Day 18 – I like to ride my bicycle (Part Deux)
After our success(!) with the bike tour in Amsterdam we have been keeping a eye out for bike hire to have another go. The great thing about Amsterdam was that it was flat and had cycle lanes. Prague was neither flat nor had cycle lanes. Vienna had cycle lanes, was flat but wanted €35 a day to hire a bike. We didn’t have enough time in the Budapest (after a trip to the baths) which brings us to Como. The city itself is nice and flat and mainly pedestrianised. We have seen lots of people on bikes and what’s more we found a place where we could hire them for €10 a day. (Also, the lake is flat, so the roads running along side are quite flat as well).
We went to the hire shop and asked for 2 bikes. The gentlemen behind the counter seemed some what distracted with a brochure or something.
“What sort?” Now there’s a question. I was guessing because Como is in a range of mountains he wanted to ascertain whether we were planning on going up and down hills (yeah, right). “City Bike?” I suggested. He came from behind the counter and pointed out the window at 2 bikes in racks. “That one and that one”
Ok, then. We headed out and had the fun job of getting the saddle so low that Karen legs could touch the floor. Once that was (more or less) successfully achieved He asked for “documents”. Eh? “You pay when you get back, we just need a document”.
“Is my driving licence ok?””Sure” with that he took my Driving Licence (which has a picture which makes me look like a serial killer) and returned to studying his brochure and left us to our own devices.
The bike shop was on a very busy road, so wheeled our new steeds (nick named “Silver” and “Dobbin”. Oh yes. We are the type of people who name inanimate objects) to the nearly park. Now the thing to remember about all this is that other than 2 hours, 2 weeks ago, myself and Karen have not ridden bikes for years. There are a few cycle paths around Como, but with most of the motorists being nutters, it seems ok for cyclists to ride on the pavement. We did occasionally risk the road (if it was quiet) but mainly stuck to cycle paths and the pavement.
In my blog on day 2 I mentioned that Karen frequently makes reference to the fact that she never did her cycling proficiency and so was not too confident on a bike on the road. Well I discovered today she wasn’t too confident on a bike on the pavement either.
Actually, that’s not fair. If there were no pedestrians or obstacles on the pavement she was fine. If there was no traffic on the road she was fine. It was only the 95% of the time that neither of these criteria were met that she struggled. We pushed our bikes for a fair amount of time today.
I kept telling her that the main thing which you learn on you cycling proficiency is road sense, which she has in buckets full with over 20 years of driving experience. There was however one skill I remember they did teach you which would be very useful around these parts. The Slow Race.
The Slow Race was where you all lined up at one end of the playground and you had to cycle as slowly as possible to the other end without putting your feet down. This involved much “wiggling” of your front wheel to keep your balance whilst moving at a snails pace. This an important skill when trying to negotiate the streets around here. They are full of pedestrians who really don’t want to move for you and dogs. Have I mentioned the dogs? There are loads of them. Little things on leads. We came across a Daschund who seemed to live in a kitchen shop (they have lots of them too) as his basket was by the counter. Karen has been back in every day since, but he hasn’t made a re-appearance. Shame.
So today we have pottered about on bikes today. Along the way we saw and OctoCopter (a remote controlled drone which you fix a camera to), a few planes take off from the lake and got up and close personal to the big fountain on the lake side.
To be fair, by the end of the day Karen had improved greatly. She was negotiating pedestrians, bollards, pets and all sorts of other obstacles. All I need to do now is get to her to ride on the right side of the road and we will be sorted.
Today’s cake of the day was a chocolate brioche, link to a recipe here: http://www.bakingmad.com/chocolate-chip-brioche-recipe/