Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Besides feet and public transportation, my main means of transport is my bicycle.

I bought it when I started spending longer periods of time in Amsterdam (and had fallen off the man's gigantic spare bike a few times) AND we had figured out how to fit three bikes in the basement storage.

Everybody cycles in Amsterdam, in all of the Netherlands and that is just what I am used to from Scandinavia. There we also cycle in the winter snow - in the Netherlands they cycle all year round too but I would not call the weather here winter. Bah!

When my bike doesn't function well, my life does get quite complicated. Do I trust it? Can I take it on long trips? What else do I need to fix? When will the next flat tyre come?

Currently the problems are that the packaging straps are broken, front light doesn't work, the gears - all seven of them - are non-functional as the gearbox (is it a gear box on a bike?) is worn out and the whole thing wobbles in the back because the back wheel isn't completely round any more (probably happened in the bicycle rack at work.
I have fixed the brakes and the lock this year and it is a constant struggle to keep it going.

I went to the bicycle man to talk about the gear box and because of the model, it would cost almost half of what the bike is worth. Although I need my bike, I do not think it is worth putting another €100 on a bike bought for €225 five years ago. I think I will be riding without gears for a while!!
A replacement bike will cost me €300-400. Of course I can go and buy a new bike but in this town that would be quite a pointless thing. Bicycles here need to be made from high grade steel, weigh a ton and be designed so the driver sits up straight when cycling. No other bike will be strong enough to survive a few weeks being parked around town and only if you cycle like a flamingo do you have a chance to catch traffic in order not to kill yourself when cycling in Amsterdam.
But it is fun and if you ever come here, a rented bike is a must!

Anyway, I have done some bike work today. I took apart the "gear box" to see if the bike man was right. (I am not sure but since it is not being replaced and I can't fix it, it doesn't matter).

The front light is a cheap piece that is simple to replace as well as the straps for luggage. I will have to go and buy that tomorrow. I released the back wheel and re-set it, let the air out of the tyre and re-pumped it in an attempt to see if the back wobbling can be reined in. I'll take it for a spin down the large bridge tomorrow to see how it performs.
Yes, a bridge is the only hill I have access to in this country!


  1. I wish I could use my bike more for daily travel to work, but it is a bit too far for me.

    1. I pay extra for less with more traffic so that I can cycle to work. No horse, no tractor, no parking space. You might win anyway.