My first few days in the capital have been…well…French. Baguettes under the arm, a glass of wine every day (I’m on a budget now, it has to be one) and bicycling along the Seine.

Vélib is the Boris bike equivalent, although I have no basis for comparison having never slipped my foot into a pedal during my four years in London. ‘Paff! these are for tourists,’ I thought, along with the ominous feeling that I would end up splayed between two buses along Oxford Street. So I never tried. But it seems here everyone is loving the Vélib, and at 29€ for the YEAR, you would use it wouldn’t you? Surprisingly, even the metro is cheaper here. 67€ for a month, as opposed to the £130andgrowing I paid for just zones 1-2. Anyhow, not the time to get capital-competitive. I’m sure I’ll be complaining of something France-related soon…

Despite the facility and economical advantages of using Vélib (1.70€ for 24 hours; you pay online, enter a code at one of the numerous stations, take your bike and off you cruise), there was still that lurking feeling that without a helmet or any sense of direction I just might die. Having the road awareness skills of a hamster wasn’t going to help either. I tend to get quite distracted, looking up when I should be looking ahead – so cycling through the world’s most beautiful city was a trying test. My one (life)-saving grace is that I have semi-quick reactions. Sometimes.

My journey from the 14th to Palais de Tokyo in the 16th, was incredibly smooth. However on the way back, I managed to direct myself outside of the city. Into les banlieuesquelle horreur! After several redirections and an unbecoming amount of sweat, I made it back to chez moi.

Casualty total:
Man with potentially bruised arm (I fell off into him, but he was walking in the bike lane)
Pissed off Parisienne that I cycled on the pavement
Pissed off motocyclist I cut up trying to change lanes
Blisters to two thumbs (self-inflicted)
Sore buttocks (mine)

Bar the last two, which I imagine come with any Vélib experience, it looks like it didn’t go very well.
I award myself a C+. Room for improvement.