I’ve had two flat tires within weeks of each other—this, after having none for nearly two years. Either it’s due to shoddy service or the snow and ice on the streets, which created rough surfaces that are difficult to gauge. All I know is that after work, I got off the subway and found my bike leaning oddly to the side, suggesting something was out of kilter. I hopped on to immediately discover the back tire was flat, as deflated as I was knowing that like Icarus, who fell to earth when his wax wings melted, I, too, was stuck on the ground.
Someone could have punctured the tire. Bikes are frequently vandalized in Amsterdam, depending on the neighborhood, the time of day and how one defines the word “hobby.” Allow me to generalize. A significant percentage of vandalism here is done by bored, testosterone-fueled teenage boys whose aggression finds an outlet on the streets—a universal phenomenon. But here in a city full of bikes, well, bikes are easy (if not sitting) targets. Walk around long enough and you’ll see the remnants of bells that were lopped off handlebars, bikes with tires bent out of shape by some mysterious brute force, others missing seats and occasionally, a bicycle that decided to climb a light post or foist itself over a bridge, like this one.
Good fun or vandalism? Depends on who you ask.
Getting back to my bike, I’m not the kind of gal who repairs flat tires. I realize this would be to my future benefit, but by the time I find and buy a tire-repair kit I could easily have it fixed by someone else, which is why it’s at the repair shop. But only one day without a bike and I feel naked and lost. It’s as if my legs were missing and moving forward is awkward, onerous even. Unnatural. I left the house with my bike keys at the ready this morning, only to realize my friend wasn’t there awaiting me.
I’ve got the flat tire blues bad today.
But tomorrow—reunited, and it feels so good….