Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Day One: Di's Biking Report

As I rode through the red light on my Belgian bicycle, I noticed the ambulance guys on the other side of the lights watching my flamboyant self fly by, and I had this feeling that they were probably discussing the fact that I would be one of their jobs in the near future.

The red light ... well, I didn't see it, I was too busy thinking about how masterfully well I was doing on my first outing alone on my bike.

Previous to that incident there had only been one other moment; the one where I was forced to attempt my best impression of innocent kiwi abroad, as I cycled past the police van while on the wrong side of the road. Although on the bikepath, I wasn't sure if there was a fine involved in this act of ignorance.

So I managed to do my first errand without police intervention, the supermarket went well and afterwards, I found the cycle lane through to a road that I recognised (not to be sneezed at when you're in a new country).

And I smiled as I peeped in at the pub on the corner and noticed that the first beers of the day had been poured ... before 9am. How my Scottish forefathers would have tut-tutted. In New Zealand it's considered wise not to drink before 5pm regularly, any earlier could indicate problems ... 9am would indicate massive problems. Not here ... they were all lined up at the bar, old blokes just hanging out.

The worst thing about biking alone has to be the almost constant 'Oh my god, am I on the right side of the road???'

A quick glance ahead and my poor addled Southern Hemisphere brain takes note of the parked cars ... I relax, only to think 'ohmygod ...' a few minutes later.

I messed up my money when I called in at the bakers and I almost knocked someone else's bike over as I removed mine ... thanks to the old man who saved the day, riding off afterwards without saying a word. He was behind me in the bakery, waiting as the baker counted out the correct money because I had misheard the total... you can't do anything right for some people, and he was clearly my man today.

So I'm home without injurious incident, my pride only slightly dented.

As long as I live, I can only improve ...

5 comments:

Alison said...

brave woman you...

woman wandering said...

i know, and unknowingly, so were the others sharing the road with me ;)

next time you're over, you can have gert's bike and we'll both go out eh ...

Belle said...

I can relate. Lovely post.

woman wandering said...

Thanks belle ... I'm hoping for marked improvement in the days ahead. It's difficult to believe that I lived on a bike as a kid, sigh.

Anil said...

Two wheels, and a joyous spirit is all it takes to be brave, abd get away with it :)