A Paris cycling adventure

04 May 2014 Life

On the Champs-Elysées

Following the roundabout traffic, you emerge on the Champs-Élysées — a beautiful, wide, cobblestone avenue lined with manicured trees and luxury shopping. The tourists and shoppers are out in full force. The street seems to stretch for ever, and far ahead you can make out the glinting peak of the Luxor Obelisk — a gift from the Egyptian Viceroy Mohammed Ali in 1829. Before the Obelisk was installed, you would have seen a guillotine in the centre of that square. French revolutionaries were awfully practical in their choice of monuments.

Your mind is wandering. But that’s alright. Though the Champs-Élysées is a busy street, there aren’t many intersections and the route is downhill, so you don’t have to pedal hard to keep up with traffic. The potholes are something else, though. Every few seconds your body jolts up and your bike frame shudders. Cobblestones may be romantic, but you could go for some smooth tarmac right about now.

A string of taxis are stopped in the curbside lane up ahead, four-way lights flashing. They’re blocking your way, but maybe they’re just picking someone up and will be on their way shortly. Do you shift lanes to pass them, or stay behind the taxis?

Shift lanes and pass them or Stay in your lane and wait

Sam Nabi

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