Fahrrad means bicycle in German. Since purchasing my amazing bike back in Illinois, I would like to think of myself as a bit of an amateur cycling aficionada. I mostly feel empowered when I bike on the street, wearing my helmet and biker’s shorts, even if I may look slightly ridiculous in such clothing. (No worries, I would often carry clothes to change into, so as not to embarrass my students and coworkers!).
I had not really thought about biking at all until I lived in Freiburg, Germany, in 2006. While there, many people chose biking as their preferred means of transportation. My host parents biked to work; one of my roommates was even a cycling courier! I did not, however, fully embrace the awesomeness that is biking in Freiburg; I “babysat” a friend’s bike from January to April (not the best biking months in most places), and I rarely biked.
The idea stuck with me, so when my MIL offered to help B and I get bikes several years ago, I was excited to get a nice bicycle I could use for commuting to school in Champaign. It really wasn’t too difficult then for me to decide to also get a bike in Bonn, even though I couldn’t really afford to buy a nice, new one. I went to the Bonn University bike flea market the first weekend of September in search of a used bike. I took a very long time to decide on a bike. If it weren’t for a bit of embarrassment in getting up so early to check out the market and then leave empty-handed, I probably would not have chosen one that day. I am now 100% glad that I did choose a bike that day! In contrast with the day I bought the bike and the handle bars got so loose that I could not even manage to ride home, I am now pleased to have a bike with lots of gears, a self-powered light, and a possible space for a basket.
I did not ride much in September; we left Bonn early enough, and I sadly left my ride in my hotel’s garage. I picked up Blue (that’s right, I just named my bike!) from the hotel when I got to Bonn over a week ago, and it took a few days to get reacquainted. I can now happily say that things are all that they should be, as far as biking in Germany is concerned. Sunday I biked along the Rhine on the way to church (I saved €5.20!), and Tuesday I biked to a choir rehearsal, in the dark, to parts of Bonn I had never been before! I have been inspired to take more sight-seeing trips around my city; as my roommate said, Bonn is really a biker’s city – it is not designed for cars! I hope to be able to avoid buying a transit ticket in Bonn and to instead bike, walk, and get rides from others as needed! I have to spend nearly €17 each time I go to Koblenz to meet with my mentor, so biking instead of traveling by train may be a nice way to save some money in other ways.
|Mein geiles Fahrrad - Blue!|
On a related note, here is a link to a song of one of my favorite German bands. The song is aptly named “Mein Fahrrad.” Here you can find the German text with English translation. I don’t necessarily agree with all this group sings in this song, but my bicycle is blue, after all…