Sunday, 13 September 2009

Paris on Wheels

In France, Sunday is sports day. And one of the things that I love about the French is that they like the same sports as I do. As a person with very little competitive spirit and absolutely no hand-eye coordination, it is to my distinct advantage to live in a country where the most popular sports include walking, running, cycling and, above all, rollerblading.

When I go rollerblading in the UK, people give me funny looks. Groups of teenagers laugh and point and small dogs inadvertently trip me up as they run around my feet in confusion. In France, the only humiliation involved in rollerblading is being overtaken by 70 year old men with cooler gear and stronger leg muscles.

In order to facilitate all this activity, France is full of cycle lanes and, between 9am and 5pm on a Sunday, the road along the banks of the Seine in Paris is closed to cars so that it can be used by runners, cyclists and rollerbladers. Today I decided to try it out.

It was great. As well as having no hand-eye coordination, I don't like the feeling of danger, and so one of my pet hates is skating on bumpy surfaces. The tarmac on the road is mostly pretty smooth and the closed-off bit was long enough for me to skate for almost an hour before I ran out of places to go. And when I wanted a break, I just stopped to take photographs!

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