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But not because I wanted to. No, I had to cycle to work today because the public transportation company GVB was on strike so no busses, trams, or metros were running. I first read about the strike around 9:30 last night after arriving home from a 24 hour trip to London. I was casually relaxing on the couch surfing the web when I came across the announcement. Great way to end an already long and tiring day, yes?

The first thought through my mind was: How will I get to work tomorrow? A taxi would cost a fortune. A train wouldn’t get me to the right place. How about my bike? The purple people eater. A proper Dutch oma fiets (grandma bike). No gears, pedal brakes, squeaky cranks. That sounds like a great idea, yeah? Not really. I decided I would cycle to work but was not looking forward to it. In hindsight, for good reason.

The route

The office is 12.5k from home according to Google’s fantastic map making machine and it doesn’t look that bad from the picture. Cut diagonally through city center then head south. Easy right?

Around 8:15 I set out on my journey estimating about an hour to get to work. The ride didn’t even start out well. I got turned around while still in city center and as soon as I hit suburbia it got even worse. I’m pretty sure, with all the circles I rode in, the trip to the office was 15k and took more like an hour and a half. Fortunately when I walked into the meeting room where everyone was waiting, I got a round of applause and laughs. Thanks guys.

Surely the ride home would be quicker and easier. I’d done it once and instead of trying to follow Google’s directions I would follow the metro route. One word. Fail. It started well this time. I was able to follow the tracks a few stops, but then the metro line took a curve and the bike path did not follow. Having next to no sense of direction I was quickly turned around and lost in a suburban neighborhood where every brick building looked the same and every tiny car was like the one next to it. I lost about 30 minutes just trying to find my way back to the tracks. Awful.

From there I was on track, but about halfway through I hit a head wind and energy was draining quickly. I didn’t think it was possible, but it took longer to get home than it did to get to the office. My zig zag journey was close to two hours and likely exceeded the morning’s 15k. My legs were jello. My butt was (is) sore from the oma seat. I’m sweaty and exhausted.

I love my bike and enjoy riding it around town, but the next time GVB strikes I’ll be paying whatever the taxi charges because whatever the cost it’s worth the time, energy, and frustration saved. Thankfully the strike ends tonight and I can get to work tomorrow expending little to no energy at all. Huzzah!

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