a bit bruised and battered from FINALLY being allowed out of Poland and I was just itching to be out in the sun and feel the wind my hair. The thing is that bikes and I we have had what some may call a rough past. I have been know to kill a sapling (or two), almost bike off hillsides, run into massive piles of firewood and refuse to take off training wheels for years. Yet, here I am the epitome of human growth. Since moving to Europe, I have used bikes as a main form of transportation. I rode an hour in Poland. In temperatures that were JUST above freezing, across sunflower fields and through construction sites. For shit’s sake I rode the most darling city bike, for two hours each day to and fro. Yes it was that fucking adorable, no it was absolutely not the correct bike for the situation and yes my ass was as bruised as a peach for a week or so but I did it. Not just once. Not twice but for a year and half (minus winter because, Poland). I could handle the Netherlands, surely. Right?
I could sign left, I could sign right. I knew when I had the right of way. I was very well aware that under no circumstances should I ever just stop or stand in the middle of a bike lane. Unless of course you have a death wish. Hell, I was able to jump off the bike quite easily, I could ride with one hand. Sometimes I would even practice without my hands, though I don’t know if I will ever get to the level of comfort the Dutch posses as on cold days you won’t be able to see their hands as they are nuzzled in their warm jacket pockets. I was even quite aware of bell language, you know one nice ring is excuse me, two long rings is more of a ahhhem hello you idiot, followed by some angry Dutch, multiple quick rings roughly translates to I will run you over and I will not have one ounce of sorrow over it, not one.
My first year I biked to and from work by bike. I loved it. Most days. One day I did get caught in such a heavy rainstorm that everyone but me stopped biking. I was already drenched might as well make it home, right? Most mornings I marveled at the way the sunlights poured through the forest’s leaves. I biked over the King’s driveway and always was polite to everyone in the forest because Lord knows I could easily pass any person within the Royal family and not know it. It’s just better not to accidentally tell them to sod off. Don’t get me wrong though, there were days where I arrived to work having to pry my statue like hands off the handlebars because my dumbass forgot my gloves. But those days, they weren’t nearly as bad as the ones where you get a flat halfway between the city and somewhere close to nowhere. Not just once but twice. I suppose it was karma for sneaking out of work early, skipping lunch and thinking I would spend the sunny day in a cafe. Instead, I spent it walking my bike an additional hour and a half home. It was lovely. Really, the weather was lovely just my attitude was shit.
Within those first few months I felt pretty damn good about my skills. I didn’t kill any trees, I only cried once but if you were abandoned in the middle of no where you might too. I was no local on the bike, but I was confident and a far cry from the girl who I was. But the real tests hadn’t even come yet, no no. Because I did a great job avoiding them but surely I couldn’t avoid them forever…