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  1. #1
    Senior Member poppalurch's Avatar
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    Track Bikes in Paris?

    I was in Paris in January and it seemed like my girlfriend and I were the only two there on track bikes. A couple of funny things happened:

    In front of Cycles Laurent a guy walked up to us and starting asking questions about our bikes and his last comment was "..it doesn't seem manly enough for the street". I guess those 25 year basket-bikes that I saw everybody riding are more manly than my messenger bike!

    I was riding alone and a Parisian stopped me to check out my bike, he was totally blown away "tres minimal! "

    We didn't see anybody else on track bikes the whole two weeks we spend riding around the streets of Paris. Are the Parisians to purist to even think of taking a Piste on the streets? Or is it the pesky cobblestones that we had to walk around?

  2. #2
    I sing the body electric
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    yeah I've spent more time in paris than any other city in the world other than my hometown of philadelphia and have never seen a track bike... i guess i just figured that its like anti-american these days not to ride them... sort of like how they have rollerskates not blades doing the "cone tricks" by notre dame...

    ps don't actually have anything against the french. rather its quite the opposite. My question to those boycotting french goods and country is "who are you trying to punish? them or you?"

  3. #3
    no one wants an alien FixednotBroken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celephaiz
    ps don't actually have anything against the french. rather its quite the opposite. My question to those boycotting french goods and country is "who are you trying to punish? them or you?"
    i was speechless at the irony when anti-french yahoos before the war were dumping bottles upon bottles of french wine into gutters here in the US... unbelievable - i have to imagine the french, as well as the rest of the world, were having a good laugh at that one.

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    Freedom Fries!....sometimes we deserve the laughter, but we still have bigger guns.

  5. #5
    misses the city
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    Freedom Fries
    Made even funnier by the ignorance of people who don't realize that French Fries have nothing to do with France at all.

  6. #6
    Iguana Subsystem dolface's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emilymildew
    Made even funnier by the ignorance of people who don't realize that French Fries have nothing to do with France at all.
    that was totally belgium.

  7. #7
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppalurch

    We didn't see anybody else on track bikes the whole two weeks we spend riding around the streets of Paris. Are the Parisians to purist to even think of taking a Piste on the streets? Or is it the pesky cobblestones that we had to walk around?
    I've never seen a fixed gear in Paris, either, but I would see pot-bellied "old guys" riding road bikes around wearing full team kits (never a helmet) of guys riding new high end road bikes wearing jeans-

    -despite the common attention to fashion that most Parisians appear to possess, biking is all about being practical. I rarely see a commuter bike with a fully enclosed drive train in the US. I'm guessing riding fixed is not viewed as being practical.

  8. #8
    Matthew Grimm / Flunky Kogswell's Avatar
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    We have a distributor in the UK (HubJub). And we're trying to decide who to work with in Germany and Japan. But no one in France seems to care.

    Are there any messengers in Paris?

    I know they pick-up/deliver the mail twice a day so that might be sufficient for them.

    When you were there, did you get out to the Municipal Velodrome in the Bois de Vincennes?

    mG

  9. #9
    Slower than you Judah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FixednotBroken
    i was speechless at the irony when anti-french yahoos before the war were dumping bottles upon bottles of french wine into gutters here in the US... unbelievable
    People are idiots. When that whole anti-french crap was all the rage I actually had a guy I used to work with tell me: "We don't need their snooty wine, two buck chuck is as good or better than anything they've got." Sweet, give me all of your Chateau Margaux and Mouton Rothschild and I'll give you an equal amount of two buck chuck, thank you drive through....

  10. #10
    bannned steaktaco's Avatar
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    red wine reduces my cholesterol.
    steaktaco.com <-- poohoopsies.


  11. #11
    Senior Member poppalurch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kogswell
    Are there any messengers in Paris?

    I know they pick-up/deliver the mail twice a day so that might be sufficient for them.

    When you were there, did you get out to the Municipal Velodrome in the Bois de Vincennes?

    mG
    I know of only one messenger company still in business, which UrbanCycle. While riding around in Paris, particularly around Place de la Republique, we saw them zip by. All on hybrids/mountain bikes with road tires.

    Didn't get a chance to check out the bois de vincennes, but I was told about it by a couple of people.

    I'm moving there in Sept. and I'm really excited about all of the new bike lanes.

  12. #12
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kogswell

    Are there any messengers in Paris?
    Why? When you can ride a motorcycle or motor scooter on the sidewalk? Where splitting lanes is legal? People ride their scooters like messengers... a bike would actually be slower.

  13. #13
    Matthew Grimm / Flunky Kogswell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppalurch

    Didn't get a chance to check out the bois de vincennes, but I was told about it by a couple of people.
    Le Stade (muni)CIPALE! Up until '75, the TdF ended there like Paris/Roubaix ends at the Roubaix velodrome.

    You're moving to Paris? Lucky.

  14. #14
    Matthew Grimm / Flunky Kogswell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by filtersweep
    Where splitting lanes is legal?
    Is splitting lanes not legal in Minneapolis?

    Driving though a parking zone and passing on the right are. Charging stop lights and using the right lane for going straight both seem to be tolerated. And apparently freeways haven't been around long enough for proper merging protocol to have become part of the culture.

    So why not lane splitting? Too -dangerous- ?

    Yesterday a woman used the dirt shoulder of Highway 169 to merge in front of my as she entered the motorway. There was NO traffic for half a mile in either direction and I was doing the speed limit.

    After ten years of living here, I still don't get it.

    Minnesotans are lovely people. And when they learn how to stop murdering each other with their cars, there's real hope for us.

    And then there's the whole issue of how to form and use a proper queue at the bank/pharmacy/etc.

    Matthew

  15. #15
    Senior Member poppalurch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by filtersweep
    Why? When you can ride a motorcycle or motor scooter on the sidewalk? Where splitting lanes is legal? People ride their scooters like messengers... a bike would actually be slower.
    Because me (and the mayor of Paris as well) think that those ****ty, smelly, two-stroke Vespas are killing us and the world around us. This is why they've put so many new bike lanes in Paris, and I rumor has it that they are going to start putting a limit on the amount of scooters on the road any given day.

    Somebody above had mentioned that a possible reason why the urban fixed gear hasn't yet hit Paris is because of its lack of efficiency, the same thing can be said about those pieces, which utilize the most primitive of combustion technology.

  16. #16
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    Haha, man you have not seen crazy driving and parking until you have been to Paris. Some of the parking actually offends me as a Canadian... but it works and I haven't been hit yet... Theres just too many damn cars in Paris, they need to be more like Amsterdam. Anyways, I haven't seen one fixie in Paris ever... I have talked to a guy who rides one but he was American anyways. I was going to go to the velodrome at bois des vincennes but I right over by the bois de boulogne, so its easier for me to just ride the lycra boy circuit in the park than ride across paris or take the metro to vincennes. That said, people in Paris ride either crappy Amsterdam style cruisers with chain guards and full fenders, or they have this one cheap hybrid from Decathlon with a velcro patch on the top tube, or they have totally sick road bikes (ranging from pristine full campy classic colnagos to brand new super techy orbeas) and they just ride them on the weekends around the bois or outside of the city. I would say the roadie crowd I have seen are about 35-40 on average, with a high amount of ridiculously fit old guys that always leave me in the dust. There is usually a huge paceline going around all day but I just trail off the back because from the astonished looks they give me I don't think they are prepared for a brakeless track bike and a messenger bag coming up behind them.

    Oh on a sad note, I put a brake on my baby today, but it was free so its not as bad.

    Paris is simply not a good city for biking.. the traffic is too crazy and the metro is so cheap and convenient, theres really one within 5 minutes walk of wherever you could possibly be in Paris, which makes biking somewhat less necessary than many other places. Also throughout france, scooters under 100cc do not require driver's licenses, registration, or plates. when you park your scooter its like locking your bike. If it gets stolen, its gone... so all the scooters are locked up with crazy chain and U locks that would put most of our bike security to shame. Why spend 1000 bucks on your bicycle when you can spend 1200 dollars on a scooter and not need to do any exercise?
    I'm biking across North America on the Internet!
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  17. #17
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kogswell
    Is splitting lanes not legal in Minneapolis?
    You have to draw the line somewhere? People drive like maniacs, yet people rarely use their horns... go figure. It is kind of like how most people don't park in handicapped spots or smoke in non-smoking areas, then they drive home completely drunk... we must do our best to maintain the APPEARANCE of civility.

    I don't think motorcycles/motor scooters can legally split lanes (left/right/between lanes) in Mpls- and they certainly cannot follow the dotted line down the road.

    In Paris, a bike would be behind all matter of motorized two-wheelers stopped to the right of cars stopped at red lights.

  18. #18
    Senior Member poppalurch's Avatar
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    I thought the drivers where great there, very respectful and aware of whats going on around them. I almost soiled myself when saw a head actually peek out of a parked car before they opened the door into traffic. European drivers are going to be better around cyclists hands down just because of the sheer number of cyclists on the streets in Europe.

    How many times have I almost been doored here in SF? Countless.

  19. #19
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    I saw triple parking for the first time in my life in Paris. I think I took a photo actually.

  20. #20
    Happy Cycling HexagonSun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FixednotBroken
    i have to imagine the french, as well as the rest of the world, were having a good laugh at that one.
    i would have to imagine the french were lamenting the wasted booze.

  21. #21
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    Or maybe they were applauding the saved brain cells. People that would pour wine into the gutter have obviously been drinking too much of it.

  22. #22
    Senior Member poppalurch's Avatar
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    Shiznaz-->
    how long will you be in Paris? My gf and I will be there mid Sept. We can organize a two-man alleycat...

  23. #23
    Gone, but not forgotten Shiznaz's Avatar
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    no dice, I'm back in the land of the ice and snow as of August 2nd (or is it the 3rd?). I have a feeling our two man alleycat would turn into a one man rush for medical help when one of us gets creamed by smart car driving out of a space perpendicular to the road anyways
    I'm biking across North America on the Internet!
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  24. #24
    no one wants an alien FixednotBroken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HexagonSun
    i would have to imagine the french were lamenting the wasted booze.
    nah, they were spending the profits on some delicious cheese to go with their wine!

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