One incredibly used shitty yellow bicycle from the 70’s.
Yep. I’m not even kidding. This thing has been around the block figuratively and literally a few times. Ya see, when I first moved to Leiden in the Netherlands, I knew it was best to try and fit in like a local because walking in the Netherlands is the very first sign that you’re not from these parts. I wanted to hide my Australianism so I lazily strolled to the closest bicycle shop or fietsenwinkel just minutes from my house.
Going to the closest fietsenwinkel seemed like the best idea because bike shops are pretty much EVERYWHERE. I was told not to be too fussy with purchasing a bike because as a few locals said to me, my bicycle would “probably get stolen.” Um yeah… ok.
Looking back, if my bicycle was stolen, that would have been the best case scenario because this bike took me on adventures that I just didn’t want have any parts of. Imagine your bike is kinda like that one creepy drunk uncle that drops around unexpected. He breaks all the rules and does a lot of stupid shit – and ultimately, you know that if you hang out with him anymore, eventually you’ll end up in hospital.
Basically, I didn’t have the bike long enough to experience impending death, but oh man… I had a number of close calls.
Let me first say, I am NOT a cyclist and I know a lot of you reading right now are saying, “But Tara! What about #AroundIrellandOnAPushie?” Ok… ok. I can explain – NOTHING about that all Ireland adventure was about me being a pro-cyclist. I wear fricking yoga pants (and still do) whilst cycling. And I face planted in a parked car. Seriously. Cycling Ireland taught me a lot of things – like how to change a flat tyre and not to high five whilst bicycling. Oh, and that wind is the WORST thing ever invented followed by hills and THEN rain. I’m being serious.
Ok. So cycling in the Netherlands…. If you’re not Dutch and NOT a “Lance Armstrong,” you’re probably going to have a tough time. I have to admit, the bike lanes here in the Netherlands are absolutely AMAZING and I wish other councils from around the world would embrace how the Dutch do this because it’s just awesome… BUT…. and this is a very big BUT. You Dutchies on bikies are all nuts. I honestly don’t know how you do it. You weave though bike and pedestrian traffic like Mohammad Ali fighting George Forman. You guys give zero fucks and will cream anyone that’s walking on foot! You guys taunt cars by pulling out RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM AS ITS TURNING! I even saw someone on a bike sooo incredibly defiant that they actually turned right in front of an ambulance with its lights and sirens on. The ambulance was probably heading to an accident only to nearly be part of an accent because of a silly bicycle. Come guys! Cars are big moving sheets of metal and when you cut right in front, that’s you one step closer to meeting the Grim Reaper! To be honest, it’s no fun for you if you get hit and it’s no fun for the car who has to slam on breaks (and from my experience, it’s no fun face planting into a retractable mirror of a parked car.)
I won’t carry on anymore about this crazy culture… but I will talk about how your bikes are totally rubbish. Used Dutch bikes are basically two shitty wheels on a thin rod of metal with hunks of “bike flesh” that fly off of at any given time. Seriously. It’s no longer a matter of “if I lose something off the bike” it’s now a matter of “when I lose something” because it happened to me every frickin day.
Just yesterday I hopped on my bike, and the cover that protects the gears and chain just fell off. No reason. It just didn’t want to be there anymore. So, I did whatever any Dutchie would do and cycled to the local rubbish bin and simply threw that useless part out. Did it serve any purpose? I don’t know because the wheels kept turning.
I’ve had both the front and back wheel fall off whist pedalling. Again. No reason. I’ve had the pedals stop working and jam up the gears for no reason. I’ve had gears grind. I had the axle or whatever you call it in the wheel completely break and was free forming as I cycled. So, what did I do when all this happened? Well, I fixed it. I picked up the tires and put them back on the bike. I kicked the bike a number of times to make sure whatever needed to fit, could. I’ve thrown other bits off like some useless water bottle holder that fell off my bike when some little kid backed into my bike which then turned into an avalanche of about 60 bikes in a row. True story. I watched the little fucker do it. And you know what. I can’t ever do anything about it, because cycling every day in the Netherlands is an adventure! If the locals don’t kill you, the Dutch bicycle will certainly have a go.
So, if you’re looking for a bit of excitement in your life or an old set of seriously awful wheels, I’m selling one, very old, terribly designed shitty Dutch bike. You can take it away today for €75. Half the price of what I overpaid for it. It comes with a free red lock and trust me… it’s just for looks (because… you won’t need it… this bike is so bad that it’s got anti-thief repellant already in the metal.)
It’s yellow. It’s old… it’s ugly AF and it’s a total bargain.
A girl gone walkabout in the great big world!