Waves of frustration. That’s the perfect way to sum up the last week, as we wait impatiently to get our bike on the road.
Hopefully us someday soon!
Last week we arrived in Amsterdam chomping at the bit, ready to start our tandem cycle tour of Europe. The only problem being our bike had gone AWOL somewhere on route from the oversized luggage section at Luton Airport to the airplane.
48 hours later the bike arrived. All seemed well after a quick glance over. We unpacked it and assembled all the bits and pieces; quickly improving our novice cycling knowledge.
Annoyingly first appearances were deceiving. Those carefree baggage handlers had managed to buckle both wheels despite packing him in 150 metres of bubble wrap. We thought we’d been overprotective, on second thoughts they may have handled him more delicately if we had placed him in cling film.
The bike christening
You might have noticed I called the bicycle him a few times. It just doesn’t seem sufficient to describe something that will, eventually, be carrying our lives and possessions for many miles, as an ‘It’. We’ve christened him Donkey. It’s more affectionate than it may seem, we both love donkeys and they always seem a bit sad, which is definitely the case here with his wonky wheels.
Donkey needs repairs. Not to worry, I thought, Amsterdam is the king of bicycling. As you walk through town, the swarm of bikes is incredible. Like bees around a hive, somehow they never collide. Although near misses are plenty, as are bicycle repair shops.
It seems Donkey is a unique case though; his tyres are an odd size/gear combination (don’t ask). After calling what seemed like a billion repair shops, I gave up hoping for a quick fix that very day. It was Saturday; the quickest the new parts would arrive… Wednesday.
Be still brave Donkey, you will soon be fixed. He seemed unmoved by the news. Kellie and me decided to moan about it a bit longer, just to let off some steam.
In the grand scheme of things this wasn’t a big deal, but the delay then the damage made it seem so.
We decided to upgrade our accommodation, a little treat to boost moral.
The hut we are staying in (or shed as we call it) is an icebox at night. But the campsite is full of luxury accommodation, not too dissimilar to our tiny house dream. Budget happily thrown out of the window we headed off to reception. And then turned directly back again. We discovered the entire campsite was booked (besides the icebox sheds of course).
After another hour of futile internet accommodation searching, we raised the white flag and accepted our fate. Back to the shed for us, and wearing every single item of clothing we’d brought, making hot water bottles and maybe even sneakily using the hob to heat the place. We can live with that.
Time for operation restore positivity.
This mainly involves cake. We visit places (using the trains) and eat cake. Thankfully the Netherlands is not the worst place to be stranded, and the bits in between cake eating have been rather delightful.
I have convinced myself that the dessert eating is necessary training for our impending tandem escapade. Calories are important aren’t they?
I am not going to lie, it has been frustrating being stationary, but I tell myself soon this will be a distant memory. Instead we play tourist for a week, not the plan but still fun.
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On the plus side I’ve had a good vibe from the people we have met and the places we have seen so far. Friendly, flat and picturesque are the things that stick in my brain. Obviously the flat part being the most important bit, for our unknowing legs.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the bike parts will be suitable for Donkey and our stuttering start will stop spluttering. We will know by Wednesday…
Don’t feel sorry for us though, tomorrow we are off to Haarlem for afternoon tea. Scones, clotted cream and English breakfast tea, more training innit.