I actually have three bikes, even though I never bought any. All are given to me.

The first one is Iqbal’s bike. He’s leaving for Indonesia and he gave me the key to his bike. At first Iqbal didn’t to want to give me his bike because of its bad condition and he intend to throw it away. I forced him to gave it to me and when I say the condition of the bike, I agree with Iqbal: it’s a real shitty bike: it doesn’t has any brake and the front tire is busted. Really busted. The inner tube or the ban dalam is shreddered, and the outer wheel is also holed. So, the only way to fix it is to change both the inner tube and the outer tire. That will cost me around 10 euros: four for the inner tube and six for the outer wheel. Oh, and it also hasn’t got any lamp. Haven’t I mentioned it that your bike must have a light (white lamp in front and red lamp in the back) otherwise the police will stop you and give you a 20 euros fine?

So the cost of fixing this bike and giving it a new lamp might be 20 euros. I used the bike quite a few times in its shitty state and I determined to fix or replace it a new one when Pak Min, an Indonesian political exile who lives in Oegsgeest, offered me his bike. Its a nice bike, a kid’s bike actually but I really like because with it my feet can touch the ground. I put a new lamp and it’s okay now. Pak Min even gave me a good lock.

Suddenly, after a month, Pak Min’s bike got a case of pregnancy.

The bike’s back tire has a hole because the sewing on the side is loose. That made the inner tube bulge outward. A slight pressure and the inner tube can explode. I try to replace the back tire with a new one but now I’m having trouble taking the back tire off. I’m really not a good mechanic 😀 (But I’m good at mechanics :D) So the bike now lay in my terrace, untouched.

The third bike is given to me by Mas Goen, who is leaving for Indonesia. It’s a good bike although the chain is sometimes loose. The brake is not so good and its getting loose day by day. These last few days I even have to put one of my foot to the ground otherwise I can’t stop the bike.

But last week is the worse and bring an end to my cycling days.

The bike got a very strong lock. It can take a while to unlock it because the lock is very strong. One day the key broke and one piece of it stays inside the keyhole. I can’t unlock my bike. I have to saw the lock. But it have to wait because I’ve been very busy now.

So I’m now walking.

Written by Tri L. Astraatmadja

After living for 10 years in Europe as a Master's student, PhD researcher, and a postdoc, in 2016 Tri L. Astraatmadja moved on to the United States for a second postdoctoral appointment at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution for Science, Washington DC. He is now in his third postdoc at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD.

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