Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Vier Fietsen – the Fear of Feet.

I have currently 4 bikes. This may seem a little excessive, but it can easily happen in a city where bikes are a more essential, every-day item than an umbrella. Let me explain.

First of all, there is my old bike. This was a reconditioned, second-hand bike (as most of mine tend to be) that I bought from a shady guy in an otherwise not too disreputable shop. Bits of the bike started failing a few months later culminating in the pedal-brake becoming permanently engaged less than a year later. As it’s now generally a bit tatty, it’s not worth getting it fixed and I will salvage what is useful and give the rest to a nearer bike shop.

Bike number 2 is the replacement for this. It’s a superior bike and bigger so better for my legs and back. It is known colloquially as my Amsterdam bike. This is because bike number 4 is my Leiden bike. Obtained to allow me to shun Leiden’s infrequent bus service on those days when it is not doing the famous Dutch pissing-with-rain thing. Bike number 4 is even bigger and better than bike 2.

Before bike 4 was purchased, obviously there came bike number 3. This was originally bought from a girl at work who was leaving to be the Leiden bike. Unfortunately three things made it unsuitable and it has remained in my flat ever since: 1) its complete lack of mud-guards; 2) the fact it is a 15-gear mountain bike in a country where there are no mountains; 3) it looks brand new and expensive and so will survive on the streets precisely a matter of seconds.

So if anyone wants a mountain bike... suitable for someone who lives out of the city, who has a garage to store it in and who lives near a mountain or at least a hill. Buy now and I’ll throw in a free rusty frame, formerly known as bike number 1.

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