Puzzle Warehouse
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Puzzle Warehouse

Bike to Work Day

I got my first bicycle when I was 7 or 8 years old. It was a purple Schwinn, with a banana seat. I didn’t have a sissy bar because I thought it would just get in the way. When I was 10 or 11 I got my first ten-speed bike, the Free Spirit from Sears. It’s easy to remember this one because, although it was a Christmas present, I had to pay for half of it myself. I spent the whole year saving money, storing it in a little brown envelope in my top dresser drawer. It was so exciting to hand the cash to my parents and to finally have a bike with gears!

For the next 10 years, that bike, and the one I bought in my late teens, were my primary means of transportation. I rode everywhere on them; to school, to the park, to friends’ houses and, later, to work. Hoo boy, did I ride them to work. I rode to my fast food job, to my bookstore job, to my Chinese restaurant job, to my movie theater job, and to my second bookstore and second fast food jobs. And I probably would have kept riding them to work, but for the fact that I eventually had to wear a suit, which doesn’t go well with sweat.

With that in mind, when I saw that May 17 was National Bike to Work Day, I had to claim it as my blog topic for the month. Oddly, though, with as many puzzles as I have in the house, only one featured a bicycle. Doing a search for “bicycle” at PuzzleWarehouse gave me a good selection of additional puzzles, and I was off and running. Or biking. Or whatever.

The puzzle I chose to start with was one I’ve had for a couple of years. As much as I had been wanting to tackle it, it never, until now, made it to the top of the list. The puzzle is called simply, “Amsterdam,” and is produced by Educa. It is available in a 1000 piece version, as well as the 3000 piece that I have. I will warn you up front, if you tackle the 3000 piece don’t be hard on yourself if it takes a while. It’s a fun solve, but takes a lot of focus on small details to get it together. In fact, because of deadlines, this is the second puzzle this year I’ve written about before finishing. When I’m done, it will look like this beautiful picture.

Amsterdam puzzle

Amsterdam by Educa

Educa puzzles have been fun for me to work on. I love the solid feel of the pieces, and the good fit. It’s not super tight in small sections, but the overall puzzle holds together well. On the higher piece count puzzles, the limited variety in piece shape can slow the solve, so be ready to spend a little extra time. 

While Amsterdam was on the table, about one third done, I pulled out one of my puzzle boards and started work on “Momentum, Bike Art,” from Heye. I fell in love with this one as soon as I saw it on the website, and it didn’t disappoint in the solving. At 1000 pieces this colorful gem was perfect for building with an early season baseball game on the TV in the background. It’s bright and fun, and has proven extremely popular with my puzzling friends.

Momentum puzzle

Momentum, Bike Art by Heye

Having gone from a primarily black and white puzzle immediately to one of the most colorful puzzles in my collection, my final bike puzzle for the month was a bit of a compromise between the two. “Brownstones” from New York Puzzle Company, is 1000 pieces. It took me about eight hours, and I enjoyed them all. While “Amsterdam” had only a few piece shapes, and “Momentum, Bike Art” had the standard variety that you’d see in many popular brands, “Brownstones” had some fun twisty shapes and elongated pieces that added interest to the solve. It wasn’t as wild as a puzzle from Cobble Hill or Springbok, but it definitely had a little twist just off the norm.

Brownstones puzzle

Brownstones by New York Puzzle Company

And that’s where my puzzle journey for National Ride to Work Day comes to an end. As for my personal biking, I hung it up a few years ago, after nearly five decades of regular riding. Thousands of miles passed under my wheels, and my memory box holds mementos from two dozen or so organized century rides. From the old Schwinn and the ten-speed, through several more serious bikes – biking was a blast! If you have the opportunity, give it a chance and maybe bike to work yourself sometime. 

Happy Puzzling.


Phil (aka Puzzle Buster)

Comments - Add Comment 5.0 Stars 4
5 Stars
Scott W. - Englewood, CO

I can relate to.the thrill of your first bikes. I to rode my bike everywhere. I have 9 of them now. The bike of each one of my friends told you where each friend was when it was laying in the yard or a neighbor or friends house. You could tell who was where by what bike was outside the houses. I to have taken to puzzling and will have to try you choices of puzzles. Thanks for the good memories and things to buy.

5 Stars
Lisa J. - Windermere, FL

Oh boy - that Educa as a 3000 would be TOUGH - good for you! As I work from home, I won't be biking to work, but I DO have a bike ride scheduled for this weekend and I may just be adding that Heye you covered to my collection!

5 Stars
Mary Williams - Florida

Love puzzles!!

5 Stars
Darcie D. - CT

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