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!

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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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