Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tour de Amsterdam

When we decided to move to Amsterdam, we decided to not have a car.  With the transportation system in Europe, we figured we would be able to get around without a car.  So what if we have to walk in the rain a little, so what if it is snowing outside and is a little cold, we will be able to get around to most places via trams/buses/metro or bikes.  Recently Carmen and I went out bike shopping.  This was a big decision.  We waffled between a new bike, which is € 600,00 ($ 775.00), or a used bike, which € 250,00 ($ 322.00).  The main driving force behind the waffling is the fact that bike theft is very high in Amsterdam.  Can you imagine spending € 600,00 and coming outside to find your bike gone?  Decision made, we are buying used bikes.  We looked at several used bikes and to be honest, they all looked junkie.  "Why would we spend € 250,00 on a junkie bike, we should just get a new one, but it is going to get stolen so lets get a junkie bike, but it looks junkie and we want something that looks new."  This process went on all week.  We could not decide what we wanted to do.  Well Saturday came around and it was crunch time.  We had to get a bike, at least Carmen did, to get to work on Monday.  The decision was any easy one and what most Americans would have made, we are buying new bikes and hope they don't get stolen.  I present to you, my new "whip".

My new 2013 Batavus bike.
Now I know what you're thinking, "Isn't that a girls bike?"  Yes it's a girls bike, but that is what most people over here (including guys) ride!  I chose a "girls" bike because Dutch bikes sit up very high and it will be easier to get on and off the bike. They sit so high, I can barely touch the ground with my toes when I am stopped.  I upgraded it and had them install what I call the "E.T." Edition basket on the front of it.

Today, I decided to ride to work with Carmen.  How fun would that be, riding to work with my wife?  I get out of the house, we'll get some exercise and I can condition my body to get use to riding a bike after not riding one on a regular basis.

According to Google Maps it's only a 23 mins ride.  This shouldn't be too bad.
I can tell you I would regret this decision.  In fact, 15 mins into the ride I started to rethink the car thing.  First off you would think "The Netherlands are flat, that shouldn't be a bad ride."  Wrong!  They are flat, but that means you have to pedal 100% of the time.  Since there aren't any hills that means no coasting to catch your breath and to relax your legs.  Second is the wind.  The wind was blowing so hard I felt like Jim Cantore reporting live for the landfall location of Hurricane Andrew.  At one point, I'm pretty sure I wasn't moving. I felt like I was staying in place.  I thought "I hope I don't have to make this ride everyday.  This sucks and I feel sorry for my wife."  And just imagine rain and snow, oh my God what a nightmare.  What the hell have I got involved in?  This was the longest 5.8 km (3.06395 miles) ride in my life.  At one point I wanted to stop and relax but I was afraid I wouldn't get back on the bike.  I kept riding and finally made it. I am no Lance Armstrong.  Maybe I should do some steroids to help with the ride.  Now have to ride it back home!!!


  1. First rule of bicycling, it's always a headwind.

  2. I recommend a $50 bike and $100 lock for daily. I will get stolen, it is just a matter of when.