If you had anything close to the rich childhood I did, you would remember the childhood show series that had this band of bike stunts kids/people who solved crimes and saved the world on their bicycles. Interesting throwback there.
I often ask my friends who say they want to travel all over the world if they know how to cycle. This is because, next to the tour bus or the bus, cycling is one of the best ways to see a new city. Actually for me cycling is the best because it comes rather effortlessly to me, but for those of us that are not fitfam, there is always the bus.
The first time we rented bikes in Hyde park in London we had so much fun we would lay on the ground and laugh as a result. The rule for renting a bike is you pay 1 pound and then get to use any bike for the rest of the day on one condition only: you must return it every 30 minutes and stop riding or pick up another bike. You know, so that you don’t go park it at your friend’s house where you are watching Narcos while other people outside are looking for bikes to rent.
The rule had us doing countdowns on our watches while we raced to the nearest bike stand to clock the 29th minute. The worst of the rule was that if you locked the bike even a second above 30 minutes, they would deduct the money for the next one hour from your card anyways. And the bike would be locked so you would need to pay AGAIN to use it. Gosh! We don’t have pounds to give to the Queen of England, she has enough already! So sometimes we would lock on time and other times we would miss the time and the scramble always had us rolling. And no, we would never lock on 25 minutes because we had to maximize our use of the bikes to the very last minute. Such was our greed and it always put us in trouble.
One day this happened:
For like 2 weeks I cycled for free in London and could not understand my good fortune. Finally had to report myself to a church friend who was in the transport ministry so they could rectify it (good old good conscience, sighs).
Disclaimer: Cycling in London is quite risky so please if you are new to the town (with all their driving on the wrong side of the road) you might be hit by a bus or car at intersection because all the rules are the inverse of what you are used to from your home country).
I had the chance to see Edinburgh by cycle. I had my camera with me and it was so much fun. One of those particular days I met up with friends for drinks and after having a few I had to cycle home. If you think driving tipsy is hard, cycling tipsy is even harder. I didn’t realize I was the one controlling the bike until I got home and had to apply the brakes. I thought I was being floated home through the city by an unseen angel. Please brethren, do not drink and drive but MOST IMPORTANTLY, do not drink and cycle.
When I cycled in Berlin I had my headphones on for directions. Google maps audio instructions can be quite nice because then you can focus on riding safely and spotting your landmark buildings and attractions while you navigate to your recommended tourist destination. I find that European cities are way more cycle friendly than the US or say London. They have dedicated cycle lanes and you can cycle for miles without being disturbed by anything apart from traffic signs. Only exception I’ve seen is in the Netherlands where bikes are like horses everyone rides everywhere even on the tram lines and pedestrian paths. I saw more of Berlin in one weekend than I saw of London in 3 months (I was in school) and this was because I could simply go where I wanted at my own pace for free (after renting the bike of course).
I hope you learn to ride a bike someday. I have to limit my story telling to 700 words but when next we see I can tell you about my childhood BMX bandit days.
Travel and see more of where you go, peoples!