August has been terrific – the best month of this whole Dutch “summer” of ours, by far. And it has been terrific not so much because of the few days of actual heat, and enjoying picnics at the swimming pool, and Martini-tonics on the terrace at sundown. But because it brought many small, almost imperceptible revolutions, like the flapping of butterfly wings which circle and grow, make waves, move waves, become hurricanes and landslides. The biggest, most significant magical shift in this rather demure lifestyle we lead, you see in this photo – yes, it’s a child (our child) sitting on a child seat on the back of a bike (my bike). Nothing special? Well, to me it is.
I’m sure we all have situations like this – this sort of roadblocks we plant in our own strides and then moan as the discomfort grows, but take months if not years to take a simple step, make an uncomplicated decision, and get rid of them.
This time it went like this. When the first summer in which our son was old enough to sit up came around, I mentioned to my Better Half that we need to get a child seat, so we can go on Sunday bike rides in the gorgeous landscape that surrounds us. To this, he responded – Hold it, Woman! I am going to get us a bakfiets, which is indeed a very smart and useful and popular thing here where we live. But it’s also, as I’m sure you can imagine, not cheap.
So for the next year and a half we have been sort of keeping an eye on all local eBays in the hope of finding the perfect, affordable but in good shape second-hand cargo bike of our dreams. And guess what? We didn’t find it. And in the meantime, I walked.
Everywhere I needed to go I either pushed my son in his stroller or carried all his 17 kilos of toddlerhood in a carrier on my chest. Every time I took him to the park with the big playground I had to walk for half an hour in each direction, while on a bike it would take me a little over 5. If I had an appointment a bit further than exactly in our hood I had to calculate itineraries on google maps and figure out bus routes and lose half a day on it, while if I could have just jumped on my bike, I would have been there in a sneeze.
This waiting for the bakfiets to happen went on for one entire summer, an autumn, a winter, then spring, and almost another entire summer – until two Saturdays ago, when I sent my man and child to the park, took my old sturdy bike to the first bike shop I could think of, and purchased a child seat.
And so now, fucking finally, we got wheels.
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