The Tale of the Likes of Bikes

I was in France the last few days, starting Sunday and finishing on Tuesday. I have been many times before, as I was lucky enough to be picked by the school to go in first year, and the Parents took Lynn and I there a few years ago, where we went to Disneyland Paris and Parc Asterix. I also paid for Hazel and I to spend a few nights there about 3 years ago, which was the last time I was there. Hazel on the other hand went last year and got stranded after her flight was cancelled, so her testimonial to the city might be rather different from mine.

This year, however, I went with my sister, to meet up surprise like with the Parents as my Dad had organised us to meet them out there, with my Mum not knowing of the plan. It sounded fool proof, until we realised Lynn would require a new passport. It meant Dad had to pressure Lynn to getting the form filled out in time, and not seeming too pushy, as she was not supposed to be heading abroad anytime soon, according to my Mum. We thought she was catching on.

Then, fours days before they were due to leave, she removed our passports from the folder they are normally kept, and put "All Lynn and you need, like passports and all the documents in a safe place". Surely she knew!

And the crunch came. They left on Tuesday morning, and Lynn and I had a few days of freedom till we were to leave. I tried to fall asleep the night before, but I was so worried that I would sleep through the alarm, meaning we would miss the plane, I just stayed awake, dozing every so often, waking with a start to check the watch. The lamp was on, and I am sure the objects in the room were watching my fitted attempts to fall asleep with mild glee

The drive to Prestwick was easy, fast, and safe. We parked our car behind the parents, after scanning the car park for it. Luckily here was a space.

Skipping a bit, we were due to meet them outside their hotel, but I phoned Dad just to make sure everything was okay-go. Once we knew it was, we made our way to their hotel...

Meanwhile, my Dad had a problem. How does he get my Mum to leave the Musee d'Orsay, one of her favourite places in Paris, halfway through a tour? She has noticed the various disappearings...
"Have you lost something?" she asks.
"No, I have gained something."
"What? What does that mean?"
"The Kids."
"I have gained the kids. They are here."
"What? Where?"
"You are joking. I don't believe you."
"Fine. But we need to go to the hotel to meet them."
"I don't believe you, you are a liar."

It was good fun to see her face and the resent of a scrap book with loads of photos from the 25 years of marriage went down a storm.

BUT! There is something worth blogging about from this trip.


In the city of Paris they have roads, but not like the roads we are used to. There seems to be no rules, but it is not as bad as Italy I am told. I have no first hand experience of Italian roads, being the only place I have been in the large country is Venice, but I can imagine. In this city of Paris, there are more different types of road users than in Blighty. There are car users, mopeds, and bikes, but also, Rollerbladers, -skaters, and pedestrians, making for a massive crash waiting to happen.

There is also something that I found rather novel, and one great idea. For hire bikes. Every so often there is a range of bikes, connected to a small security post. You can hire these bikes at a chargeable rate. The genius behind this idea is that it is able to be used at any time, from any one of the Bike stations. When you hire it, you release a bike from the system, and when you reconnect it, it charges your credit card the amount of time you had it. You can then head to the nearest station to you, and pick up another bike, meaning you can get around the city centre on these bikes.

There are hundreds of bikes, and loads of stations. In fact, there are so many that I think you could probably assume that anywhere you fancy going will have one very close.

I think this is a great idea, and removes the need to use buses, or even buy your own bike. I think it is amazing, but it would not work in Glasgow. For one the bikes would never come back to the station, and even if they were, they would last too long even securely tethered.

Sometimes I wish Glasgow was better.

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