Our last family bike ride was in 2019 and three countries ago. There wasn’t anything particularly special I remember about the trip. We might have been taking in the recycling, grabbing groceries, maybe dropping my daughter off at school. Through the woods, along a road, on a bike path, we roade everywhere. In the Netherlands, we rode our bikes daily, biking was our family transportation. Moving to Europe provided my daughter to grow up on her bike. I didn’t bother buying a car in either Germany or The Netherlands. Why would I went biking was so convenient and less costly? If I had a car and wanted to part it downtown, parking for a day was 28 euros. If I took my bike, I could find paid parking for 5 euros, but most of the parking was free. And at the door of the shop. It was a simple decision to make. Well, unless there were 40 Km winds and rain. Then we looked to public transportation. Still, and easy choice.
Once we knew we were moving to Houston, we packed everything up and headed this way. We arrived in Houston right before New Year’s 2020. They provided our family with an apartment and a car until our shipment arrived. For me, driving in the traffic of Houston after riding on the bike paths of The Hague was jarring.
Parking was not an issue outside of the core, and it was free! There was always lots of space and I could park as far from the door as I liked. Yes, this is the opposite of how I shopped in The Netherlands. But there, I only purchased enough groceries for a few days. Here, here there was an entire trunk I could fill while I was setting up my new home! We were still in the loaner apartment though, so I didn’t go too crazy. Just wonderful things like a vacuum, pans, plates, cups, and bedding. The basics I have a hard time living without.
A sign from one of my many trips biking around The Netherlands. Please brake for frogs. They use the bike paths too. I found few frogs; it was really the geese and the ducks who wanted their space.
It took three months for our shipment, including our bikes, to arrive. Pretty good in a world unaware of what was to come. We found a house and moved in with what little we owned. It was the week before my daughter’s spring break at school. As with all our past shipments, they filled the house with boxes I tore my way through in 3 days. That’s right. It took me three days to empty all the boxes for an entire house. It was not so much my choice as my decision. If I didn’t get it done, then the movers were out of the picture and I had to recycle the boxes myself. I returned my loaner car. All I had left was my bike. Which was not a complete bike yet. The movers dismantled them for transport and I had yet to find the parts or the toolbox. One day after our goods were in our house, we left for spring break to visit our family in Canada. Lucky for me, I had us bring out laptops and basic supplies because Covid 19, not named, only barely understood, was crossing borders. Our family was not reconnected in Houston, with our bikes, until December 2020. It was a long year.
December we arrived, back at our house that we barely knew, and settled in. It was not until January we reassembled our bikes. There were pedals and wheels fitted on the wrong bikes. The movers tried to help, but without luck. January in Houston is mild. It can be a little cool, but there is no snow on the ground and we had a lot of sun. I love the mild winters where we can still access the outdoors. It is even more important this year where were are all isolated. The need for sun and fresh air is even more important to me. It is my happy place. I love to explore. So explore we did!
We found bike paths and natural areas. The signs for wildlife contrasted mightily. Instead of notice to yield to frogs, we are to leave the alligators alone. No problem. Take all the space you need alligators.
The signage is different, the woods used to be open with plenty of places to explore. The new woods are unfamiliar and we still need to learn what to watch out for. The bike path use appears for leisure and family time, but was is most important is that we were back on our bikes again. Enjoying family time outside of our house, exploring our new environment. Usually one year after moving, I am knowledgeable about the area. But this year was a crazy one. We did not know what was coming. We still don’t But now we have our bikes back and pathways to explore. I am thankful.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.Robert Frost, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
Below are a few more pictures from our ride. The last picture is from Germany when our cat decided she wanted to take a ride with me. I forgot to take a picture of when my husband’s pedal fell off. So the ride turned into a walk for the last few kilometers. But it was still a nice day out with a high of 20 degrees (celsius).
I am riding the same commuter bike I have been riding for the last 6 years. Where do you like to explore? I love hiking as much as biking. It is nice to have different perspectives of the same place.