… can I keep it?
I found this elderly ‘Den Haag’ Dutch bike on a pile of rubbish waiting for collection. It’s a beautiful machine, if rather battered and rusty, with mudguards, lights, massive chain guard, frame built from girders, and a luggage rack that can carry all your shopping, three friends and a dog. Unfortunately it would be a pain in the backside to get up hills, and if you go cycling more than a few kilometres here, hills will feature in the journey. I’m guessing this bike was left in the garage for some time after the owner got bored or too old to keep pushing it up hills, or lost the nerve to go down them. The bike certainly hadn’t moved for many years when I saw it waiting to be chomped by a dustbin lorry. There is no way I was going to let that happen so I rescued it.
As an added bonus I’ve found an
excuse reason to keep the bike, as I’m commuting to a local hospital at the moment (as part of the learning to be an ambulance driver fightback) and one of the joys of living on the edge of the public transport system is that the metro passes us every ten to fifteen minutes, but the bus seems to leave just before the tram gets in, and even less off peak, which is when I’m usually travelling because of the hospital shifts. It is only a few kilometres to the tram stop, but there was no way I was going to leave the Xtracycle to be trashed there all day, but I can leave this bike chained to a fence and feel pretty safe that it will still be there when I get back: only a very strange person would want a Dutch three-speed around here. With this as my commuter bike I’m saving myself about half an hour and a couple of Euros a day. Considering the bike came free I reckon that’s a pretty good deal.
Most importantly, when riding the Den Haag I feel incredibly chic and cosmopolitan, right up to the point I drove through a pile of horse poo.