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.