Bikeless in Holland

I feel like a eunuch on his wedding night. I got into Amsterdam yesterday so beaten up by a long haul flight that just swallowing solids felt like an effort. I managed to stay awake until 4.00pm, then crashed until 1am. This morning I walked around Centraal station photographing bicycle parking. Illuminating indeed. Next began my misadventure: an ill fated tram ride to collect a Brompton from Tromm Tweewielers, that hadn’t arrived. The big BIG consolation, was that the guy who served me named Aart (no relation to Art Garfunkel, I am assured), was ready to part with his own super light single speed S-model at a second-hand rate, my f-ing dreeeeam (folding) bike, if you will pardon my Dutch. But, being a puritanical bike nut like you and I, Aart not-Garfunkel insists on replacing the chain, rear sprocket etc etc before parting with his beloved. "Give me 2 days," he says, as though I’m here the rest of my life. 
  

I guess I could upload some I took today, but I’m dying for bed.

So it came to pass that Dr. Behooving was bikeless in Holland on his first non-jettlaged day. As when I first came here in 1999, I am left to gaze at every beautiful godzilla as she rides by—though do not fret my sweet Primrose, they are only Dutch, not sweet Isle of Jersey girls such as yourself. Having sewn my seed now (hi boys, daddy doth miss you) I notice too how these lassies check their reflections in every shop window, then sit back just that little bit further. Cycling is their mating display, oh bless their little Dutch cotton socks.
   
Never mind them though.  These diary notes while I’m away, are meant to be all about me. And I feel like Jimmy Hendrix when he first got to Nam and had noffin’ to strum. I am Bill Wyman with no Mandy Smith, Mark Richards swimming, Aron Ralston without even the bluntest of knives, Hellen Keller if her fingers turned numb. So come on Aart, hurry it up. In the mean time, I’ll find some wheels to hire. 

Post script: have just spooken with the Aart-not-Garfunkel, and he will have ze bike ready tooday. When in Holland Dr. Behooving chooses to buy all his Bromptons from Tromm Tweewielers. You really must check out their website, for the insane range of small wheel bikes that they stock, from Moultons to really silly monocoque carbon Gazelle folding bikes, that still weigh a tonne. If I knew which Chinese factory were blowing their carbon frames, I’d buy one and pair it with some light componentry, to make 5kg bike for travelling with. Far be it for me though, to tell the Dutch anything at all about bikes. I accept bike culture here as Gospel truth. You can get nice folders from the grocery store at the train station for 200 Euro, or if you want to spend more, most people here go with the Brompton.  

5 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    No hills

    “Gazelle folding bikes, that still weigh a tonne. …I accept bike culture here as Gospel truth.” Truth for the flatlands I’ll agree. However they don’t know anything about hills. Bring any Dutch bike to a hilly country and you’ll be wishing it was lighter and had a wider gear range.

    • Steven says:

      Re: No hills

      Good point, but our countries also have vast planes, into which Holland would fit many times over. What are we doing with them?

    • Anonymous says:

      Re: No hills

      We farm ours and yours are too hot & dry.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Eunuchs???

    Would a eunuch be having a wedding night???

  3. Anonymous says:

    Re: Eunuchs???

    yes, it is common

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