No Bike. No Country. Just Paris and a Box.

September 12, 2012 at 12:55 am

A bike in a box at an international airport is not such a bad thing. Normally I travel extremely light. Checking bags is heresy to me. I prefer a backpack with everything I need that can fit under a seat. So it should come as no surprise that checking an entire bike internationally gave me a case of the willies. A strong one.

But everything worked quite well. After lumbering across half the world at a corpse's pace, I arrived in France to find my bags had arrived as well. I managed to utilize some poor French to communicate with a taxi driver. We pushed the bike into the back of his van and left. We sloggethrough rainy traffic into Paris and the doorstep of my friend's apartment.

Although I had slept on the night I left (briefly) and on the plane to New York (briefly) and on the plane to Paris (lengthily), I still managed to pass out once I made it to R.'s apartment in Paris. I'm quite sure I snored with my shoes on, with a half-open bag of Combo's in front of my face. With the sounds of Parisian rain wafting into the windows, who could blame me?

Soon after I awoke, we headed out for dinner and some drinks (for the record, I feel like I've experienced two full evenings without a morning). We took R.'s Triumph to a bistro for some food, and then some drinks in Bastille. There we met some of his Canadian friends. The conversation drifted between more-French portions that I tried to follow and more-English portions that I could participate in.


Paris is best on two wheels.


I notice that Parisian cyclists are a different breed. R. explains that disobeying traffic laws in Paris can cost you points on your driver's license. And it's hard as hell to even get a driver's license here. In San Francisco, your biggest concerns are bodily harm and the extremely occasional ticket from the police. And while bodily harm is the main concern, it sometimes comes at the expense of traffic laws. A good cyclist knows that the safest action is not always strictly legal.

I would explain more about who cycles in Paris and how they do it, but it would not yet be fair–Without further observation. But I can tell you that cycling in this city sure looks fun.

Tomorrow I will get some coffee–long absent from my life–and free my bike from its cardboard cage. More then.