To bike or not to bike? That is the question…

When I found out I was accepted to study abroad in The Netherlands, I had a natural response; I told people.  The people who had never been to The Netherlands were excited for me and told me to take pictures and have a nice time.  But the people who had been to The Netherlands told me that I would need a bike to get around Maastricht.

This was exciting news, but also slightly scary.  It was exciting for two main reasons: buying a bike would cut-down the amount of money I would spend on local transportation, and also because I had not ridden a bike since high school.  But the thought of riding a bike was also scary because I had not done so in several years. Despite the cliche saying: “It’s just like riding a bike: once you learn, you never forget,” I was afraid that it wouldn’t be that easy.  Put yourself in my position — you walk or drive a car daily, then you’re told that for approximately four months you’re going to be riding a bike in a contained bike lane next to cars that are going over 30 miles per hour; that’s kind of a scary thought.

After arriving in Maastricht and walking twenty minutes one way to school, I thought to myself, “it’s time to buy a bike.”  My fear started to disappear after seeing the Dutch riding their bikes.  They ride their bikes like pros!  For example, I saw several children talking and riding close to each other with only one hand on the bike handles.  I thought that was impressive until I saw a young girl sitting calmly in a side-saddle position on the back portion of an older woman’s bike… without holding on.  If they could do that, then I could definitely ride a bike next to cars.  With that being said, I’m happy to announce that I did indeed buy a bike!

You may be wondering how my biking experience has been going so far. I must admit… I’ve only ridden it twice.  The day after I bought it, the majority of the ice had melted and the bike lanes had been cleared, so I decided to ride to school.  It was great!  It took half the normal time to get there, and generally speaking, it was a nice day for a bike ride.  The ride back, however, was not as easy.  Although Maastricht does not have hills, there is a slight incline leading from my school to the main road.  Let’s just say that I noticed the difference in the incline while I was riding.  My body wasn’t used to riding with a book bag, especially up an incline, so I had to walk with my bike, then I finished riding home.  The second time I rode my bike was more successful.  I went to the store and back and didn’t have any problems!  I must say, I was feeling pretty confident and at that moment I knew I wouldn’t have to sell my bike and I wouldn’t be forced to walk everywhere. Until next time, wish me luck on my bike riding endeavor!

One Response to To bike or not to bike? That is the question…

  1. Celeste says:

    So Whitney are you saying that old ladies and babies are biking better than you??? :o)

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