Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A truly spectacular prang

Day one of cycling was very pleasant but uneventful. We cycled through the Dutch countryside which is indeed quite beautiful but  - unlike last year – has no windmills.

This is because it is very close to the Belgian border and is not below sea level like large parts of the Netherlands (which of course literally means low countries). 

We were riding Gazelle electric bikes which sounds like fun but they are actually difficult to get used to as they weigh 25 kilos and – having a high centre of gravity – are inherently unstable.

PK – who is an engineer – says it is the worst designed thing he has ever seen but he has forgotten about Tony Abbott who almost disproves the theory of evolution.

They have a number of settings including Eco – which is the lowest – and you actually needed to use this constantly to make up for the weight of the bike. We all used this most of the time and I often went to ‘Boost’ on hills as I felt most of the time like I was riding a dead Wombat.

We all nearly crashed in the first hour or so. Gwenyth went one step further and crashed head first into the weeds at the side of the road. She said that at low speeds her bike developed a ‘death wobble’ which made it uncontrollable.

The next day the death wobble claimed Gwenyth and she pranged spectacularly when she was coming too slowly through a set of poles. She did herself a number of injuries – broke her sunglasses – destroyed her T Shirt and lost a lot of skin. 

Unfortunately we had only gone about 10k and still needed to do another 30k to get to the boat. Gwenyth did this slowly and painfully and finally limped home bloodied and beaten.

Captain Mart showed immediate and immense concern.

He rushed out to examine his bike and spent some time fondling it and shaking his head sadly.

This ruined his entire day – if not his life – and some of the spark went out of him.

He did offer to subsequently call an ambulance to take Gwenyth to hospital but his heart wasn’t in it.

We were gradually learning about Captain Mart and Miss Elly’s proclivities for rearranging cabins, personal effects and underwear - and were becoming used to finding things moved about when we returned from cycling. 

Next: Gwenyth investigates the Dutch health system and what Captain Mart has for breakfast. 


  1. I have a "dead" bicycle in the backyard that I think about fixing up, but I never make it past the thinking stage. I gave up on venturing onto the road after two of my friends had been struck by vehicles while cycling. Luckily they both survived.

  2. People pawing through your underwear is just creepy.

  3. It would be almost worth it to go back on the same trip and leave interesting devices in your underwear section, like several mousetraps. I am sure you could think of other things too by watching the Home Alone movie series ... Wow! I read some of the reviews from his other customers.

  4. esb: I would never ride in a city that did not have dedicated cycle paths. That is what is so good about Vienna.

    fmcgmccllc: Especially as we do not know if it was Capn Mart or Miss Elly - or both

    esb: I think it would need to be a rat trap