Maastricht’s Bike Effect

by Kathi Korczok

It rattles, it squeaks, it bumps and if you eventually start to feel sympathy for this old and rusty construct of too many separate parts, which just does not want to stick together, you only find a broken locker in the shed.

This story is dedicated to all other Maastricht students that are suffering with me and their favourite means of locomotion, the bike. It starts every morning in the bike shed and whoever thinks that it is hard to find a parking space for his or her car in the inner city has never fought for a space in this minefield of a bike parking lot. Since I regularly come late for tutorials, not even mentioning the lectures, I usually just want to quickly lock my bike and run. However, I first find myself playing an early game of Tetris, while trying to balance between a fragile assembly of at least ten intertwined bikes. As I walk by to find a parking-spot, I observe how the handlebars of a little red bike stick to its blue neighbour bike’s basket, while this basket got tangled up in the pedals of a silver mountain bike. Even this one is itself stuck in the spikes of another old bike that apparently has seen changing owners with diverging tastes in colour. Finally I reach a free stripe of space but the parking is only finished, if I eventually succeed in unravelling my handlebars from the oversized bike bags and saddles of the bikes next to mine.

After this stress, I get some rest in my class and calm down, while pretending to listen to some boring and unheated discussion. When I get my bike again to leave for my well-deserved closing time, I praise the loyalty and individuality of the maybe oldest object I own besides the teddy my aunt gave me to my birth. So I drive home, ignore the rattling, squeaking and banging sound that becomes even louder on the clumsy ride on Maastricht’s paving stones and brake foresighted as I do not want to overwhelm my worn brake lining.

As the day goes by and the sun goes down I happily hop on my old friend to join the next house party and we drive together in the dark shades of the night in Maastricht. Surely my lights have never worked and the little LED lamps I responsibly bought to escape the fine for driving without working lights, have already been stolen some months ago.

Photo courtesy of iroincomingsbe.wordpress

Katharina Korczok
Katharina Korczok

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