04 May 2014 Life

A Paris cycling adventure

Pass the tour bus

Spotting a gap between the bike taxi and the tour bus, you dart ahead with a surge of adrenaline. Weaving your way through the tetris-like configuration of vehicles, you start to get a feel for the rhythm of the traffic. What once looked menacing is now a joy, as you realise that cars are looking out for you and responding to your movements. Similarly, you squeeze and slow down and veer to accommodate the vehicles around you — it’s a kind of fluid interpretive dance.

Making your way gradually to the edge of the roundabout, you detach from the circling mass and fly down Avenue Wagram. In a way, navigating this street is more complicated than the roundabout traffic. There are now vehicles parked along the curb and people walking across the road.

You’re travelling at a good clip now; the cobblestones are bumpy but you’ve reached a speed where your tires are just kissing the tops of the stones, like rock skipping over smooth water. Slow down or speed up, and your handlebars will start to feel like a jackhammer.

It’s a shame you’ve got such an optimal speed going, because a pedestrian has just stepped out boldly into the street half a block ahead of you. It’s not a crosswalk. What do you do?

Stop and let them cross or Continue at speed and swerve around them

Sam Nabi

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