Monday, July 13, 2009

Friendly Canal Biker

Time: 15min to city hall, 45min with new biker buddy
Weather: Not too hot, not too cold, not too anything.

Had to renew Dutch passport today. Biker hair was flying away. Tamed it sooo much for the picture that I looked like the killer card in Old Maid. Photographer said I could not have crazy wild bangs in my face, and must put behind my ear. International, legal passport photo regulations. OH MY. So grateful this will only be in my passport for FIVE years.

Only American in the Village
Traffic and biking is scary in the little village. Not clear who has right-of-way, more based on who is fastest and more ballsy. I am neither. So I decided to ride out the not-so-busy end through the countryside. Not many canals. Next best thing is the castle or the trains.

Heard a train coming and was positioning self with BlackBerry in the air. Older gentleman passed me, possibly narrowly dodging my clothesline wrestler arm. Then he slowed, too. Asked me if I was lost and if was I using my GPS. Not lost. Just trying to take picture for my blog (pic at top of today's post).

Miss Understood
I explained in Kemosabe-Caveman Dutch, 'me Tammie, me make fire', that I was writing about my bike rides. Not his fault, but he understood this, "Me writer. Me ride during the week in Tour de France. Follow Rabobank Team with my bike to work. Support team with my bike on the canal and blog site."

Pim rode with me and talked to me. Let me take his photo. We rode slow. For me, for him. Remember he had aleady passed me once, so more for me. Pim is retired and rides every couple of days just to loosen up his joints. He usually rides 10-15km (7-10 miles) depending on the weather.

Pim, retired biker buddy
A very well-educated man. Perhaps somewhat self-taught or at least has a continuing interest to keep his brain sharp. Pim loves languages. In school he studied Dutch, French, German, English, Greek and Latin. I remember my teachers didn't want me taking French and Spanish in the same semester. The Dutch really excel in language learning.

Figuring out Traffic
Before retiring Pim was a traffic engineer. Made sure cities had traffic flow for cars, lights, pedestrians, crossings and even bike paths and bikers, like Pim and me. Lately, what keeps Pim busy is genealogy. His own family and tracking others. He doesn't trust all the info on the Internet. Prefers solving his own puzzles.

After 45 minutes of deciphering my choppy Denglish sentences, Pim said my Dutch was fine and you really couldn't tell that I was British. American I said. "Oh. You don't sound American." ...nor do I sound Dutch, Pim.

Four Seasons Bike Route, where I rode with Pim

My Tour Break in Holland
As we got close to my home, Pim admitted that he thought IIIIII was riding in the Tour de France behind the Rabo Team. It was my off day and I would be heading back to France tomorrow. To follow the team, on my bike. I would write about it. That was my work.

Probable Pro Cycling Reporter
T'was kind of Pim to give me the benefit of the doubt. Probable that I was a racing journalist. In my bad Dutch, I was claiming to be an on the spot, roving, roaming reporter. Riding along side the pro cycling team on my bald tires, getting out of breath quotes from fallen riders and getting down and dirty in the action with my wee little BlackBerry.

I told Pim, "They are riding 150-200 kilometers a day. I ride 10-20km. Just down the canal. That was enough for me." We laughed. He looked at his watch and said, "We made more than 45 minutes, so we probably made 10km."

Number of people who passed me: 1, just Pim.
Number of people who passed me and Pim: Zero

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