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New Year’s Day sets the tone for the rest of the year. For the third year in a row, I ride the most in one day on the first of January.

The first day of the new year is also the busiest for food delivery. Working a shift as a Deliveroo courier, there are bonus fees the entire day. As such, there is a bit of an incentive to drink a little less the night before. It’s an easy way to earn some extra cash, but the day is never without it’s adversity.

Riding out in the morning feels like I’m in the movie 28 Days Later. There are only a few squint-eyed stragglers stumbling along their way to metro stations. Street sweepers plod down the roads while crows and seagulls feast on the aftermath. Blurry vision aside, one can see that Amsterdam is not a pretty scene. There is garbage everywhere.

Strava Ride

New Year’s Day, the ugliest day of the year

Cruising down a bike lane quickly turns into a game of navigating around a minefield with all the broken glass. Only the day after King’s Day is worse in terms of debris on the road where bike shops in Amsterdam report a 60% increase in flat tires. On such days, I need an insurance policy and ride with a can of Zéfal repair spray. It’s been a guarantee to get me home when I’ve suffered a puncture.

Not to be underestimated are the remnants of firecracker launch sites. From a distance, it looks like a cow was slaughtered on the spot. This year, the average person in the Netherlands spent €180 on fireworks, so one can imagine that these red paper entrails are basically everywhere in the city. When the stuff gets wet, it’s like riding on black ice.

Delivery orders were unusually quiet early on, suggesting Amsterdam was extremely hung over this year. But it at least helped in being mindful of the roads. Needless to say, if one can survive riding into the early afternoon, you’re likely good to go for the rest of the day. The evening was a total contrast with couriers overloading restaurants, and in certain spots nearly equelled the number of bicyclists on the road.

Many people make a New Year’s resolutions, but few people actually see them through. I happen to be one of them. But now I prefer set the wheels in motion, literally speaking and blitz my thighs on an annual New Year’s Day bike ride. Happy 2019!

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