It’s already been two months since you all started your classes here and I bet by now the Dutch have opened up your eyes to the glory of cycling. Personally I have an unmeasurable love for cycling, but you’ve probably already found out that it’s not all fun and games. I imagine some of you may have gotten off to a rough start. It can be hassle trying to find a twee-wheeled vehicle to your liking (for an acceptable price), and the traffic on the bike lanes (and on the sidewalks and even the car lanes whenever that’s more convenient) from time to time resembles an ants’ nest more than anything else. Venturing out around rush hour can be very intense, but if you weren’t raised in a seat attached to your parents’ handle bar like the Dutch are, it must be quite the challenge to make your way around town. But the Bicycle Blooper I’ll be sharing with you today is unrelated to the search for a new loyal steel steed or to the tricky traffic. It all started when I went out for an alcoholic beverage (or two) with a couple friends and decided to take a taxi home. Taking a taxi home is very not Dutch, but I was actually living in North America at the time and I had totally gotten used to it, so now that I was visiting Utrecht taking a taxi home sounded like a good idea. Now, you may never have noticed, but most bridges in Utrecht have white handrails, and for some reason the municipality considers regularly painting them a serious task. I had parked and locked my bicycle against the handrail of a bridge and left it there overnight, but when I came back in the morning to pick it up I was a little confused; apparently the municipalities worker’s found my bicycle a little bothersome when they had to repaint the bridge earlier that day. As some form of revenge they had decided to paint all over my lock, which wouldn’t have been a problem, if it hadn’t been a code lock. Yes: I was stuck with my bicycle because I couldn’t change my code. I could sort of make out what number was which, but with the thick quality paint on it, it was nearly impossible to turn the discs to the right code. Honestly, I thought it was kind of funny. It served me well for putting my bicycle there, and it left me with a great story to tell to anyone who asked: “why is half of your lock painted white…?”.
By Erna / Ruby