Sunday, July 12, 2009
Night Bike Tour of Paris
I met an American girl in the Laundromat who told me about Fat Tire Bike Tours. She convinced me I had to take the night bike tour of Paris. Seeing as how I've been feeling like I'm missing all the city has to see, I decided to take the tour Saturday night. I joined a group, picked out a bike, and took off on the bike lane that taxis and buses also happen to share. If this sounds dangerous, it's because it is. The tour had a single guide who lead an unwieldy group of American tourists who probably hadn't ridden bikes since they learned to drive. I'm exaggerating a little- actually our group did pretty well with no crashes and only a few near misses with irate taxi drivers who don't like to share the lane. Our guide's name was Paul, who grew up in Hawaii surfing the big waves (actual quote) so almost every monument description was punctuated with "Dude!"
Everything started off grand. The weather was cool and breezy, the sun was going down, and it was really exhilarating to be riding a bike on the streets of Paris (when it wasn't terrifying). I kept imagining that scene in The House of D where David Duchovney is riding his bike really fast down a beautifully lit street at night. I'm pretty sure we rode down the same street- either that or every street in Paris is beautiful at night. Also, every Erykah Badu fan should see that movie.
So we rode over to Notre Dame, Ile St-Louis, the Louvre, a few more places where I didn't quite catch the names, down the Champs Elysees, and cut back to the Seine to hop on a tour boat to take a ride to see the lights from the river. Still going well, Paul breaks out some red wine and pours everyone a glass to enjoy on the cruise. Tour mates were great- mom and daughter from Houston, a girl who is finishing up Johnson & Wales pastry program, the cutest married couple ever from Miami, and a group of ladies who swam for Villanueva College who came over to do a relay swim of the English Channel (seriously- it took 11 hours). What is it with sporty chicks from Villaneuva and me? I took a tour to Morocco with the volley ball team when I was in Spain. Anyways, after we were all settled in and sipping our wine, it started to rain and by then it was chilly. The boat was packed and all the smart people who had the forethought to check the weather had taken the inside seats so we spent an hour long boat cruise shivering and wet. Then we got back on our bikes (still raining) and rode back to Fat Tire's offices.
I had to take two packed trains to get back home and made it (finally!) after 1 am. I didn't hear my phone ringing while biking and Eric was sure I was dead on the street. After I called him back to convince him I was alive, I had a cup of tea to warm up and crashed out. I woke up late, sore, and rueing the whole bike tour idea. Until I downloaded the photos and remembered that the first 3 hours of the tour were actually very cool. I would have totally loved it had it not rained. Next time I do laundry, I'm going to accost some other American tourist and insist they take the tour. And if you're ever in Berlin or Barcelona, Fat Tire does bike tours in those cities as well.