We have wheels.
Sarge bought us used bikes over the weekend from a Croatian Craigslist-type seller who had dozens of bicycles in various states of repair parked on the side of his house. We negotiated the price through broken English, our sad attempts at Croatian and the help of a bilingual child. The seller delivered the bikes to us that evening and says he’ll buy them back from us when we leave the country.
Right now, I’m happy to be staying for a while. We have more places to explore.
With our new wheels, the boys and I have already made trips to the beach, the market and to school – all in less than half the time it would have taken us to walk. I have the “mom” bike with a basket on the front and the back.
The kids are pleased with their reconditioned models mostly because it will save them from walking everywhere. And we’re all learning the rules of the road, after being yelled at first in Croatian, then in German, then in English by the same driver who wanted us to walk our bikes through a crosswalk instead of ride them.
Today, I rode the kids to school and then headed to the city’s Sea Organ for a little inspiration to start the day. Here’s the haunting tune it plays when the waves roll in over the steps along the boardwalk:
Then I set up my office for the morning in a café at the Old Town forum, where I secured a shady table, a Wi-Fi connection and a macchiato, and I could hear the charming sound of a man playing the accordion and singing for tips.
Aside from a giant knot I have on my shin from an error negotiating a curb, getting around on my new ride has been pretty sweet. Sarge says he may need to get me training wheels, but it’s all coming back to me like riding a bicycle.
I even bought a pair of white Converse to blend in with the locals. (Read about my aversion to painful heels). My bike gave me a good excuse to invest in practical footwear.
I can’t say I miss my car or sitting in traffic. I do miss my car radio and listening to news and music on my commute. The accordion is a nice change, though.
I’m learning to adapt to twists in the road and curbs that jump up on you. You’ve got to take some time to get your footing, move ahead and keep on pedaling.