October 16, 2002

Biking, Rules

Category: Personal — Biella @ 3:42 am

I finally have a little bit of time to write about the bike trip everyone has been so
anxiously waiting to hear about: biking along the coast, mid-October, in a northern European country, the Netherlands. I mean, October in the Netherlands is just when one would go on such a bike trip, right? I am glad I did not give the weather conditions any serious thought as I am sure I would have changed my mind…

It had been a long while since I had embarked on a multi-day bike trip and this trip held a whole bunch of little new experiences for me. Below is a list of some of the “first time” things of my trip:

1. I had never planned a trip with someone I did not know before the trip. I met Niels, my biking partner, over IRC (and sort of via this blog) a number of months back and we sort of randomly planned this trip online. As the time approached to go on the trip, I began to wonder if we would get along in real life withough the safe user interface of our
favorite IRC client. Thankfully, we interfaced nicely with each other and though IRC/email etc are nice mediators for interactions, bikes do a pretty nice job too.

2. I have never ridden alongside a recumbent bike, which is what Niels and Mark-Jan who came with us on the first day used. Despite the many stares they induce (and the occasional mockery), after three days of battling the Dutch wind, my bottom fed up with my less-than-user-friendly racing seat (what was I thinking brining that seat with me?!!##), I was downright envious of Niels’ bike. Demonic little thoughts would pop in my head from time to time in which I would take off his bike leaving him to fend the wind with my bike. But even if I had acted upon my evil desires (thank god for morality, no Niels?), I would have failed to execute them being that I would have to learn how to ride a recumbent.

3. Riding on dikes is, well, cool.

4. Riding through the dunes in the Netherlands, is also cool and it was a surprise. I would have never thought that I would have spent so much time riding through wild looking dunes in the Netherlands. It is something that I have never associated with this place.

5. A Blues festival on the island of Texel can totally foil your plans to sleep in a warm, affordable hostel. But thankfully we found a cold, affordable hostel to take her place.

6. RSI indeed comes about because of Repetitive Stress. This is the first time I have ever ridden any distance on relatively flat terrain which is surprisingly tough because you don’t ever get to stop/coast etc down hills. I don’t think that I ever have pedaled so much, so consistently which is why my knee was kinda throbbing by the end of the third day.

Then there were things that I already knew that I was reminded of on my trip.

1. Biking rules

2. Seriously, biking over the course of a number of days or weeks is a thrill. It is the best best way to see the landscape of a country (slowly) and you also feel pretty darn good that you can “push-pedal” yourself to get from place to place. I can’t wait to do another one, though I think I will wait till summer :)

3. Food tastes really good on bike trips because you get really really REALLY hungry.

4. Riding in the cold is kinda hard

5. Riding in the rain SUCKS. The last day was spent racing back to Amsterdam via the shortest (and hence ugliest) route possible to get the hell out of the freezing rain. I was miserable, and if Niels was, he totally hid it which was nice. He balanced me out for sure that day.

6. Though riding in the cold and rain SUCKS, you really appreciate the warmth and security of shelter that most of us thankfully do have.

So, that is the short list version of my trip. Props go out to Niels being the navigator and geographical tour guide. He can tell you all sorts of things about the built and natural environment of the place… Well, I am too wired on caffeine right now, so I better split and walk some of this caffeine off…

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