Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Paris à vélo

I had some time off in Paris last week. It was a nice afternoon, and I sought out a place to rent a bike. I was hoping to find a place near my hotel just off the Champs Elysees, but the closest place the concierge could find was at Les Halles, so that was still a good excuse to walk over there and have a jambon buerre along the way.

When I found the place without too much trouble and got a bike. It was a bit of a disappointment straight away - seat askew, brakes scarcely working. But functional enough, and I'm sure Henry Miller rode worse.

My rental bike

I set off towards Le Marais, and soon found Paris to be one of the least hospitable biking cities I've experienced. The Paris à Vélo map indicated lots of of routes, but even the primary routes were shared with buses. What you don't realize as a tourist on foot, though, is how heavy the traffic is on small streets, which all seem to be one-way in the opposite direction you want to go. And whenever I wanted to stop and pop in somewhere, I couldn't find a place to lock up. There are some racks here and there, but no parking meters or any other accessible fixtures.

Traffic in Le Marais

I had a nice ride by the end of it all, with a lovely ride around the islands and a bit of ice cream.

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