Socio-economic leveller.

This title makes me think of smart people like economists, business people, and dare I say it, politicians, none of which are me! My take on such an intellectual title is on a far more day-to-day angle… the bicycle!

How does a bicycle fit into the picture? Well, for a “local” living a wonderful new-life-adventure in the charming country of The Netherlands, I can tell you that without a bicycle, life simply does not happen very well here. So it is that I have come to realise that the great leveller comes through this simple, but highly efficient, mode of transport.

One may certainly have the means to purchase a very fancy, highly technical, “bells & whistles” version of the bicycle, of which there are many such electrical versions around but, at the end of the day, a bicycle remains a two wheeled invention requiring some level of human energy to power it for transportation.

The additional aspect of this title is the most highly discussed topic of conversation (followed close on the heels of the subject of sex) that is, the weather. One of the easiest conversation starters is something that not a single human being can do anything about, apart from delve into the predictions, the historical recordings and the current conditions. 

Without igniting a green debate, the weather is what the weather is, and always will be, which is why I find it intriguing that the Dutch spend such a large part of their social conversations on this matter. 

Couple the simple ingenuity of the bicycle with the weather and you have the perfect mix for levelling the playing fields, at least here in NL. This occurred to me when I passed a gaggle of train commuters leaving the bike parking of the local station, on the first of the new season’s mankie weather days. The demographic of the commuters was vast and varied, making my point all the more obvious: young and old, men, women and children, well-heeled business suits right alongside dusty booted, paint smeared construction workers. Every single person, regardless of their social standing, financial circumstance or level of education, had to mount their trusty two-wheeler, feet on pedals and drive it forwards with the power of their own legs. Add the rain, wind and cooler temperatures and the perfect scene of total equality was displayed.

Suffice to say that there was more delving, after making this observation.

The older I become, the more aware of how much less I actually need in order to make my life a simpler, calmer, happier one. I am grateful for the years of excitement, ambition, stress (the good variety), suspense and anticipation that accompanied so many of the adventures that I have had the privilege of enjoying through my first half decade on the planet.

Having recently celebrated another birthday, I am more aware than ever of the fact that I am living the “shorter” part of my earthly life and boy, am I making the most of it!

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