Posted by: ourtravelingcircus | July 14, 2012


I have a love/hate relationship with biking here. On a nice clear day, say, about 75 degrees, the playlist in my head on the way to the grocery store goes something like this:

“I sing because I’m happy! I sing because I’m free!”

“Believe it or not, I’m walking on air….”

It’s just bliss, and nothing is more fun, when the weather is nice.

On a 59 degree day with rain and wind, the mental radio station switches abruptly to a positive self-talk station, especially on the way home, which happens to be straight into a wild North Sea wind. Then it goes like this:

“It’s not going to be so bad today. Yeah, I’m sure the wind isn’t as strong as yesterday. Look, there’s the house way off in the distance. If you can see it, it’s not really that far away, right? You can do it. It won’t be so bad today.”

But when you turn the corner to get to the last stretch of bike path, the long one that’s completely exposed with no trees or buildings to serve as a windbreak, you know you just lied to yourself. It IS blowing hard and the rain is even colder today than yesterday.

The positive self talk ends abruptly and WHAM, you’re in it. This is no Tennessee wind. It’s not a Michigan wind either, but maybe a Kansas kind of wind, with the lack of Kansas dust being the only saving grace. It knocks the breath right out of you, roars into your ears and then swirls around in your head, doing disturbing things to your sense of balance. The self talk returns; it has to. “One foot in front of the other. Just one foot in front of the other. Keep pedaling. Go, go!”

Now the music comes. “Tote that barge! Lift that bale!”

This sort of biking requires more exertion than just about any activity I can think of. If you need hydration though, it’s not a problem because the rain comes down so hard and so sideways that it goes straight into your mouth if you open it.

Finally home. After a hot shower and some warm, dry clothes, a cup of coffee and maybe a stroopwafel, the whole thing doesn’t seem so terrible. Good thing, because if there’s wind and rain I’ll be doing it again tomorrow.



  1. Wow. Sounds like good exercise!

  2. Why do it every day? Is it a character building thing?

  3. Sometime before next Sunday, let us know your arrival time.

  4. I am thoroughly enjoying virtually visiting the Netherlands. I love the picture of John and Elizabeth cycling. I didn’t realize until I saw your heading that the reason they look so charmingly free is the lack of protective headgear. Safety is overrated.

  5. Coffee and stroopwaffles probably taste better after all that wind. Loved this post. Love my van more than ever.

  6. I totally understand. It can be pretty tough. Remember, I used to have to bike to high school about 45 minutes one way in all kids of weather. Regardless of how nice that weather was, we had to bike so fast to make it on time that you would always arrive with at least some sweat on your back. If it rained hard, you weren’t always sure if you should put your rain gear on or not. Either way you would get soaked, either from the rain or the sweat from wearing the rain suit. Biking through bitter cold with sleeking rain biting into your cheeks isn’t such a great feeling either. So that’s maybe ONE thing I’m not that homesick for.

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