Friday, September 14, 2012

The Netherlands - Riding a Bike

I am 23 years old, and I never used a bike. Well, I think I did, when I was really little (~2 years old). I gracefully fell from the second floor of my house (where we normally hand our clothes to dry them) while riding a bike. I can't be positively sure that this incident had caused me some kind of trauma with a bike, but I seem to be avoiding bikes at all costs.

Before I came to the Netherlands, I was told that I will not survive without a bike. Considering how I always depend on my feet to walk long distances when I was in the States and when I was in Japan, I wasn't scared of having to walk a long distance around my campus in the Netherlands.

I survived my first week of school without a bike, and riding a bus didn't take that long. The bus comes every 15 minutes (30 minutes at most) and that is perfectly fine. The bus ride from my housing to campus is only about 20 minutes - relatively much shorter than the daily 45-minute trip from my dorm to school when I was in Japan.

Everything was fine, until I had to hang out with my friends. Most of them have bikes, and while some people are nice enough to walk their bikes to accompany you walking, at some point you will be an extra luggage they have to carry around with. Or at least, I felt that way.

So, with all my might, I tried to conquer my fear of riding bikes.

I was quite fortunate to have found a bike on sale by my dorm mate. It's a little high and a little expensive, but I had to buy it because I needed to learn how to bike ASAP.

My learning process was quite painful. One day I woke up at 7 in the morning, dragged my first bike I've ever bought into a grassy slope close to our building, and started to slide from the top of the slope downwards. I can't recall how many times I fell down the slope. I stepped on dog poo, fell on my bike, had my left leg crushed by my bike... I could say it wasn't one of the most pleasant learning ever. A number of people passed by - and actually encouraged me, giving me tips on how to balance myself better. 

It was frustrating because when I thought I had gotten the feel of it, I failed and lost my balance again, as if my earlier success was merely a fluke. I was covered in sweat and dirt, and I'm sure I emitted disgusting smell. There were nasty insects biting my arms, but I kept on.

Luckily, I began my day with a good attitude. There is this wonderful theory I learned in basic psychology class I took in my first year of university: if you think of something when you're smiling, you tend to see things more beautifully; if you think of something when you're pouting, you tend to see things worse. The theory was proven by the class, and it actually worked.

After 2 hours of struggle, I finally made it. As to today, two weeks have passed since my first success in biking. I still wobble a little bit, and I'm still awkward with stopping and kicking off, but I made it :)

Lesson of the day? Success comes with good attitude.


Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, but please comment responsibly :)