The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make in Amsterdam is the bicycle. Not having a car to leave ‘leave-in-the-car’ type stuff and making the change from nice big boot for all my shopping to a milk crate cable tied to the front of the bike is something I wonder if I’ll ever get used to.
There are certain things you don’t need to worry about when you have a car, one of those is falling over. In the time we have been here I am up to 5 falls, one of which involved tram tracks and the most recent last night while I was perched on the back of Simons bike trying to look like sitting on the carrier rack of a bicycle is my standard mode of transport.
The events of the next few moments was a blur but happened in slow motion. I heard Simon swearing and then my boots graciously started rising up in front of my face…and then I lay there, only for a few seconds, but it felt like ages. It was almost like I had died. Since it had been raining we landed in a puddle and I felt the wet (and the humiliation) slowly soaking through my far-too-thin trench coat and during the eternity that I lay on the pavement I pondered a few things. What were the people behind us thinking, are they cringing? Are they laughing? Are they remembering a time the same happened to them (probably not). What do I do? Do I shout ‘I’m ok!’? Do I shout ‘We’re not drunk!’? What does one actually do in a situation like this?
At least in a car you can step out one expensive high heel at a time, flick your hair and walk over to the persons who caused the accident (because its never my fault). On a bicycle, however, you are left to struggle on your own and pick up your bag, phone and pride by yourself.
Eventually, once I’d awkwardly been pulled to my feet like I was being arrested for public tomfoolery, I got back on the bike (as you do in life. Ha ha) and thought – between violent bursts of laughter – how these Dutch people manage to look so gorgeous and elegant on a bloody bicycle.