Maas & Where the Bike Led Me

In this first installation of Lenses, Kalina discovers more of herself, and Maastricht, one pedal at a time

I was not really a fan of biking before Maastricht. The blazing weather of Indonesia, the timespan, the traffic, and the fact that riding a motorcycle is very convenient are some of the reasons. But, as biking has become a pivotal part of Dutch culture, I knew that I had to make biking an inseparable part of my exchange in Maastricht.

My bike was the typical orange Dutch fiets. It was much higher than the one I had back home since I could not even reach the ground each time I had to stop. Honestly, during my first biking experience in Maastricht, I remember that I needed to stop by the promenade to rest. I felt physically very exhausted because I had not been biking for quite a while. Not to mention that I had to deal with the freezing winter breeze while biking. 

However, I quickly became fond of it.  Biking always led me everywhere – from heading my way to campus to grocery shopping in Albert Heijn or taking me to choir practice every Tuesday and weekly mass at the OLV every Saturday. Something particular about biking in Maastricht is how it somehow leads you to beautiful hidden places. For a few times, I explored narrow streets and ended up finding some random thrift shops or bookstores while biking. Heading more to the west, I could easily find several historical remnants and fortifications alongside Maas River. It is where I stopped by for a moment to enjoy the beautiful view and contemplate various things – school work, holiday trips, life plans, or even, home. During my hardest days, biking had successfully helped me relax. Sometimes I did not realize how far I had been biking that I literally lost 3 kilos during my exchange days. These good reasons have made biking one of the habits that I habituate after Maastricht.

If one asks, “What does your exchange lead you to be?” I would answer that it leads me not only to become healthier, but also to understand myself better. And thanks to my fiets – it is most of the reason why.

Created by : Brigitta Kalina Tristani Hernawan

Kalina is an International Relations graduate from UGM. She enjoys binge-watching sitcoms and doing some music covers during her spare time

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Kompleks Kementerian Pendidikan, Kebudayaan, Riset, dan Teknologi. Gedung D Lantai 18, Jalan Jenderal Sudirman, Pintu Satu, Senayan, Jakarta, Indonesia 10270

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