May 15, 2005

But.. it's just like riding a bicycle

Today I had this experience that made gave me a glimpse of what is was like to be a child again, and to have that feeling I used to have when I would run around on the streets of suburban Reykjavik with the other kids in the neighborhood, worrying about little other than what my mother would say when I would once again come home too late. This may sound strange to many of you, but the reason why I had this feeling today was because for the first time since I was 12 years old (really), I rode a bicycle. Why have I not ridden a bike since I was 12? Well, I try to walk as much as I can. If the distance is too great, I take a bus. Sometimes I get a lift.
But last Thursday I got into a bit of a dilemma. I knew I am working an extra shift on Sunday, and my boss asked me to work Monday as well. The thing is that both these days are holidays, meaning that buses don't start running until later than usual. I didn't fancy taking a taxi to work both days, so I decided to ask my sister to lend me her bike, and she was kind enough to do so.
My sweet little niece Gudrun was also riding her bike as I was trying my sister's bike out, and she noticed I was feeling a bit nervous. We had a dialogue that went something like this:

Maria: I don't know how to ride a bike anymore
Gudrun: Do you want me to teach you?
Maria: You're 11. I think I can handle it
Gudrun: All right. But just let me know if you need any assistance.
Maria: Oh yeah, I'll let you know for sure..

So I rode the bike, and I can't even explain how feeling the wind on your face while doing a seemingly simple thing like riding a bike in the midnight sun, does for the mind and soul. I almost felt like a carefree 12 year old again. Well, or at least until I crashed into the guy on the skateboard..

Posted by Maria at May 15, 2005 01:10 AM | TrackBacks
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I was feeling so nostalgic too as I was reading along --all the way until I got to "until I crashed into the guy on the skateboard." Then I terrified my cat with a mighty and totally unexpected guffaw of laughter! I'm still giggling. Tell me, did he scream?

Posted by: katie-yael at May 15, 2005 05:47 AM Permalink

Happy Israel Independence Day!

Posted by: EdWonk at May 15, 2005 06:29 AM Permalink

Oops! Time difference. Well, at least it is still the 14th here in the California Desert.

Posted by: EdWonk at May 15, 2005 06:34 AM Permalink

Ouch! I hope you are OK! I also hope that your sister's bike was not damaged.

As for the skateboarder... they are perhaps the only thing lower on the food chain than snowboarders... so I wouldn't worry too much about him! ;-)

Posted by: David at May 15, 2005 10:03 AM Permalink

I'm absolutely baffled...first bicycle ride since you were 12!?!?!? *jaw dropping time and again*

It's difficult to find words for this...this...this...mind-boggling perspective. Life without biking...

To me a bicycle is a necessity of life, just like air, food, beer and broadband are (and just like coffee, Oprah and cell phones aren't). It's the best way of transportation to me, living in Gothenburg. Fast. Cheap. Healthy. Comfortable.

Probably David is right about the skateboarders postition in the food chain, but it's tragic. The lowest position should definitely be saved for car drivers. They are, with very few exceptions, a bunch of murderous antisemitic loonies! I'm close to being killed on a daily basis due to drivers that just refuse to comply with traffic laws. They drive on sidewalks, ignore stop signs, go in the wrong direction on 'one way' streets...I get the feeling that there's some secret competition going on...break the most traffic laws and win a free trip to Hawaii.

Probably I'll have to get a drivers license sooner or later. If we want to buy a house outside town we'll need a car, but I just hope it'll be later rather than sooner. After all, buying petrol is the most effective way of sticking money in the pockets of islamists.

Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at May 15, 2005 08:10 PM Permalink

Katie: He didn't scream :)

David: My brother said that it was a pity I didn't hit a guy with rollerblades. I wasn't hurt, and neither was the guy. He took it really well. He was around 17 or so. He laughed and told me that it was no problem since nobody got hurt.

Torbjörn: I have never even once in my life watched Oprah. I am, however, a hopeless coffee addict (consume ridiculous amounts of coffee a day), and I couldn't imagine life without a mobile phone (and yes, they are necessary, and I just can't stand trying to contact people who don't have them!). But please don't think I watch talkshows. I don't. Infact, I don't own a television..

Posted by: Maria at May 15, 2005 10:38 PM Permalink

Oh, I forgot...add TV to the necessary items ;)

We have a channel called Discovery Mix. Half the day they run (lousy) programs about animals, and the rest of the day, in the evenings, they run documentarys about technical and historical issues.

Countless are the times when I, completely exhausted after a full days work and taking care of the kids, have sunk deep into our sofa and just zapped between the channels. I almost always end up in front of Discovery Mix, watching some 30 min documentary about the worlds largest digging machine or something of the kind :)

And I'm not alone. I've met several people (all males, for some strange reason :D) who also have a tendency to get stuck in front of 'How Hong Kong airport was built' (I saw that one on several occasions) and various programs about how to build really big bridges/tunnels/houses. Very relaxing.

I do have a cell phone, but very rarely use it. I don't drink coffee, because I hate the taste, but I drink lots of tea with lemon juice.

By the way, David, I saw you wrote about Yak butter tea. The yak butter is supposed to be rancid (!), and they also put salt in the tea. The tea itself is so called 'brick tea'. It resembles a black brick, and you carve a bit off the brick every time you make tea.

In Russia they often drink tea with jam. Tea in Russia is usually served in glasses, and the glass is put in a metal (usually silver) thingee (called a podstakan, with a handle on it. Russian tea does not contain tannines and can therefore soak for hours without becoming bitter. This is the reason Russians can use samovars, in which the tea is kept warm for hours.

Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at May 15, 2005 11:38 PM Permalink

Heh, I just started cycling again too, but for a different reason. I bought a bicycle horn on an impulse in Copenhagen a few weeks ago (a loud contraption that sounds like an enraged swan and looks like this.
Now, I hadn't touched a bicycle for a decade so my wife asked me "Just what are you going to use that for?". Not wanting to look like a twit with a bicycle horn, I had to dust off the old mountain bike and pretend I had planned it all along.

I have now ridden the blasted thing to work three times in the past week or so and I am now acutely aware of the fact that there is a height difference of over 200 meters between my workplace and my home - and I still haven't had the chance to use the infernal widget that started it all! I guess the squealing brakes suffice to warn pedestrians of an incoming ballistic twerp.

This burning sensation in my thighs will wane, right?

Posted by: Fluffster at May 16, 2005 12:02 PM Permalink

That i so funny... I wouldn't know what to do without my bike, but I live in Amsterdam and if anyone knows anything about Holland they know how much people love the freedom of zipping around the city on your bike.

Posted by: HasidicG at May 16, 2005 06:17 PM Permalink

Holland! You surely know how to bike! And how to build bikes. I ride a Batavus. So does my girlfriend, and my oldest son used to have a Batavus too. Not the 'made in China/Taiwan' crap that most people regret they ever bought.

Posted by: Torbjörn Karfunkel at May 16, 2005 07:52 PM Permalink

I haven't even noticed the name of my bike. It's blue, or purple. Can't remember. It has a nice basket on the front, real practical.

Posted by: Maria at May 16, 2005 08:19 PM Permalink