No really, where’s my bike dude?

I’m sure some of you were scratching your head as you read the title of my blog. I’m going to break it down for you:

I’ll be honest, I’m not really a creative person (according to Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, I have Bodily-Kinesthetic and Interpersonal abilities). I’ve seen some friends come up with clever, catchy, and cute names but nothing was coming to me. Then I had my “A-Ha!” moment. I wanted something in my title to say something about me as a California native. I was having some writer’s block and I said to myself, “Dude, I have no idea.” THAT’S IT! DUDE! Of course, when I think of the word dude, the epic film Dude, Where’s My Car? comes to mind. If you haven’t seen it, please do. So how does the bike come into play? Well, I currently live in the city of Münster and I will be here for the whole summer until I start work. Münster is a university city, much like San Luis Obispo or Chico, CA (For my friends from CA), but more importantly it’s a “Fahrradstadt” (Fahrrad= bike, Stadt= city).

The biking culture in Münster is unlike anything I’ve seen before. There is really no need for a car in this city. When Benedikt found my apartment for me, I remember asking him how far his apartment was from mine and he said, “Well depending on how fast you are, about 15-20 minutes by bike.” Folks, I’ve probably never ridden a bike that far in my life. I am sharing some things I’ve learned so far as a bike rider in Münster.

How to transition from the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 405 freeway to the Münster Promenade:

Step 1: I needed to buy a bike, since Benedikt’s spare bike was unfortunately too big for me (and other bikes I tried were as well). So we went to the used bike dealership and I found my wonderful, emerald green Gazelle bike (it was also advertised as being an ideal bike for children who are growing, which was bascially perfect for my size lol). It was also essential for me to buy a chain lock because bikes can be stolen. At 15 bike thefts per day it’s the most common crime in Münster!

Step 2: Hit the road! Wait, ok, not quite yet. There are some rules to bike riding in Münster. First, one must know where it is acceptable to ride their bike. Typically, every sidewalk has a red lane for bikes and a grey lane for pedestrians. Occasionally, you have to go on the street with the cars when the bike lane ends (which I wish there was some signs to warn me that the bike lane was ending…). Always use your hand signals! Your arms are your indicators. Also, bike riders almost always have the right of way, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch for cars or pedestrians. Use your lights at night. When you’re somewhere where you’re not supposed to ride bikes, get off and walk it because you can and probably will get a ticket (There’s cops on bikes too and they don’t mess around). Travel by the Promenade! The Promenade is like the bike highway, and it’s only for bikes and pedestrians which makes it relatively safe.

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Step 3: Try not to lose your bike or have it stolen (and if someone steals your tire, don’t just abandon your bike somewhere…. see photo below).  The best way to chain your bike is to wrap the chain around the hind tire as that’s much more difficult to steal, or chain your bike to something, like a post. It is also very easy for bikes to get lost in the crowd, maybe if you have a neutral color or common bike put something on it to set it apart from the others (I’ve seen a lot of fake flowers wrapped on bikes and they look like bikes headed to Coachella).

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Step 4: If you’re not used to riding bikes long distances, you may get tired. Sadly all of my SoulCycle classes did not prepare me for this. Although sometimes I throw on my headphones and pretend it’s SoulCycle (Do not try to “Tap it Back” on a real bike people, it doesn’t work). It did get better for me! I have beaten Benedikt’s projected travel time from my apartment to his and I can make it there in 12 minutes.

Overall, I love riding my bike through the city. It’s so relaxing to me, especially after years of driving in the worst Southern California traffic.

So now you know the meaning of the bike. That’s all for now my friends. Until next time!

Bis später! (See you later!)

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