Why I started riding my bike

Alice is perfect for bicycle riding, I have discovered this after having lived here for 10 years while driving a car everywhere. Call me stupid and slow and you’re right.


It was out of pure necessity that I began riding a bike. I lost my job and can’t find another one. Then I left my car at one of the exes (I don’t remember his name) while I went to Melbourne to stay in a Buddhist monastery for a couple of months and needless to say that I received the car back out of rego and in need of repair.


I could not afford these repairs due to my still being unemployed so I blew the dust off my four year old Kronan, pumped the tires up and my new life as a Single Female Bicycle Rider in Alice Springs began.


It is an interesting and healthy life. If I do not cycle, even for a day, I feel the need for circular leg movement.


I was born in the Netherlands. Everyone cycles there. It is flat, that’s why, just like Alice.


We, the Dutch, are extremely arrogant when we are on a bike, we think we own the road.


We ride on the road and not on the sidewalk and we do not wear a helmet. Rather found dead … etc. Some tradies get very upset by this and it is amusing to watch their middle finger movement, listen to their condemnations and horn blowing just because you’re on THEIR road.


When I started riding the bike in Alice I had the distinct feeling that something was missing. Something I could not exactly put my finger on.


Then, one day, cycling on Larapinta Drive in the shimmering heat, I suddenly knew: silence. Of course! There were no whistles or remarks from tradies.


While cycling in the Netherlands as a young woman, single or not single, one is exposed to a constant hissing, whistling and sexist remarks which are uttered from building sites, utes and scaffolding.


While being a Single Female Bicycle Rider I’m also well into my fifties, hence the silence. Except for when a tradie gets a fit of road rage … of which more later.

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8 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Posted December 11, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Nice to read about your story. I agree with L., as it is quite difficult to deal in Alice as a bike rider because people rarely bother about the cyclists there.

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  2. Russell Guy
    Posted December 8, 2013 at 7:29 am

    @ R. Henry. Dec. 7th.
    My apologies for confusing you with Robin Henry and ‘Robinoz’, but in relation to confusion, isn’t R. Henry an abbreviation? Perhaps if full names were given, it could be eradicated.

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  3. R Henry
    Posted December 7, 2013 at 9:45 am

    @ Russell Guy
    You should never abbreviate names on webs it causes confusion. I am R Henry but not Robin Henry.
    Just wondering also if the lady does wear a helmet when riding on the road here?

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  4. Ray
    Posted December 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Lovely story. Can’t find a job in Alice Springs?
    I could see you doing bicycle tours around town sharing your love for the activity for tourists, sharing our town and making few dollars in the process. Would be great for an entrepreneur to get in touch with you.
    Cycle the Alice would be a great drawcard. I ride to work daily, and enjoy the short ride.

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  5. Russell Guy
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 11:27 am

    @ R. Henry.
    I’ll leave that for you.

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  6. Robin Henry
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 9:04 am

    @1 Russell, you’re habitually and invariably informing us of the many people whose lives are destroyed by the demon drink, obviously something on your band wagon.
    And this from a story about cycling no less.
    When will you begin telling us about all those who drink sensibly and responsibly?

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  7. Russell Guy
    Posted December 3, 2013 at 5:45 am

    I wonder how many would own up to riding their bicycles because they’ve had to forfeit the privilege of driving a car due to being charged with DUI?
    The ‘right’ which we naturally assume, is suddenly exposed by the genie in the bottle.
    A SA Supreme Court judge knocked someone off their bicycle early last Sunday morning, a few days before she was due to be inaugurated.
    The bicyclist wasn’t injured, but the judge’s reputation and career is in tatters.
    The genie doesn’t discriminate when it comes to affecting judgement.
    Tradies are not the only thing bicyclist’s have to be concerned about in Liquor Land.
    The next time you see someone riding a bicycle, it could be because the Police have taken away their driver’s licence, but they will tell you that the percentage of repeat offenders is high, because of the addictive nature of a drug that considers personal responsibility a joke.
    The self-regulating alcohol industry and the AHA, together with the NT Government are the three stooges of a macabre cabaret which plays out in Territory towns every day.
    With the genie’s magic help, they get to look good. People clap, encourage and write nice little letters to the paper, but the show isn’t free.

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  8. L.
    Posted December 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    Ooh, you forgot to mention the impatient, rude drivers in Alice Springs, who don’t care for your safety as a bicyclist nor for the safety of pedestrians (even at pedestrian crossings).

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