News - May 12, 2011

Bycicle shock


As a newcomer to the Netherlands, it was not very difficult for me to adapt to bicycles. I ride a bicycle back in my country only occasionally and for fun. When I discovered that there are flyovers and well-lit tunnels for bicycles here, I exclaimed, just for bicycles! Then I thought I knew everything about the Dutch and their bicycles.

Around the same period, I saw a woman biking with her 2 daughters, one on an extra seat at the back and the other at the front with their shopping bulging out of the bicycle bag. And another carrier hanging over the front wheel. A small trailer was coupled to the same bicycle, in which 2 owl-eyed dogs were sitting looking as relaxed as they would on the back seat of a BMW. I exclaimed again, all these on one bicycle and everyone is comfortable! Now I surely knew everything about the Dutch and their bicycles.
On the first day of my internship in a Dutch company, the boss asked me to turn on a sensor at the other end of the building (about a 100 metre stretch). I walked fast, turned it on and got back, hoping he would be impressed. To my dismay, he asked, 'Why did it take you that long?' I replied, 'But I walked very fast!' Then he exclaimed 'Sjongen jongen jongen! Did you walk down there? Why do you think we offered you an office bicycle?' I replied, 'Well, I think normally a bicycle is meant to be used outdoors and not inside a workplace.' Then he yelled, 'This is Holland! Try to think bicycle all the time and that is how you can be efficient. We don't like people to work hard in our company like you just did, but to work smart,' Oops! I didn't like that much because it made me look like I wasn't smart. I asked myself, would I ever know everything about the Dutch and their bicycles?  
Niyi A. Olabiran: International Agribusiness&Trade VHL Wageningen.