Monday, October 3, 2011

The New Bike

Salzburg is a bike-friendly city, with wide paved paths on both sides of the river that runs through its middle. These paths make it easy and practical to cycle to the city’s centre and well beyond. My husband’s office is also on the river’s edge, so the path runs right next to it. However, it’s about 15 or 20 kilometres south of our flat, so he’s been commuting by car over the autobahn for the past 19 months.

That’s changed now, because, after thinking about it for the past year, we finally bought an e-bike. This is an ordinary pedal bike with a rechargeable battery attached. Though the rider must continually pedal the bike, the battery gives it a boost, upping the speed and reducing fatigue. It’s particularly great on inclines, powering you up hills with little effort. Set at the highest of its three power levels, it gives you a zippy cycle.

So Himself now rises about an hour earlier each morning and bicycles to work. It takes him about 45 minutes, perhaps twice as long as it would by car, but it’s good exercise. The weather’s been extraordinary for the past two weeks—warm and sunny, clear and mellow in Autumn’s unique fashiongiving him another reason to enjoy the trip.

I stood at the window as he left this morning, watching. The low-lying sun shone brightly, but the houses cast long early-morning shadows over the street. Across the way, mists rose from the fishing pond. I held my cup of coffee, waiting for the bang of the garage door. Then he emerged from the shadow of the house and wheeled onto the street, his laptop secure in the backpack clasped over his black windbreaker. Off he went, sunlight briefly flashing on the black of his helmet before winking off as he rode again into shadow and then out of my sight.

He looked, I thought, completely European, off to join the many sensible and confident cyclists on their way to the office. Gute Fahrt!

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