What my degree in IPE didn't teach me about baking, DIY, fitness, and life…
Yesterday I continued my continuing education classes with something a little different – bicycle maintenance. Now normally that wouldn’t really be my cup of tea, but last year when friends of ours moved back to Canada (tear) we bought their bikes. Since it’s been two years since I’ve ridden one and um… never since I’ve repaired one, I thought it best to see what I could learn. What’s more our commune* was offering the workshop for free! Our commune is really cool like that.
(*Brussels is broken into 19 communes – they’re sections of the city, each like it’s own village. It gives the city a real neighbourhood feel. The best way to give you an idea is with a funny true story – when we got married we had to gather LOTS of paperwork and even more because we’re both expats living in Brussels. We had an appointment with a commune official to discuss the reams of paper we had to collect. They asked loads of questions about this and that. Then finally, when I thought there couldn’t possibly be much more, they asked in a really suspicious tone: “Which commune do you live in?” “Etterbeek,” we both echoed. And, no joke, they sighed a huge sigh of relief and said, “phew, no foreigners here.” Yes, the communes really are like separate villages.)
Anyway, I’d been looking forward to this workshop for awhile, I even got the cutest reminder email assuring me that “me and my bicycle would be welcome to join them”, and then I looked at the weather report… With massive thunder storms in the forecast I kept my eye on the sky all day long. And it was dry, all – day – long! That is, until I had to get ready to leave. Then the sky opened up. I waited a few minutes, but when I couldn’t wait anymore without being late or rushing (on a bike especially since I hadn’t ridden in a couple years), I put on me helmet, zipped up my coat, and rode 2ish km through the increasingly violent thunderstorms. I arrived safe and in one piece, but completely and utterly SOAKED!
The instructor was really cool. He works at this non-profit that helps people learn to repair their own bikes. It’s just down the road from us. So if I do have any problems, I know where I’m going to go. Anyway, we learned all sorts of things, see:
And we got to go home with all sorts of fun swag =) I got a safety vest and safety reflective ankle slap bracelets, a map of all the bicycle and pedestrian trails in Brussels, a sticker for my bike, and of course a pen =p
Happily by the time it was time to ride home, the storms had subsided.
Now that I know a bit about bikes, it’s time to get out there and ride mine. And I’ve found a very cool place to start. Check it out, the Brussels Green Belt, 62km of trails that encircle Brussels (conveniently divided into 5-10k sections).