Saturday, 21 June 2008

Freewheeling Paris Style

The proper way to go about things
Working in an actual office really does do wonders for your motivation. My energy levels last week were twice as much as the week before, when I was seemingly incapable of completing even the one task I had for any given day. Nowadays, I hop out of bed with alacrity before my alarm has even made a peep, and pass-by the post office to pay bills and send letters before I've even got to the office. I'm a full-on multi-tasker, storming through conference calls in French nd being the general go-to girl for the office.

And then I got a little cocky. Today I decided it was high-time I included some exercise in my regime, and took out a "Vélib" bike on my way back from work. Velibs are the free bikes stationed in every quartier that you can pick up and drop back at your destination. After some jolly chats with the business-types at the stop by the Assemblée National, I selected my bike and pressed my thumb to the metal pad to release it. As simple as that! I powered down Boulevard Raspail, feeling the wind in my hair and the evening sun on my legs, a happy worker on her way home, nature's way.
Then came the traffic-lights. And I noticed my skirt had ridden up and was impossible to tug down to a modest level unless I rode side-saddle. And people were looking! On a bike at the lights you are effectively a side-show for anyone waiting to cross, or sitting in a cafe enjoying an apéro and people-watching. Not to mention the fact that the people in cars next to you have a direct pants-level view up your skirt while they hang out their window getting a van-tan and an eyeful of the amateur velibist's legs. Perhaps I was especially conspicuous being the only person in Paris wearing a neon-day-glo vest over my clothes, I'm not sure. Safety first!

A quick getaway was what was needed, but that's a lot harder when you're pedalling on an incline in the sizzling heat, with a slightly flat tyre and weak chicken legs. I think a moped is the only answer. One rev and whoosh! You're gone, leaving onlookers with smut in their eye and only the fading memory of your knickers. Now, a scheme with free Piaggios on every corner is one I could really get on board with. 

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