Coline responded to the post I wrote yesterday with the observation of the day: "Those look like Paris cobblestones".
Paris cobblestones indeed look different from the ones in New York or other cities--including South Bend, Indiana. (Do they have cobblestones there?) or any other place that has a Notre Dame in it. That means only one thing...
No, I'm not in South Bend. I am Lutece, the City of Light, thanks to a generous late birthday gift. Would you pass up such a thing?
Anyway, I haven't done any bike riding yet on this trip. I plan to rent a bike tomorrow, but I don't think I'm going to use Velib for the same reasons I don't use Citibike. (Well, OK, I have one other reason not to use Citibike: I have bikes in NYC.) For one, I don't want to be bound by time constraints such as having to return the bike within 45 minutes or whatever it is. For another, I'm just not comfortable putting my bank card in one of those machines and having it place a hold on some of my money. And, finally, the rental shops probably have bikes I'd like better than the ones in Velib, Citibike or just about any other bike share program.
In walking toward the Luxembourg Gardens, I saw a couple of bikes with details we rarely, if ever, see in the States:
I would love to see how that striping was done. It lends even more definition to the "hammered" pattern in the fenders. Can you imagine if Velo Orange or Honjo offered it as an option. Of course, it would cost a lot of money for them to match--as best they could--the finish on the frame. Then again, I guess it wouldn't have to match: Black stripes would go with a lot of bikes, and other combinations (e.g., red stripes for a blue bike, green for an orange frame or purple with pink) could be done.
All right--enough about accessorizing bikes. I'm in Paris, for crying out loud. Hmm...Maybe that's not such an inappropriate topic to discuss while I'm here. Accessories, bikes and Paris: It all works together.
Now here's something almost none of you have seen:
Ok, the fenders (in the photo preceding this one) are cool enough. But look at the chain guard. And the chainstay-mounted rear derailleur. I suspect it's a Huret: Based on my admittedly- limited experience with such derailleurs, I don't think it's a Nivex.
But the best part is the lugwork, which would be par for the work of the best custom builders. Oh, wait...
it is the work of an old master: Oscar Egg. It's truly amazing to see it on a utilitarian city bike parked on a street in Beauborg, near the Pompidou Centre.