Ode to a bicycle

A steedMany adventures
Many adventures had, but time to roll on…

I may not be the most devoted bicyclist, but I wouldn’t call myself a novice, either.  My bike was my only mode of transport in college, for example, meaning come sun, rain, snow, or slush I was often pedaling to work or class.  My university was located in a bike-friendly town (Moscow, Idaho) meaning recreational riding was an easy trail map away.  Sometimes I would ride the 8 miles to neighboring Pullman, Washington to enjoy the rolling grasslands of the Palouse while thumping techno music seeped from my ear buds.

After it seemed likely we would stay in Europe past the initial Robert Bosch fellowship, I began plotting how I might get my trusty Trek 4300 from storage in Idaho, to my hands in Munich.  On a vacation back to the U.S. I had the bike disassembled and boxed, and then we brought it back on the flight.  It took some more coordination getting the bike to Zurich, but once it was here and reassembled, it was like I was again a two-wheeled commuter.  Zurich has its own hills, and my rides were not always smooth, but it was familiar.

As some may know, my current employer World Radio Switzerland is being sold and privatized.  As I am a public radio reporter, and not interested in commercial radio in the Geneva region, my family is looking for jobs and a next step.  We don’t know where we are headed just yet, but we know a move is coming.  This is why my trusty Trek had to go.


Biking to Baden
The view of the Sihl River during a ride to Baden.

I didn’t always have the Trek, instead using cheaper bikes at the start of college.  But in 2004 I was hit by a car while riding home from the radio station.  It was already dusk, and I had a dark coat on without a bike light, but the driver of a car also wasn’t very attentive while making her left-hand turn into the big guy on a bike.  I was thrown a few feet away, a bit bruised but not beaten.  My bike, on the other hand, was totaled.  The driver’s insurance company agreed to pay any medical bills I had, along with funding a new bike, which seemed to me, as a poor college student, a fair shake.  I got a check-up, and headed right for the bike shop to pick out a decent steed.

Along with the Trek, I picked up a light (important!), and a saddle bag.  I rode so often that I had grocery shopping and loading my bike down to a science.  Late nights at the photo lab would often mean a stop at the local WINCO 24h supermarket, a filling of my bike bag, and a quiet ride back to my apartment.  It was my life on a bike, and I enjoyed it.

Choose wisely
So many trails, so little time.

Truthfully, much of my time riding in Switzerland has not been for recreation.  The occasional pleasure ride did happen, maybe just into the city or perhaps along the river in another direction, but often I was a commuter.  In the peak times I might ride once or twice a week, before a move in office increased the travel time to more than an hour…with a big hill in the way!

I have enjoyed my life bicycling so far, and intend to invest in a bike again once we know where we will be for a while.  In a time of such uncertainty for my family, the bicycle did play a kind of comforting role–I could always go for a ride and let off some steam on the trails.  But knowing we are going to move (somewhere) I had to take the leap and sell the bike.  It is impractical to keep it, or move it again.  As comforting as it was, its absence is a signal that more change is coming to my troupe.

Hopefully we will know, soon enough, where exactly we will land, and then I can begin planning a return to the two-wheeled steed.

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