During commuting hours in the Netherlands, I have watched in-motion cyclists:
- Wear high-heels.
- Walk a dog.
- Walk two dogs.
- Transport an upright bass.
- Eat a sandwich.
- Hold hands.
- Pull along a rolling suitcase.
- Drink coffee from a regular ceramic coffee mug.
- Support a sleeping baby’s head with one hand while steering with the other.
- Compose emails using both hands (‘Blackberry style’) while remaining upright and blowing through intersections.
All a pleasant change from watching passengers on Hong Kong’s MTR (subway) apply make-up (tick), yell at Mainland Chinese (tick), rush for the open seats at Kowloon Tong or Hung Hom (tick, tick) or play Candy Crush on their Samsungs (tick to infinity). (I do, however, miss spotting cyclists in the New Territories blaring Cantonese opera from radios strapped to their handle bars while also transporting bulky fishing equipment.)
My own modest cycling feats in Utrecht have included:
- Cycling three children to the gelato shop and home again without dumping my bakfiets (cargo bike).
- Using Google Maps’ live ‘by bike’ directions to navigate Utrecht (my daughter holds up the phone for me).
- Improving my daughter’s math skills with the following line of questioning: There are 23 cyclists waiting at this red light, how many became tired of waiting and jumped the light? How many safe cyclists remain? How many light-jumpers were hit by the motor scooter, pizza delivery guy who just ran the red light?
Next bike challenge: Circle the city in heels and a dress while my daughter holds up a boom box (Say Anything-style) blaring Cantonese opera.