I wrote a little piece about getting to work for the company’s booklet that comes out every quarter.
The names of people in this article are fictitious.
Across the front door on the other side of the street there is my Suzuki GSX 600 F from 1994.
Still glistening from the nightly rain, the old beast is calmly waiting for me.
It is Tuesday morning and indoors my alarm is sounding. Still half asleep I check my mobile to check the traveling time. The route between Vlaardingen and Bodegraven is marked in red with the text: 56 min. With an undefined grumble I roll out of my bed and stumble to the bathroom. No time to snooze. After the default morning rituals I get my shoes and put them in the tanking bag. I put on my helmet and keep the lid up. “Bye Hugo, see you tonight!”, I give Hugo a kiss. Such a kissing helmet is ideal!
At the motor cycle I turn the key in the ignition. I put on my gloves, turn on the choke and check if the engine is in neutral. I get the motor off the stand and start. Brrrrr..BRROOM! It is eager to go. At a walking pace I leave the block and turn on the road in the direction of the A20. Both the traffic lights are red and with a popping sound my engine shuts down. Too bad, the engine is still too cold and doesn’t like this slowness. I guess I’ll turn up the choke. This results in some high revs and thereby a lot of noise. Which I try to shut down as soon as possible.
Let’s hope the entrance of the A20 is not overly crowded. I take the turn and find it actually can’t get any worse. This here is the reason why I didn’t even attempt by car. A huge chaos of cars and trucks all changing lanes at intersection Kethelplein. Two lanes combine, split again and at the exit ramp combine in a corner. And then there’s a part of the A4 that’s half finished. Everyone gets really nervous there. So I need to make sure I can ride through the traffic jam between lanes one and two. Usually riding through jams is between the two leftmost lanes, but in this case the highway splits, so this is a common exception for motorcyclists. I’ll need to drive slowly and carefully, because everybody is driving to the far right because they want to turn right and there is not a lot of room. An unexpected bike adds extra chaos. My Suzuki doesn’t have any emergency lights so as an alternative I turn on my left-side blinkers to stand out more and start moving between the cars.
Despite having two startled car drivers and a van which pulls across a continuous line right in front of me, all goes well. I’m now on the A20 traveling in the direction of Kleinpolderplein. At these crossroads there is always a slow-driving or stopped traffic jam due to the exit for the A13. Except for the leftmost lane, that is moving along nicely. With a steady pace of 50 to 70 km/h I drive on that left lane past the A13-jam.
The traffic accordion effect. That is the next thing I have to deal with. Traffic stops due to the high load, then speeds up so they have to stop again a bit further along the road. I turn on my right blinker and slide past with a steady speed of 40 km/h. My method is miles better.
The next part can’t be explained, but often after I’ve left the chaos of Terbregseplein behind me, the highway is empty! All cars have simply vanished! I always enjoy that part. It’s great to have the space to really open the gas. You’re allowed to go 120 here, but it’ll probably be fine if I drive 140 for a little bit so I can just get past that one car. There are no issues until Nieuwerkerk, where the road suddenly fills up again.
At Nieuwerkerk aan de IJssel you have to merge. Still people can’t seem to utilize this concept of giving and taking, with the result that there are always delays which cause irritations and they in turn cause more delays. This is also true today and a very persistent traffic jam defies all attempts to dissolve. At 40 km/h I drive past the jam. As soon as the sign “geef ritsers ruimte” (make way for merging vehicles) shows up, I turn my bike between two cars and continue driving past the jam between the two other lanes. This so I won’t hinder any merging cars.
A little further I exit the jam. People suddenly drive at speeds of 80 to 100 km/h. Yet this is where you need to pay attention, because a turn is coming up, just before the A20 combines with the A12. With the congestion of today there will definitely be a sudden breaking manoeuvre. And there it is, I can see the red lights blinking up. Slowly reduce speed. Right, the car in front of me is a little late in braking, but all is well. We’re now traveling at 40 km/h. I choose to wait in the traffic jam and not ride past it, as we’ll be driving at 80 km/h in a few seconds anyways.
Now it is important to get to the fourth lane of the A12 as soon as possible. Until exit Reeuwijk there is always a jam or accordion effect. Today again it is completely stuck. With 40 km/h I drive past the congestion. At exit Reeuwijk it is chaos as well. I ride to the end of the exit, squeeze between the cars and drive on the inside past the emergency lane until the exit. From there it is a matter of stopping and slowly driving along the traffic. There are a few motorcyclists who risk their lives and overtake on the left and right. I’ll wait for a couple of minutes.
Another cyclist joins me. Ah, it’s Menno. He’s a motorcyclist from Vlaardingen and works at the sister company in the building. We wave. Us motor cyclists wave with the left hand for oncoming traffic or overtaking bikes, and wave with the right foot when overtaking other bikers. After all, the right hand is firmly gripping the throttle. We wave at any motor cyclist passing close by.
As the roundabout and all traffic jams are over, there is still a little bit of N11 until exit Bodegraven. I can already see my company’s building shining in the distance. Now I hope the boom isn’t closed, as it is such a hassle on a bike. When driving away it is always difficult as the boom doesn’t open for motors. That’s why you pass the boom via the boardwalk. I keep getting better at it and have not once dropped the bike here.
Look, Erik has also come on a bike today, I can see his motorcycle. I park my bike next to the pole and walk inside via the bike shed. Upstairs I take off my suit, get my pumps out of my bag and brush my hair. I’m ready for the day. It took me 44 minutes. Good average for a Tuesday and well in time for Scrum.