Thursday, 22 May 2014

Things nobody told me about bike-riding.

A few weeks ago, Malcolm and I got some bikes. We'd been missing our riding-around-Dunnwald days, and have been waiting for Winter to pass so that we'd return to our beautiful days of bike rides in the evenings.

We failed to consider 2 things...
#1: Dunnwald was flat, Richtsberg and Marburg give a hint as to what the topography is like here.
#2: Unlike our days in Dunnwald, we have friends and committments here, which makes bike riding less of a leisure activity and more of a getting-from-A-to-B-activity.

That said, there are also a few other things that I've learned about bike-riding in the last few weeks.

#1: Bugs are not my friend, and I am not theirs either. 
Flying down the hill with no peddling necessary is absolutely glorious. Until one gets a bug in ones eye, nose, mouth, or ear. I've had to stop to get a bug our from between my teeth (yes, gross.), and blinking furiously doesn't help to get bugs out my eyes as much as it just sort of... squishes them. I'm yet to figure out how to breath effectively in a way that avoids bug inhalation.

#2: "No hands!" actually serves a purpose. 
I don't think I've ever been able to ride without having my hands on the handle-bars. I usually see people riding without holding on, hands in their pockets or simply with their arms folded, and think to myself that they're showing off. Since then, I've realised how useful this skill is... while trying to take one hand off the handlebars to get a bug out my eye today, I nearly crashed. It would also help make indicating, which looks so effortless but seems to me to be more dangerous than its worth, safer. Answering a cellphone or knitting or applying make-up while riding are not essential, but I might get there one day.

#3: Laundry increases. 
With the hot weather and the bike rides, our laundry basket seems to fill up a lot faster. This is something I never really thought about before.

#4: Doors are even more annoying now. 
Slightly less related, I've mentioned before the awkward interchanges with people as we enter and exit the building. With bikes, it makes it a little trickier - 4 doors to open and get a bike through while trying to look like I have it all under control might be the most stressful part of the journey. 

#5: It's easier maintanence. 
The day we left PMB to head to the airport, Malcolm's car was still in the mechanic's workshop because something or another had gone wrong. Once, I needed Malcolm to leave work to come and rescue me because my car broke down, giving me his car since I urgently needed to get somewhere. Only after he called friends and towed it and all that, did they find out that I had simply run out of petrol. (like father, like daughter.) This last weekend, my peddle pulled out and I couldn't ride any further (except slight downhills where I could perch in a very lady-like fashion and free-wheel down)... it was slightly inconvenient, but a bike is waaaaaay easier to push home than a car is, and loading a bike onto a bus is waaaaaay easier than the last time we towed Malcolm's car. 

#6: It saves money. 
I assumped this already, but only really considered that getting a bike might save me money on a bus ticket each month. But as it turns out, I spend less not only since I don't travel by bus as much but also because I'm not tempted by shops as much since it takes so much effort to get to them. (well, getting there is easy, it's the thought of getting back that deters me.) PLUS, when I am in a shop, I'm hesitant to buy anything since I then need to schlepp it back up with me.

I'm hoping to still learn some more lessons... mostly how to hop up onto pavements and ride with no hands, like a cool-kid, but I'm rather pleased with my progress so far. 


  1. Brilliant post! All of it so true. : ) Looks a lovely place to cycle with the scenery.

  2. eeek I am scared of bike so riding with hands impresses me!

  3. what a lovely bike ride! Crazy how laundry increases a ton, huh?

  4. most importantly, i love these pictures - so, so gorgeous! and second, biking on hills is so, so hard! we learned that the hard way when we had tons of fun riding down hills and then realized we had to get home....

  5. That is so great that you have a bike path and trail to bike in! I live in the city and it is so hard to bike on the streets. :)

  6. I just rode a bike for the first time in Vietnam since I was a teen and it was embarrassing how I've become so bad at biking!! I definitely need some practice and could not do hills at all.

  7. They say one never forgets, and while that may be true of the basics, I find it doesn't apply to anything further than moving forward!

  8. We're really fortunate that a lot of our routes go through the forest and there are usually bike-lanes too, so traffic is hardly a problem.... unless it's busy or I need to change lanes - then it's scary!

  9. Thanks, they're from our days in Cologne... we have next to none of us cycling here! Fortunately there is always the possibility of taking a bus back up... but it makes me feel lazy so I try to motivate myself on the way back by thinking of all the good its doing my legs ;)

  10. I never really thought about it too much, but it totally does!

  11. I'm rather a nervous rider, terrified of getting hurt, but thanks, I'm glad I'm impressive to at least somebody! ;)

  12. It is! The photos are from Cologne, but it's equally beautiful here! I love riding next to the river or through the forest.

  13. You realise that "burg" means "castle", and says nothing about topography?


    Also, unicycles mean no hands comes standard. ;)

  14. A fair point... although castles are generally built on hills... so I hold to my point ;) And yes, that's exactly why I don't ride unicycles... I applaud you for it, but I'm still struggling along with my two wheels, and 7 gears, and all the other benefits of it... :D

  15. I tell myself that too... on both routes that I generally take to get home there's a hill that's just too steep right now, and I walk it... we'll see by the end of Summer how it's going ;) I definitely felt a little less burdened without a car, since ours gave us trouble fairly often... now as inconvenient as buses are, at least they aren't my problem to fix and maintain!

  16. All the cool kids are doing it.

  17. Bring your Unicycle and come ride cycle from town into Richtsberg. I officially challenge you! ;) :)