Thursday, July 03, 2008

Lock It Up

One of the many details of daily life here that struck me immediately as very different from life in the US is the simple bike lock. They come standard with bikes whether the bikes are new or used - or probably rented. Both sides are pictured here.

When you turn the key on the one side, you push the lever down on the other side and a bar goes between the spokes of the tire, immobilizing it. Of course you have to use a chain as well so no one picks it up and takes carries it away, but this is extra insurance. It also allows you to throw the small lock, run into a store and not have to fiddle with the chain.

And the key stays in the lock as you ride it. It's supposed to be impossible to take the key out (it's not like you need the key anyway) but mine came out the other day when the lock was open. Of course it was me on auto-pilot pulling at it, but it seems like that shouldn't happen. Oh well.

A few months ago, my key broke off in the lock. Thankfully, it was open so I could ride it to the repair shop. I thought I was going to have to buy a whole new lock, but the guy fished out the broken part and told me to take both pieces to the locksmith and have a new key made. Amazingly, the locksmith did it and now I have a new key. (But perhaps that's why this key isn't as snug as the other.)

This city is such a bike-centered place, and I am so dependent on my bike. I'd be lost if I had to take public transportation everywhere. My whole schedule would be thrown off and ruled by the schedules of the trams.

And the idea of a car? Don't get me started. That would be such an albatross around my neck.


Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about cars here - we have one and drive it once every couple of months. I use my bike for everything and that is with three kids in tow (literally with a bakfiets). I am SO pleased not to need to drive. I've never liked cars much.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I am in love with my car, but I would be pleased as punch if I could bike everywhere, (and I know I really would!) Unforunately, California is neither bike friendly or even equipped with a good mass transit system. I can't even take the bus two cities over and I live 30 minutes from LA.