Friday, March 21, 2008

F is for Fiets

One of the biggest pains in the necks is bicycles like this one. It's been sitting in the bike rack in front of our apartment for as long as I can remember. The front tire is gone, the back tire is flat, and the frame and the chain are rusted. It's taking up valuable space in our rack. Fortunately, the city came by the other day and put a sticker on it (the long purple one) and they will supposedly be taking it away in the 13th week, which is next week.

I had actually told Fred that I was going to bring down our hacksaw and remove it myself. I'd saw through the frame, not the chain. Probably illegal, but I have to say that before we got really good locks, I clipped through both of our cheap chains using a pair of pliers. It took about five minutes on the second one because I figured out how to do it. Now we have monster chains, which is necessary here. The wacky thing is that we had gone to some policemen standing on the corner and asked if they could help. They could not and they did nothing as I clipped my way through that cheap chain. Five minutes - and not a hurried, flustered five minutes. Got a bike in Amsterdam? Invest in a good chain.

By the way, the word for bicycle in Dutch is fiets - pronounced feets. Two bicycles are fietsen - pronounced feets-uhn. See? Dutch is easy. (Har har)

This is the bike rack in front of our building. It looks sort of endless, but there's a space between the two racks. It's the angle of the photo that makes it look huge. Mine is the forth one in. It's black.

There are bikes all over the city that have been left by their owners. I had a friend move away a couple of years ago and she said that her boyfriend had a bike he would like to sell, but that it was locked somewhere and he couldn't remember where it was. I think he'd also misplaced the key. Obviously I didn't buy it. But there are bikes all over the city that have been dismantled or where the wheel is bent and it's just been left. Bikes, like good lookin' guys, come a dime a dozen in Amsterdam. Not as easy as NYC to buy a good, used stolen one (or so I've heard), but you can find one for a reasonable price.

I cannot end without mentioning the weather. It is bitter out today. Bitter. When I left for work this morning, there were sheets of an absolutely cutting, raw wind with icy rain. But it's Spring...isn't it? I'll keep the winter coat out for a while.


Rhonda the Stitchingnut said...

You post is interesting. I have a good friend in the Netherlands ... Diessen. Been there twice to visit. Loved it both times. I made a comment once at how amazed I was so see so many bikes (fiets)in one place when we visited her university. It was mind boggling to this New Englander who has to drive everywhere. Altho, now I take public transportation. I know how to get around by train. Have a good weekend!

Littlelou said...

I LOVE all the bikes in Amsterdam..I'd love to cycle around but health (and possibly pedestrians safety) doesn't allow me the pleasure. I love the carts on the front or back of some cycles for wee kiddies...hmm can't see my other half carting me around, pity!
Happy Easter to you!

Kat said...

I wish that more cities in America had bike racks. I am always having to chain mine to lights in parknig lots becauces there is no other place to put them.

Brennan said...

Gelukkige Feestdagen! I found your site through some other link, and I love it. =) I am a Canadian who lived in Belgium for two years, so I know what it is to learn a smattering of Dutch, and I really related to your post with Maria, the student who knows very little language. I remember being like that, with no contacts and nothing to do with myself. I will try and check in now and then...I really miss the Flemish and the Dutch people. I hope all is well on 'Pasen.' =)