Friday, February 23

Dust In the Wind

May 2006

I have been contemplating how best to describe the task of bicycling in the wind, and I think I have finally hit on it. Drop everything you are doing now and head to the gym. Or to the corner of your bedroom if that’s where you keep your stationary bike.
1. Climb onto the exercise bike.
2. Set the tension at highest resistance.
3. Set the program level at most difficult.
4. Choose “Hills”.
5. Strap on 20 lb ankle weights.
6. Balance a 50 lb weight on each leg.
7. Grab hold of the handlebars and,
8. Attempt to pedal!
Are you having trouble? Is it a bit tricky? Ha! NOW you are ready for biking in the winds of Holland!
For those who are not familiar with exercise bikes and how they work, and therefore were completely lost in the previous explanation, let me sum up. Biking against the wind is hard. Really hard. And being at or below sea level in the whole of the country, you are subject here to a lot of wind. Strong wind. Mild wind. Breezy wind. You can have your pick, because in one form or another, the wind is always blowing here. Wind that will bend trees perpendicular to the ground and gusts so strong they will literally sweep you off your feet. And while I am complaining about the wind, I want to point out that the wind suspiciously and mischievously changes directions. It doesn't seem to matter which direction I ride, I find that I am pedaling directly against it. The journey and the return both seem to take me straight into the zephyrs. How exactly does that work? Perhaps I need to invest in a stationary bike for my bedroom and give up on this mode of transport. After all, a bike in the bedroom makes for a really good clothes hanger.

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