In many way's this was a day that I won't forget. First Velox Incendia (my velomobile) turned 1. Secondly the wind was blowing fiercely and this was the first time for me to ride in a storm. According to the weather it was about 5-6 bft (about 50 km/h) with gusts up to 80 km/h. And lastly, I was surprised in a very unpleasant way, but more on that later.

As on many Saturdays I had to go to the rowing club. Normally we row, but because of the wind we had to train indoors. On March 20th we will compete in the Head of the River Amstel (a race on the Amstel river in Amsterdam), so we had to train hard and often. A minimum of 2 times a week on the water and also about 2-3 times a week indoor rowing, running or another kind of indoor training. Today we first did 10 minute warm-up, 30 minutes hard rowing and then 10 minutes cooling-down. It went very well and I was only 4 seconds above my V-time. But I was talking about the wind. On the way to the club it was coming from behind. Result: speeds of 50-55 km/h, that's great!. I did however had to hold on to my steer because of the sudden gusts of wind that would shake my bike. Turning right towards Hoogkerk I could maintain a speed of 30+ km/h. Sadly there was a driver who overtook me, honked his horn and made a zig-zag movement with his had. I suspect he wanted to tell me I wasn't driving in a straight line. Well... let's see him try to steer straight with this kind of wind and a 2,5 meter long bike.

I planned to make a stop at the Ligfietsgarage Groningen to take a look at my headlight. Some months ago I noticed some moister in the right headlight. And this week the light didn't work properly. It went from 1 second on to 1 second of and repeated that for a while. Also there were some other small things I wanted to have done. Because I also had to pick-up some DVD's for burning a recording of a improvisation theater evening I decided to go through the Herestraat. As a cyclist I'm not allowed to cycle there but since walking with a velomobile isn't that easy I decided to go very slowly (walking speed). That way you don't endanger someone and you can stop in no-time, should someone cross the street. As I left the Vismarkt to go towards the Herestraat I passed some 'newspaper salesmen'. It was quite busy in the main street of the city of Groningen. As I turned to make my way to the Herestraat I heard (and felt) a loud bang followed by a: "you're running me over!". I was perplex... someone had just kicked (very hard) the side of my bike with the underside of his shoe. Meanwhile the man was walking away as if nothing happened.

I quickly got out, checked my bike, placed the foam cover in the bike and asked one of the salesmen if he could look after my bike so I could follow that man. After a short sprint I caught up with him and asked him what he was thinking kicking my bike like that, that's not normal! His answer remained that I should leave him alone and that I shouldn't had been driving in his way. I was furious! On the inside I was boiling, but I could control myself not punching the man. If I had to describe him, I'd say that he was not very bright and properly acted VERY impulsive. As far as I can tell, he thought he didn't do anything wrong. Also the fact that he was a bit shabby (looking at his cloths and crooked teeth) confirmed my suspicions about his 'state-of-mind'. A simple soul. In the meanwhile I was stuck with the fact that he wouldn't cooperate in any way and just kept on walking. I wanted to call the police, but my phone was still in the bike. In the meanwhile I was calling to the shopping people (who stood there looking at us) if I could borrow someones phone. Even directly asking people didn't work. I even followed the man into the Hema (a shop) but after that I had to let him go and walked 250 meters back to my bike.

Still blown away by the incident I got back in my bike and went to the police station to file a report. All the could tell me is that they couldn't help me if there was no damage to my bike. There is no such thing as 'attempted vandalism'. And because I was planing to go to the Ligfietsgarage I decided to assess the damage there. As it turned out I was very lucky. There were only some minor scratches where the bottom of his shoe hit the side of the bike. The good news is that he hit just the right spot, the place where the bottom and top half meet. It's a lot stronger there. Relieved we started to work on the other issues, such as replacing the right head light, taking a look at the breaks and some other things like new Velcro strips (the old ones came of) and trimming the forward chain guard (it was rubbing over the chain tube which did neither any good). My left break wasn't working right which caused it to 'bite'. So, we removed the wheel, cleaned it with break cleaner, oiled the hinges. We applied the same procedure for the other side, readjusted the breaks and everything was as good as new. When I was leaving, the whole service cost me nothing (the head light was under guarantee).

On my way home, head wind, went great. The speed was a bit lower then normal and the last bit along the canal was a bit slow, but in the end it was doable. When I got home I see that I have received a text message, if I want to come to a improvisation theater show tonight. Nice! It could take my mind of this horrible incident.

1 comment

Amoeba's picture
Amoeba (not verified)
Unfortunately there are

Unfortunately there are idiots everywhere, it's unfortunate, but it helps that while annoying at the time, it could have been much worse.

I wish cycling in the UK was as nice in the Netherlands, but nowhere is perfect. In-fact I wish cycling in the UK was as nice as in Germany and I know that Germany's nowhere as good from the point of cyclists as NL.