The other day I stupidly cycled over broken glass. I was on the phone at the time and admittedly was not paying as much attention to my path as I should've. I'm too much of a girl to fix my own punctures, so this required me to take my bike in to the repair shop and pay someone to do it for me. It's not the money that bothers me, it's the time lost. Sometimes they can fix it on the spot, but most of the time, it has to go in the queue and you pick it up later. A whole day later.
Me taking my bike in for repairs is not the point here. The point is my sense of loss when I have to do it. I'm without an appendage. I never thought I would get to that stage. But since I moved to Amsterdam, I cycle everywhere. I actually feel pretty pathetic, even incapacitated somewhat, catching the tram when I don't have a particular reason to do so (like travelling with other people who aren't on bikes, or typhoon weather). Of course, there are times when catching the tram is dryer... but it's also smellier, noisier and more crowded.
Cycling in the rain is not pleasant, don't get me wrong. I've just realised that I don't melt in the rain. I also realised fairly quickly, that unless there is absolutely not a breath of wind, I cannot cycle with an umbrella. At the first gust, my brolly is inside out and I am inelegantly trying to remain upright. So I don't bother. I simply don my sexy "regenbroeken", and my train-driver-hat as GBM likes to call it, and I am hot to trot.
I don't know if I could take up a hobby in competitive cycling though. I like the upright posture of my oumafiets, the gentle exertion required to get up and over a small canal bridge, followed by the brief exhilaration of free-"wheeeee"ling down the other side.
For the last four years, I have maintained that there is absolutely no better past time than cycling in the Netherlands - when the weather is good, and there is no wind to impede your blissful progress. It may not happen often, but when it does... sheer bliss. It's probably akin to the reason why so many amateur golfers stick with the love-hate sport.
I also delight in the fun of loudly ringing my bell to disperse flocks of pigeons and tourists when required. Bird and sightseer alike, the dull aimless expression followed by frantic flapping to get off the bike path never ceases to amuse me.
I never, ever thought I would say this, but I love my bike. Prissy Priscilla and I clatter around the cobbles and canals so happily, but we do get on much better when the elements are fair and I'm not in a particular hurry. I even managed to cycle with no hands the other day. Admittedly, I didn't realise I was doing it - I needed to button up my jacket and unthinkingly, just did it. As soon as I realised what I was doing, I wobbled dangerously and flung my hands back on the handlebar. I haven't had the courage to try it again.