Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Can I please buy a bicycle

Cate told me through clenched teeth today that the QM has more than two gears. I had suspected this but had no idea where they were or how to find them so had muddled along with two. With Cate's encouragement I have now managed fleeting periods in third gear and they are most satisfying. Say what you like about the QM but it has the heart of a lion!

On Saturday we ventured out to buy two bicycles. The plan was to walk to the bike shop, buy the bikes and helmets and then cycle to the Internet cafe. Hah!

It doesn't seem like a long way on the map but let me tell you that 5 Lasallestrasse is quite a hike from Am Heumarkt. A key feature of the trip is the perilous negotiation of the 12 pointed Prater Stern. Panting with exertion and anticipation we arrived in full bike buying mode.

Hans Peter is a lovely man but wouldn't sell us any bikes. He said he had the perfect bikes for us at €499 each - but not in the right size. He would have to get them from Hamburg.

He had some more expensive bikes that would suit us (€800) and we were so desperate we said we would pay - but sadly it was out of his price range. We could not have these bikes because:

(a) We were only here for a few years and would not get value for money, and

(b) More expensive bikes get stolen more often in Wien

No amount of pleading would change his mind. He told us to go and look at other bike shops and if we couldn't find anything to send him an email and he would order the bikes from Hamburg. This we did after failing to find another bike shop.

You can imagine the conversation in Hans Peter's house when he gets home at the end of a hard day not selling bicycles.

'Did you have a good day dear'

'Oh Yes - I sold no bicycles today - it was tough because some Australians blubbed and pleaded - but I was strong - you would have been so proud of me'

'Oh Hans Peter - you are such a good man!'

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