A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
First of all, wish everybody a happy new year! If you’re still in the Netherlands, wish your bikes have a safe and sound new year as well.
Because obviously, my bike wasn’t lucky enough to safely go through the last few weeks of the year.
Guess what, I’m not talking about sneaky bike thieves. In fact, my bike was brutally taken away in bright day light from a bike parking lot near the train station!
Because, again obviously, I didn’t park it CORRECTLY. Allow me to descirbe a little bit what happened.
Since I’m taking an elective course in TU Delft I need to go there weekly since November this year. For the convenience I arranged a bike in Delft as well. But just two or three weeks ago, I parked my bike near the station in the morning, where I usually parked for the past weeks, and when I came back to it in the afternoon I couldn’t find my bike anywhere. It was gone! After asking around and checking some Dutch website I saw the picture of my bike hanging on a website together with a big bunch of other bikes, saying if you want it back, come to this location to pick it up and don’t forget to pay 17,50 euros. Unfortunately that location is quite far so there was another 10 euros transportation cost for both me and my bike, plus they cut my lock in order to move my bike, so I had to get a new bike lock as well…
I have to say, as an international student who’s new to all kinds of rules here, it is unavoidable that you simply follow what other people do. So I definitely felt a bit unfair when a friend explained me why my bike was gone. However, it is a lie to say I have no idea where I SHOULD and SHOULD NOT park my bike. It’s just in different situations, like not enough parking spots or rushing for the train, and when you see many other people are doing similar things, the concept of “shouldn’t” becomes blurry. But still, “shouldn’t” is “shouldn’t”, and what I did was simply taking the risk to do the “shouldn’t” for convenience because based on my past experience it seemed fine.
But this time, it was not fine. It was not only a financial loss, but also time-consuming and caused a lot of trouble — definitely more trouble than trying to find a right spot to park the bike.
So what I learned from it, not only where to park my bike next time, also is that do not take the risk if you’re not ready to pay for the consequence. Trying to always do it right would be the safest choice.
Holland is a place with a looot of bikes, and of course many problems related to bikes as well. I hope this blog at least helps you avoid this one problem and save you the troubles I’ve been through. Finally, again wish you good luck in 2013!