German bikes are strange. Why are they so dainty? Why do they give the impression they will faint with exhaustion if pushed too hard? Why do they harness themselves with fragile wire baskets which are not really meant to carry anything? And why are they so expensive?
For a Dutch person a bicycle is an absolute must. And in Frankfurt cycling is actually an easy way to move around once you get used to recognising the skimpy cycling paths. And when you have learnt to anticipate that the pavement is often the only way to move forward, that traffic lights are shared with pedestrians and that motorcars act surprised every time you cross their path. The traffic lights seem to take endlessly long and cycling ‘paths’ are so erratic that stopping, and getting off and on again, takes up half of your journey time.
How I miss my Dutch bike. At the Frankfurter Flohmarkt near the Main I bought an old, second-hand bike, a very German model. It is sweet and we have great times together. However last week I was reunited with my sturdy, trustworthy transport bike in Amsterdam: what a thrill! I felt like a queen on the bike in a bike Walhalla. Comfortable, effortless movement on endless cycling paths stretching from city centre to outskirts, right of way for cyclists, clear cycling directions and signposting…. One day I would like to bring my Dutch bike to Frankfurt but I’m not sure she will survive the culture shock.