Saturday, May 22, 2010

Buying a Used Bike in Zurich

People in Switzerland love their bikes! Where we live there are several bike trails closed to cars for bike riding and bike racks are available at the train station, grocery stores, and well, just about everywhere. Unbelievably to this American, most Swiss people do not use bike locks.  Instead they just park their bikes and come back (sometimes months later) to find them still there. Usually.

I am all about bike safety. Unfortunately, babies cannot ride safely in bike trailers or bike seats until they are 1 year old. I was told the bumpiness can mimic shaken baby syndrome to their little brains so sadly I will sit out this biking season but we can still get one bike for me and the husband to share.

Like everything in Zurich, bikes are pretty pricey. We looked at buying a new bike for the big girl but I balked at spending 250 CHF for a 16" bike for a 4 year old. Instead we found a used one from a friend. Now we just need to find a cheaper used one for the grownups.

Veloboerse - Or used bike sale. There are used bike sales held each Saturday during spring, summer, and fall. We have been to a couple to get the feel for these. Couple of hints. Come early because the best bikes go quickly. Bring your photo ID so you can test ride a bike. Bring cash.

EnglishForum - This message board has a classified section where people periodically sell used bikes. You can also post an ISO (In Search Of) message. There is also a good post on English forum about biking in Switzerland that has info pertaining to buying used.

Used Bike Stores - There are many stores in Zurich that sell used bikes. I saw a few near the Brockenhaus close to Zurich HB.

Since there is a veloboerse in Zurich next weekend, I think we will try that. Now I just have to get up early enough to arrive by 9 am.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

English Language Books at Pestalozzi Library

Ah books. Beautiful, wonderful books. Some women have shoe collections but not me, I have a book collection - in Texas. Of everything I left behind, my books were the hardest. My friends suggested a Kindle, but no, I like the smell and feel of paper and it is hard to curl up with a tablet. 

There are a couple of different library systems in Zurich and the Pestalozzi library is one of them. For 45 SFr per year, I can check out up to 25 books, DVDs, CDs or whatever at a time and they even have English language books. So I took the kids to the library hoping it would be a good find for my big girl who also obsesses over books (currently Magic Tree House) and first went in search of English language kids books. 

There were 50. I don't mean approximately 50, I mean 50. I counted them while S was looking at one of the books.  *sigh* She picked out one book and what I thought was a Globi DVD to help her learn Swiss German. Turns out it was a video game. Oh well. 

For the adult books, there was a larger selection of English books, about one and a half racks worth. All fiction and not very many new ones. I picked out Julie and Julia and The Birth House for myself, paid for my year membership and left. One perk of the Pestalozzi library - kids memberships are free until age 16. The kids membership limits borrowers to kids books only otherwise S would be checking out a lot of adult books. ;) 

Afterward, S was disappointed by the sparse selection so we stopped by the Brockenhaus behind Zurich HB that carries a limited supply of used books. The only book S found was a book on Babar going to America but it was in French. I bought it anyway and was able to translate it for her as I read it. I lucked out a little more and found a hardback copy of Stephen King's recent book Under the Dome

Tomorrow we are going back to the Pestalozzi library to return our books and get new ones. So excited!