First French ride

Today I went for my first French ride but not before picking up the rental car. I drove around town looking for a parking once place once I had learned that parking is free for the month of August. I found one close to the hotel and the car is staying there. I went back to the hotel and knocked up a quick route around Versailles. I went downstairs and finished setting up the bike. I had a close call with the dynamo light as I couldn’t get it to go on. Fortunately, it seemed to be just the way I set up the wires as after switching terminals, the light worked.

I set off heading North, not as if I was heading for the centre of Paris, that would have been North East. The first traffic light I stopped reaffirmed the notion I had that I like the traffic lights. They have lights that are at eye level and pointing diagonally out towards the driver; in my case, the cyclist. Saves getting neck ache staring up at the lights. I then came to some designated cycling lane which basically just a striped line painted on the side of the road. Another cycling lane I came to diverted me on to the pavement (sidewalk). What was interesting about the the cycle path was that it also accommodated for cyclists coming in the other direction. I saw an oncoming cyclist and he was in my lane!! As he got nearer, he moved over to his lane (on the other side of the trees) and after we had passed, he moved back to mine. Most strange.

For the first few miles, it was predominantly downhill. That worried me for the way back! The road signs seemed quite straight forward. There was one that was puzzling me when I had picked up the rental. No right turn for a 10t. What did 10t mean? Before 10pm? I finally figured it out when I saw some other signs with the “t” on it. Ten tonnes!! Vehicles over 10 tonnes in weight, no right turn! Good to know but not applicable in either case.

I came to my first cobbled road. I had been using one of these designated cycling areas when it led on to a cobbled street. I continued up it. The cobble stones are not as small as the ones I know in England but it does make for some interesting riding. I flashed a look to my left and saw that there was a cycling lane on the road itself. At the next opportunity, I veered left and on to the road. Much smoother. It was not long before I was back on the cobbles. This time there was no escaping them as the bike lane went over the cobbles itself!

Then came Versailles. Wow, much bigger than I had imagined. And very gold. I walked the bike up to the golden gates. I checked to see if it was really gold but it was just painted. Not that they would have been gold. If they had proposed melting all the metal down for cannon balls, I doubt they would have left any gold fence standing. I continued with the ride and sure enough, what comes down must surely go up!! It wasn’t a bad climb but I was passed by some older gent. I made a couple of wrong turns as the map didn’t have the roundabouts that well but it was easily noticed. As I had been doing best route, the map was a bit funny on some of the turns but zoomed out, I could see the correct way to go.

It was only 16 miles but it was good practice on the French roads and it keeps my legs ticking over. Tomorrow, the centre of Paris and the Champs Élysées. Wish me well.


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2 Responses to “First French ride”

  1. wb416 Says:

    Will you be attempting a sprint finish on the Champ Elysees? 🙂

  2. Paul Murray Says:

    Unfortunately it is not on the route otherwise… 😛

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