Bikes, Tykes, and Dikes

So I’ve got a secret to tell you. You know that Tom Cruise guy? You know the one in all the Mission Impossible movies that does all those death defying stunts and hops onto motorbikes going mach 3 without breaking a sweat? Well we are kind of into the same stuff. No, no, not closet homosexually and profiteering from faux religious cults – more of like the whole “bad boy thing” – for I too dabble in death defying stunts. But let me elaborate before you ask me to star in your next film.

Two weeks ago I arrived in Holland – also known as the Netherlands – also known as the land of freakishly tall people – also known for the place you can legally smoke the ganj and feel awkward looking over shoulder in paranoia that people are watching you. The one with the dikes (not dykes) and the tulips and the clogs and the women who dance in windows with red lights and invite you in but then demand 50 euros. But in all due honesty, these things don’t really help to explain how I have become such the daredevil that I am. No, rather one must look to the street to see where my new edge was given birth. And that street would be the red nicely painted bicycle lane.

The bicycle is the go to mode of transportation in Holland. You can find bikes in all shapes and sizes with people carrying everything from groceries to umbrellas to the most expensive mistake ever made litters of children on them. It doesn’t matter if it is raining or snowing or if there is a typhoon outside, people are not deterred from riding their bicycle. The only things I can liken it to would be how wizards feel about their brooms or how original Canadians feel about backpacks with their maple leaf flag sewn on. If there is a Dutch person around, odds are there is a bicycle in your midst (and someone bitching about Geert Wilders).

The trick to getting on the back of someone’s bicycle is a delicate balance between the right tempo and aerodynamics. One must approach the bicycle at the correct time, after it begins its slow roll and has enough inertia behind it to keep the momentum going and your driver stable. Once you are humming down the red brick lane it is important to remain upright as to cut down on wind resistance and not lean too much as to throw your chauffeur’s coordination off. Any deviance from this blueprint and you risk pummeling into traffic, or worse yet spilling your beer. However, part of what makes this bicyle lifestyle so useful and appealing is the environment.

Despite the fact that it rains 90% of the time in Holland, the conditions for creating a bicycle culture are perfect – those being – flat land, the freakishly tall populace who can see above traffic, employment opportunity for community junkies who steal unlocked bicycles and resell them in a bicycle black market (hey who needs the State when you have the Market?), and the ability to slyly offer a ride home to that hottie you been chatting up all night at the bar under the guise of saving the environment.

So how does my love affair with Dutch bicycle culture relate to my newfound edge and bad boy persona you might ask? I don’t know – but I truly care about a healthy lifestyle and the future of our planet…so do you need a lift home [hot, freakishly tall Dutch girl]?

Turner barr
turnerbarr@gmail.com

Hi, my name is Turner. I travel the world, hustle to find interesting jobs, and write about what happens when you read too many self-help books.

2 Comments
  • Jan
    Posted at 07:47h, 04 July

    Love it!

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    Posted at 14:20h, 30 October

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