Yesterday was The Professor's birthday, and we got him a new bike. He's been using Catgirl's bike for ages, but it's a bit on the small side...and it's fuchsia. Not a very dignified mode of transport for a university professor. He's been wanting a Dutch bike for years, but the last time we were in Holland we checked out a few and they were extremely expensive. So, we settled on this one, which is pretty much the closest thing you can find over here in Spain. The wheels are an inch larger than Catgirl's, and most importantly, it's not pink.
Let me tell you, this was not easy to find. The concept of biking over here is pretty much limited to cross-country, and racing...after all Spain has won the Tour de France a fair number of times. So everybody either wants to be another Miguel Indurain, or they want to do acrobatics down the side of mountains. But ride a bike to work? Not so much. Then again, with the way people drive around here, riding a bike in a Spanish city is probably more dangerous than hurtling down a steep hill at top speed.
But we live just outside Pamplona, in a quiet area, and one of the few local bike paths just happens to go straight from our neighborhood to the university. So, The Professor rides his bike to work. And a mountain bike just doesn't cut it. Especially a pink one.
We had a heck of a time getting the guy at the bike shop to understand that The Professor has no intention of biking off-road or doing any dirt jumping, nor is he vying for the next Tour de France title, and that what we were looking for was a city bike, the kind you can comfortably ride to work with your laptop strapped to the back. We said we wanted a Dutch bike, or something similar, but the guy had no idea what a Dutch bike was. Come on dude, don't you know that Holland is the paradise of bicycling? Haven't you ever seen a video of all those Dutch people riding through the busy city streets, their baskets and bike bags loaded with food, flowers, books, or whatever else they need to transport? Seriously, you need to watch this:
After much explaining, the guy still didn't get it, and lacking an internet connection to show him the video, we walked ourselves around the store until we found this one parked in a well-hidden corner, behind all the mountain bikes, racing bikes, and various flashy designer bikes that looked like the kind of thing that would leave your hindquarters wishing you'd taken the bus. "Oh, so that's what you're looking for," the guy said. Yeah, no thanks to you, you so-called bike expert. But we found it, and that's all that matters.
So, The Professor has his bike, but didn't get to try it out yesterday because it snowed. This morning, however, it was sunny and clear, cold enough to freeze your butt off, but no snow, so he took it to work. His comment when he came home from work, "Wow, it's fast!" It seems that the speed of the bike depends on the size of the wheels.
I guess that sometimes an extra inch does make a difference.