Anyone who was reading my European travelogue closely might have noticed that I spent close to three weeks in the Netherlands with a Dutch guy I’d met in St. Petersburg. The more curious might have wondered if it was entirely platonic. Well, it wasn’t, but at the time we thought it was a vacation romance. However, as time went on, and after some drama, we came to believe that the connection we had was deeper than that. So, on July 24, right after Julia’s funeral, I picked him up at the airport for a two-week trial of that theory.
This posed a wee problem of confidence for me, as I don’t have a car and I hadn’t taken a passenger. Photogirl was kind enough to lend me her car to pick him up, and I knew we could get around in town without one. However, what if we needed to leave town?
I tried out taking him on the back on the 5-minute trip between photogirl’s house and mine, and it was OK. Ideally, we would have liked a longer trial before need struck, but that was not to be, thanks to my sister, who managed to go into labour just as we opened the wine for his birthday dinner a few days into the trip (which was to be followed by fireworks). Since the birth wasn’t imminent we were advised to wait to come out, so we finished the evening’s agenda and went to bed, expecting the middle of the night phone call sending us to Langley. Luckily for us (unluckily for my sister), she held off, and we went out the next morning, and I got my first long ride in with a passenger.
As it turned out, it was less stressful than I’d thought it would be, especially as he learned to hold himself away enough so we wouldn’t crash helmets unless my braking was especially sudden. Along the ride he also learned to anticipate stopping and starting and brace his body appropriately – all in all he’s a good passenger, good at staying still and not throwing off my balance – though I did have to mention not to move at lights either. It helps that I’m strong, especially in the legs, and that he’s not especially heavy. And I have to say it’s a nice feeling having him there behind me – very cozy.
This was us leaving the hospital after the birth of my nephew.
It was kind of funny being a female with a male passenger on the ferry, especially on the way back. On Monday night of the holiday weekend there were a lot of bikes waiting, unsurprisingly, but when we pulled up, none of the other riders, all male and mostly cruiser, would even look at us. Their worldview couldn’t really expand to include this sight so it must have been better not to see it at all. My guy though, is a pretty cool liberated Dutch guy, so he doesn’t care, thinks they’re all idiots, and sees absolutely no reason why he shouldn’t ride behind a woman.
And that was only one reason why the two-week experiment confirmed our theory that there was indeed something more. By the end of his trip the connection had deepened and strenghthened and we started talking about how we could spend more time together. As a first step I started planning a three-week trip to Europe in October.