Bike Wheels Keep on Turnin’

June 15, 2010 at 4:35 PM 8 comments

Last Tuesday, John called me about half an hour before the start of his workday to tell me that our car – our one and only vehicle – had broken down. He was stuck on the side of the road and the car wouldn’t run anymore. It turns out a part in the fuel pump is broken. After John did some research at home, we found out that our car, a 2001 Nissan Xterra, had been recalled in 2004 for this very issue. After dealing with Nissan Europe and Nissan North America, we seem to be on the right path toward getting this fixed.

We were finally authorized a rental car that John picked up this morning – hurray! It’s been weird living without a car. John had no way to get to work if he didn’t get a ride from someone else, and we had no way to get to the commissary, because there’s no public transportation that goes out that way.

On Friday, after a few days of mulling it over, we decided to buy bicycles. (Not knowing how long we’d be without a car, we decided this was a good choice. Plus, we were both wanting bikes anyway.) As I mentioned when describing our trip to France, I’m not an expert biker. I’m not even an intermediate level biker. I’m, quite frankly, a novice. I never really had a bike growing and so I didn’t get practice. That said, I was willing to give this bike thing a shot. We ended up finding a great deal at a bike shop that was closing down (just one of many locations for the store). We got our bikes 30% off and were exempt for the 19% VAT, so we ended up saving about 150 Euro or approximately $190 per bike. Good deal, right?

We bought trekking bikes, which is sort of like a cruiser (or what the Germans call a “city bike”). The city bikes have a hand brake and foot brake and only have 7-9 speeds. The trekking bike just has hand brakes (which I prefer), and I think they have at least 12 speeds. As I recall, our bikes have 15 speeds.

This is basically what my bike looks like. (Image taken from

We have already used the bikes a great deal. We rode out once on Friday, two or three times on Saturday, twice on Sunday and I have taken mine to work yesterday and today. John is the real rock star, though. He joined me on all the weekend rides and then ended up riding his bike 10 miles each way to and from work yesterday!

From Friday to Sunday, we logged 18.29 miles on our bikes (29.44 km), which saved us 17.9 miles of driving, $3.48 in gas and $6.38 in parking. We each burned around 1000 calories. The benefits just keep rolling in! If we were to continue at this rate for a year, we’d bike about 951 miles (1531 km), save 931 miles on our car, $181 in gas and $331 in parking. John would burn about 53600 calories, and I would burn about 44500.

I just have one predicament: I had a basket on the front and back of my bike to hold my purse and anything we bought while out. On my way to work this morning, the clips on the front basket broke. Apparently the basket is only capable of holding up to 4 lbs, which isn’t practical for the uses I desire. Does anyone have any experience with bike accessories and have any suggestions, advice, warnings?


Entry filed under: Our Goings On. Tags: , , , , , .

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8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Angela  |  June 15, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    Isn’t it fantastic how beneficial bikes are? I’d love to get one again, but I’m nervous about riding a bike on busy streets, and you have to ride your bike on the road here (after a certain age).
    Maybe I’ll have to reconsider that…

    • 2. osarah  |  June 15, 2010 at 8:36 PM

      That’s interesting about the age restriction thing. Do you all have bike lanes? Around here, there are signs and stoplights for bikes everywhere. We have only ridden a small stretch or two of road that didn’t have a bike lane, so that’s nice. I don’t like riding in traffic either!

      And yes, the benefits are awesome! I have been feeling awful about not going to the gym as often as I used to, but now I feel at least a little better about myself! 🙂

  • 3. Lilly  |  June 15, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    That little ledge on top of your rear wheel is meant to have a basket attached to it. They also make all sorts of zippered bags that you can attach at various places on a bike. I don’t really know your shopping options over there, but a bike shop should have some different options or you can order stuff online. Amazon has some good options.

    • 4. osarah  |  June 15, 2010 at 8:35 PM

      Thanks, Lilly. We each already have a basket on the back (I have too much to carry back and forth from work – I need 2+ storage spaces) and have looked at saddle bags, but they start at about 50 Euro or about 63 USD. I am hoping to find a better solution. Maybe I’ll just bike with a backpack on 🙂 Or maybe I’ll just bite the bullet and pay for saddle bags. Anyway, I appreciate the input!

  • 5. veronica  |  June 18, 2010 at 1:31 AM

    wow that’s awesome! so admirable. like you, i’m a novice at riding bikes, and frankly it scares me to even get one. i think the last time i rode a real bike was in Jr. High. that’s a LONG time ago. so glad I’m reading your blog again!

    • 6. osarah  |  July 1, 2010 at 11:23 AM

      I’m so glad you’re reading again!! 🙂
      The bike thing was super scary at first, and I’m still not very good, but practice makes perfect!

  • 7. Jacoline  |  June 18, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    Hi there,
    Well I can get you saddlebags. No problem. There are around the 5 a 10 euro’s here. I use them for groceries. It’s not the best quality but I’ve got mine for over 2 years… Could always bring soemthing with me when we are coming over….You do have to wait for 3 weeks…And if you don’t like them, well you can always get other ones…
    Mine are similar to these:

    • 8. osarah  |  July 1, 2010 at 11:25 AM

      Wow, that’s super inexpensive. I’d love for you to bring us each a bag. Something plain is best. Thank you! Just let us know how much we owe you.


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