When the rear tyre of her beloved bike explodes, blogger Donatella Gasparro has to walk a couple of kilometres to get a new one. At first, walking feels slow, almost stupid. But after a while, it becomes a meditation.
© Sven Menschel
After a year and a month, the time has come: the rear tyre of my beloved bike just exploded. Yeah, like that. I woke up, got out of my house, and found it totally flat and out of place. Sad. Right on the day before a long bike-ride excursion; perfect. What now? Panic, of course. Borrow another bike, first option. Then another one, because you have to cycle 10 kilometres, so it’s better to have a sturdy one, isn’t it?
I had to walk a couple of kilometres to get to the abovementioned sturdy bike. Walking, what an alien activity.
After a year of cycling even for only 50 metres, walking feels slow, inefficient, almost stupid. Why would you even want to walk in the Netherlands? That’s how I felt before I actually walked again. Well, surprise: there are not only bike paths, but walking ones, too!
I walked those two kilometres as if it was a meditation, with headphones on and good, slow, melancholic music. This half hour reminded me of many things. For instance:
- I used to walk a lot more before. In most of the other places in the world, if you don’t have a car, you just walk.
- Wageningen is very green. The big oaks lining the streets are beautiful, and so are all the annual plants next to the sidewalk. I missed looking at the plants while walking. That’s actually how I got to know many of them: seeing them over and over again while going from home to the station to take the train to university.
- Listening to music while walking is really nice. Besides the fact that it makes you feel like you are in a music video. (Absolutely no shame in play backing while doing dance moves on the streets, right? Life is a musical.)
- Why don’t I walk more often?
I think that my exploded tyre was a message from the universe. Something is telling me to jump off the speedy efficient wheels and slow down a little bit. I am not sure I will follow the cosmic signals and start walking consistently, to be honest (you know, those kind of fast burning enthusiasms that fade away very soon). But I should definitely consider it. The Netherlands on foot, doesn’t it sound like an enlightening book title?
At least, I hope I will take a voluntary walk before another tyre of my bike explodes.
Donatella Gasparro is a master’s student in Organic Agriculture