News - March 28, 2013

Bike jam

Willem-Jan's heart was pounding in his chest. He was racing along on his bike, the cold biting into his face. He had rolled out of bed five minutes earlier and pulled on the clothes still lying on the floor. It took him 13 minutes to reach the Forum so if he stepped on it he could get to his compulsory lecture on time. But of course the wind was against him on the Rooseveltweg so his lungs were burning.

At the roundabout he saw two small bikes approaching from the left. Willem-Jan tried to make a spurt to keep ahead of them but he couldn't go any faster. Just when he decided to give up, the two cyclists hesitated and swerved on their bikes. Willem-Jan gestured that they had priority, upon which one of them went ahead. The other one braked in surprise and came to a halt in the middle of the cycle path. 'Damn!' shouted Willem-Jan. 'Learn to ride a bike properly, man!'
Irritated, he manoeuvred his bike around the two students and stormed ahead. Meanwhile a drop of sweat was trickling slowly down between his shoulder blades. Far in the distance he saw a jam at the second roundabout. A group of people in reflective safety vests and a couple of cyclists had got off their bikes. With a tug at his handlebars, Willem-Jan shot onto the road and bypassed this obstruction.
Four and a half minutes to go. Willem-Jan tore round the bend at the Tarthorst, past a crazy Wageninger standing waving at students. Ahead of him it was getting busier and busier. Oh hell, no, he thought. A fucking bike jam at the Bornsesteeg. Three minutes left, and he had to get up to the fifth floor. Once again, he left the cycle path and went over the grass to cross the junction on the road behind a line of cars. It almost all went pear-shaped when a yuppie narrowly missed his carrier.
Three minutes later Willem-Jan came panting into the computer room. Well within the Wageningen quarter of an hour. He saw with some irritation that the teacher wasn't there but had sent a tedious PhD student instead. Totally uninspiring. Couldn't explain things. What is more, Willem-Jan noticed he was a couple of chapters behind. He'd be better off catching up on those first.
Half an hour later he was cycling home again. This time at a relaxed pace.