The Bicycle as a Mode for Transport and Romantic Interludes

The simple bicycle has been around for hundreds of years. It is surely one of the world’s most amazing inventions. Name just one invention, whereby with less effort and input, more output is produced. The bicycle seems to defy the Einstein theory whereby for every action there is an equally weighted opposite action. The Dutch seemed to have taken the ‘more for less’ with gusto. Every morning and afternoon millions jump on the bike, going to and fro work, going shopping or taking kids to school. There are more bicycles than people. Especially with romance, the bike in Holland has always been an essential extension for meeting mates. First dates are usually conducted on bikes. If the bike ride blossoms into romance, both bikes might be seen lying between the reeds along a dyke or canal with the couple hidden from sight, perhaps getting acquainted away from the harsh metal embrace with a more softer more tactile manner.   Not that riding bicycles in the Netherlands precludes having physical contact while cycling. Far from it, often the young and therefore more agile will be seen holding hands AND riding their bikes. I have often felt that the rhythmic moving up and down of thighs might well incur a hastening of passion, whereby the couple’s surging hormones might finally over rule and make for casting all cautions to the wind, hence those bikes hurriedly thrown amongst the reeds.

I was told by my mother that I was possibly conceived by this typical Dutch bicycle passion as well, not amongst the reeds but in the lee of a terrible storm. They had sought shelter from a really ferocious westerly behind a dyke and once out of the wind, one thing led to another, and nine months later… there, but for the grace of two Raleigh bikes, came I. Another very favorite form of couples getting together was the female getting a ride by boyfriend sitting akimbo on the metal brace between the handle bars and bike seat. A cunning and experienced male bike-rider would of course  not be too obviously rubbing his thighs against the girl’s on one side and her buttocks on the other side. He would just occasionally, perhaps while rounding a sharp corner, massage the girl’s thighs with his. It was called the ‘coffee grinding method’ of wooing while riding. I am not sure what coffee had to do with it. I would have thought ‘potato peeling’ would have been a better and much more suitable Dutch description.

It seems sad that bike riding here in Australia hasn’t taken a leaf out of the experienced and romantic Dutch bike riding phenomenon. The whole show has been hi-jacked by a kind of Tour De France obsession. I have yet to see couples lovingly and sensually riding bicycles. It is all far too serious, almost manically. Why on earth all this uniform wearing?   Who thought up wearing those sweaty Lycra tight fitting pants which according to medical experts kills sperms. Why on earth make wearing helmets law?  Could you imagine, the ultimate of femininity and elegance, a Parisian woman  on her way home from the Boulangerie with baguette in her basket, riding a bike with a helmet on? Non. Non.

Here bike riding is a sport not a mode of transport or encouragement for wild uninhibited sex. They, the riders, are hell- bent over their handle bars, hands gloved, heads sheathed, feet shod in expensive riding Nikes strapped into pedals… One hundred kilometers today-two hundred tomorrow! The wheels are so thin; there is hardly any surface area that touches the road. The slightest pebble or loose surface and arse over head it all becomes. This type of racing bike cycling becomes perilously close to being a very dangerous method of transport. Those bikes are lethal except on the velodromes. No wonder helmets are introduced. Still, it is encouraging more people are taken to the bike and many shires are now introducing bike lanes.

However, I am not sure that riding bicycles in Australia will ever reach the level of transport or romance (with wild abandonment of those racing bikes amongst the lemon scented Australian gum trees) that the Dutch seemed to have infused and combined in their culture.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

10 Responses to “The Bicycle as a Mode for Transport and Romantic Interludes”

  1. H Says:

    I bought a bike but could not get into all other stuff like helmets and Lycra, so I sold it to my neighbour, and now I’m happy just to walk… 🙂


  2. Dejan Tesic Says:

    Recently I read “Bicycle Diaries”, a book by the former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne. Not only did I enjoy reading about his experiences of riding in many cities around the world, but I got so inspired that I went and bought myself a “city style” bicycle. I have none of that lycra stuff, and am at this stage still riding at a walking pace (especially uphill :laughs:). (Yes, we do have hills here in Wagga Wagga). I’m loving it, it takes me back to my childhood days. I don’t mind the helmet as much as I had thought I would, perhaps since I don’t have much hair, so I actually look a bit younger with the helmet on. Short pants and sandals complete the gear, and I am nearly exactly the same happy cycling kid of almost half a century ago. Well, it does take a bit of imagination.


    • H Says:

      As a kid I walked to the primary school, but cycled to the high school, a twenty k trip every day, there and back. Only very seldom did we take a bus…those were the days 🙂


  3. lonia scholvinck Says:

    There was also ” HET WITTE FIETSENPLAN” bij het Kröller Muller Museum and in Amsterdam.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thanks for your input Lonia:
      Is that plan still working in Amsterdam, or has it been abandoned? I know that in Paris there is some kind of ‘white bike’ hire plan. I cheat with having an electric bike that assists in going up-hill. The battery of the bike is broken though so I just use it as a normal bike. I don’t wear a helmet.


  4. Sonia Says:

    One of these years I plan to cycle from London back to Australia, taking my time in Holland (of course) to soak up the romance on a bicycle built for 2. You’re right, it isn’t the same – cycling in Australia … but it’s I got right now!


  5. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thanks for your input Sonia.
    There is nothing quite like cycling. My dad used to haul his bicycle and those of his kids up three stories high in The Hague before we came here in 1956.
    I have had a few bikes here but it’s the lack of cycling paths that makes it a lot harder. Car drivers seem to morph into homicidal maniacs when they get behind a steering wheel. I have taken to the two finger salute to some of those killers. I have also mastered pursing my lips into a full blown f#*ck you. ( even to old lady drivers)


  6. eeryweerywoe Says:

    I am from Scotland where bike riding is too much hard work, with all the hills. Thankfully i am living in Holland now and the cycling culture is the ‘norm’. Everyone has 1 or maybe even 2 bicycles, 1 for work and 1 for the pub.
    The dutch road network is build with cyclists as priority road users, Just the way it should be if we are to beat obesity and reduce our carbon footprints.

    I still amazes me to see people cycling home from the supermarket with a crate of beer on the back of the bike or the well dressed business man on his way to work with the suitcase securely strapped to the bike.



  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    Thanks for your visit.

    I am intriqued by the bike for the pub. Is it old and therefore a better option in case of over-imbibing at the pub and crashing it on the way home? Has it got a special basket for haggis or herrings or what?
    Please, I am very curious.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: