04 May 2014 Life

A Paris cycling adventure

Enter the roundabout

You rise up from the saddle and pedal hard for three, four, five revolutions. The gap left by the now-departed taxi is closing fast. A teenager on a Vespa zips past you on the right-hand side, the high-pitched whine of the two-stroke engine leaving a ringing in your ear.

You notice that despite its chaotic appearance, traffic isn’t moving all that fast. It’s fairly easy to keep up with other vehicles inside the roundabout, and you realise that you could even pass somebody if you wanted to. But where’s that gap? At last glance, it was right there in front of you. Maybe the Vespa… you do a couple shoulder checks and realise that without your knowledge, traffic has morphed and flowed around you. You’re now in the second — or third, maybe — ring of vehicles circling the Arc de Triomphe.

It’s not clear how that happened, but now you’ve got a bike taxi to your left, an electric carshare vehicle to your right, a limousine behind you, and a big neon-green tour bus blocking your view in front. You’re moving at a steady 20 km/h, and you certainly can’t stop pedaling now. Time to make another choice:

Pass the tour bus to get a better view or Follow behind the bus

Sam Nabi

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