You never forget, right? I guess that is true for last week was the second time in probably forty years I have ridden a bike. Although I was a bit nervous at first, having an expert on hand to fit me to the right size bike was certainly handy. When I had used one of the river cruise bikes in Holland a few years ago I quickly realised that it was way too big and heavy for me so now I was all set up with the right size bike. Ready steady go!
As I cycled the streets of Victoria I gained more confidence as I realised that the drivers there were very courteous and drove slowly past giving me a wide berth. Mmm I had to wonder how that would go down in Calgary after seeing so many people speeding through the 30 zone in front of my house. Some countries even legislate on the space you should give a cyclist when overtaking.
My husband had suggested that we ride on the pathway as that would be easier. NOT. Trying to dodge lamp posts and pedestrians on this narrow pathway with an ominous looking kerb waiting to “get” me was not that easy. I said I would rather ride on the street. OK he says, then ride facing the traffic, it’s much safer. That didn’t work very well as within a few minutes I was faced with oncoming traffic which was in fact two spandex clad guys on flashy looking bikes. I stared at them bewildered as to what to do. They screamed past and I caught the comment from one to the other…”British”.
Biking is so popular now – especially with us baby boomers – that there are special tours out there that are fully guided, luggage transported from one place to another with five-star accommodation waiting where you can rest up your aching bum.
If you feel you are not up to doing a whole week of biking then why not consider a day or two. There are some great places to bike – Holland of course is famous for its biking lanes. The country is flat which is a help (none of those gear clacking, thigh busting hills that I experienced in Victoria). So many people in Holland bike to work so it is not unusual to see women in suits and heels riding to work – or even taking the kids to day care on their way.
Many of the river cruises today carry bikes and even offer guided tours in places of interest. Just a recommendation however – follow my lead and get some practice in before you go. Remember – unless you are very well experienced then rather stick with a guided group. The rules of the road are different in Europe, the road signs may be incomprehensible to you,
and don’t forget about those damn cobbled stone roads.