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Pictures from Mike and Anita James

Mike and Anita James

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Jan '12

Cycling in Style

So, when we first moved here, we bought some bicycles.  It’s not only part of the culture here, it’s kind of a necessity.  Bicycle paths everywhere make it safe, and the price of gasoline makes it more than a necessity.  I got a used bike and thought it was a steal.  I didn’t really know how much I would use it.

As it turns out, I use it quite a bit.  (Ok, I’ll be honest and say that I don’t use it as much as most Dutch people, but I’m way beyond what an American does.)  I usually take my bike to the grocery store, and I also take it to Grace’s swim lessons.  I’ve met up in the city with friends and gone to people’s homes to visit with it.  I’ve also done things like take meals to people on my bike and gone to Bible study, church and church meetings.

Bikes here are so much more convenient than cars sometimes.  You can go down paths that are shortcuts or that cars are not allowed on.  It’s actually faster to go to our church with a bike than with a car.  Another beauty of using a bike, besides the general healthier factor, is the money that you save using them.  I mentioned something about gasoline.  I just figured out what I paid for gasoline with the last conversion rate we used.  We’re happy because the conversion rate is actually down at the moment.  Still, we pay about $8.40 per gallon.  Crazy, huh?!  Imagine how much money we save by taking our bikes over the car.  Plus, with a bike, you don’t have to pay for parking.  In my head, I’m hearing the sound of a cash register adding up all the savings from riding a bike.

So, do you want to check out my glorious new ride?  Here she is in all of her splendour:

The new ride

Do you want to know how much better this is than my old bike (which I will actually be giving to a friend who needs a bike)?  This bike has a kick stand.  When there’s no good place to park your bike, you realize how important that is.  The brakes work really well.  That’s kind of important.  I can change gears.  The frame is sturdy enough to haul quite a bit.  My seat is complete and doesn’t have holes that take in water like a sponge.  (Again, rainy weather here really doesn’t help that problem!) My wheels aren’t rusted, and the spokes are all attached.  Yes, those are some of the things that are better about my new bike.  With my old bike the way it was, you might wonder why I’m giving it to a friend.  Hers was stolen, and her husband can do some repairs to the old bike.

You’ll notice that there isn’t a picture of me with the bike.  I took it for it’s first spin to the grocery store.  It was sprinkling a little when I left, but if you wait for it to stop raining here to do something, you might never do anything.  So, I went.  It proceeded to rain harder and then hail.  In case you’ve never cycled in the hail, you might want to know that it isn’t the most pleasant experience.  In fact, it’s a bit painful.  I was going to have Mike take a picture of me when I got back with the bike.  I looked like a drowned rat, so that photo shoot was out.  Maybe tomorrow.

I have to say a big thank you to North Texas Youth Ministries who gave money through Speed the Light to help me get my new bike.  There are kids who sacrificed for me, and I don’t take that lightly!  I can remember giving when I was a teenager for Speed the Light.  I thought it was a pretty awesome program then, and I think it’s even more awesome now!

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