Bicycle theft and BICYCODE

Bicycle theft and BICYCODE As we head into this new period where new bike lanes are popping up like dandelions many people will be buying bicycles, many will also be stolen and resold. Bikes are stolen way too often and it is likely to increase in the next months. Be sure you lock them up tight with two quality locks. Cable-type locks don't withstand the test of an equipped thief. U-locks are the best rated and will hold up longer. Add a fixed frame lock to be even better protected. Be sure to lock your bike to something solid and fixed as well. Position the lock on your frame - not on the wheel - and try to place it as high up as possible (50cm from the ground) so a thief doesn't have easy leverage. Many bike racks are not well conceived and only allow you to lock the front wheel to the rack, these are best avoided as they are pretty much useless. Lock your bike inside a hallway or garage or bike room as well. Most bikes are stolen during the day, in busy places and from insid…
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Hints and Tips for Running and Biking in Paris

Hints and Tips for Running and Biking in Paris (and an impassioned plea at the end)

It’s no coincidence that “endorphin,” the chemical produced by the brain during intensive, repetitive exercise like running, biking, rowing and swimming, seems to rhyme with “morphine” (an opiate pain reliever).  It is morphine, its name being a contraction of “endogenous” (i.e., manufactured “within,” or by, the body [en = “in” in French, for example]) and “morphine”--or other “-ine” drugs, such as codeine, etc. Endorphins are natural pain relivers, which is why we get a “runner’s or biker’s high.” This would be the case even if we were pounding the pavement or pushing the pedals in Lost Springs, Wyoming (as of the 2010 census, population: 4). Or Charleroi, Belgium (according to the BBC, the ugliest city in the world).

BUT WE ARE RUNNING AND BIKING IN PARIS! Need we say more?

Yes, we need. In order to keep safe and happy while all that home-grown dope…

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Get out of Town: The Somme

The Somme department in the region of Picardy just two hours north of Paris, is not on the usual tourist circuit, but nevertheless has a ton of places to visit from natural sites to chateaux and the Somme battlefields of WWI. ALBERT You can put down temporary roots in the little burg of Albert with its picturesque park surrounded by typical brick houses. Albert also has a WWI museum that is located in a 230 meter long underground bomb shelter which gives a taste of the dampness of the trenches. In fact the last section of the tunnel is dark and sound and light are used to help you imagine being in a trench during WWI in the dead of night, under artillery fire. The neo-byzantine basilica, known as the Lourdes of the north, was originally built between 1885-1895, then destroyed in 1915. It was rebuilt in identical fashion in 1927-1931 by the original architect’s son. The golden virgin statue on the top of the dome was hit by a shell during the war and dangled in a horizontal p…
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Explore new territory on your bike, Forest of Senart

Here’s an idea to get out of town, hop on the train with your bike to get out of the city a little ways. Then peddle to another station to ride back to Paris. You can travel with your bike on the SNCF Transilien (suburban) trains on weekdays before 6:30, between 9:30 and 16:30 and after 19:30 and all day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, for no extra charge! And now that Navigo covers all zones there’s nothing to stop you. To whet your appetite here’s a set of rides along the Seine and in the forest of Senart beginning and ending at RER C/D stations. 3 different lengths make them accessible for all riders. The family - 6 km loop begin/end at Juvisy. Ride along the water’s edge of the «Port aux Cerises» recreation area. Touring - 10 km begin at Evry Val de Seine, end at Juvisy. A ride along the Seine and ponds in the recreation area. Longer - 13 km begin at Evry Val de Seine, end at Montgeron Crosne. Ride between the valleys of the Seine and the Yerres, then in the Sen…
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Get Out of Town to Houdan

Get Out of Town to Houdan The Yvelines is a lovely department just to the west of Paris. I live there, so I'm biased, but it is hard not to like rolling hills, small towns, discreet historic sites, the wide open agricultural spaces, forests, sinuous roads with little traffic (perfect for cycling), paths for walking or riding. To me the Yvelines has it all. And the town of Houdan sums it all up. Houdan is just an hour from Paris by train, but it is a voyage to the provinces. Make a day trip to Houdan and you won't regret it. The tourist office offers a handy brochure of the of the town center discovery circuit. The English is not very good, but you'll enjoy the charm and have a chuckle. The most famous of Houdan's historic sites is the 12th century dungeon or keep. Yes, a real medieval dungeon that you can visit! It has graffiti from the prisoners who were held there and a gorgeous view over the town and countryside from the top. After viewing from up high you can walk around t…
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Remarkable trees in France

France is remarkable in many ways, including in trees. We recently published an article about the remarkable trees in Paris and now below you'll find some for the rest of France. We were out on a bike ride a few kilometers from home the other day and came across a tree planted in 1556! It was huge! And in great shape. The tree is called the Platane de Diane because it was planted by Diane de Poitiers, favorite of Henri II when she received the hunting property at les Clayes. A beautiful plantain tree that has seen not only Diane, but certainly Louis XIV walk beneath during a hunting trip, saw a first chateau built under Henri III, destroyed partially during the Revolution and another chateau built in the 19th century, burned by the Germans as they retreated at the Liberation, the telegraph line running past up on the hill, the writer Tristan Bernard and the artist Edouard Vuillard and who knows how many other famous people and events. All that in the Paris suburbs Les Clayes-s…
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Bicycle visibility – Darkness is coming

Darkness is coming - Bicycle visibility (for joggers too)! When daylight savings time ends and you have daylight from only 8 am to 4 pm there's a lot of bike riding to be done in the dark. How can you put the odds of being seen on your side? Bicycle visibility! Some things are pretty obvious: florescent shirt, reflective vest, headlights and tail lights. That's the minimum. But you can do more and with more panache too! I ride with multiple forms of light and reflectors and for that matter I use all of my visibility techniques during broad daylight too. You can never be too visible. http://www.saintgermainenlaye.eu/en/pages-speciales/detail-decouvrir0/article/security-of-cyclists-well-seen-well-protected/ Consider the following: Fashion? Yes you can! Ugly yellow construction vets? OUT! OUT! OUT! Put on something with style like a well-fitted multicolored vest from Rayon Jaune.

Who is Rayon Jaune? Béatrice: Ingénieuse ès produit. Béatrice worked in confecti…

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Get out of Town: Parc de Saint Cloud

Bike or run Parc de Saint Cloud and Bois de Boulogne Sometimes getting out of town means just going to the end of the metro line. There are really nice places to explore just beyond the edge of Paris. Here's a super bike ride or run of about 10km that takes you through the Bois de Boulogne, across the Seine on the Aqueduct de l'Avre footbridge,  through the Parc de Saint Cloud, past the Cité de la Céramique to end at the Pont de Sèvres metro station in Boulogne. Starting from the Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Bois, head down avenue Mahatma Gandi then turn left on the bike path heading south. This bike path starts on the right side of Allée de la Reine Marguerite. Continue on the bike path past the Rose Gardens of Bagatelle, follow the bike path and it's wiggles through the intersection of la Grande Cascade and continue towards the Longchamp Horse hippodrome. Circle around to the right the south end of Longchamp on Route de la Seine À la Butte Mortemart. Pass through the park…
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Get out of Town to Dieppe!

Time for a break from Paris? Try Dieppe! This city of 32,000 people is on the Normandy coast just north of Etretat and has similar white chalk cliffs, pebble beaches and emerald waters. The name Dieppe means deep valley referring to the break in the cliffs carved by the Arques river as it flows into the sea. There is lots of history in Dieppe. It was the site of an experimental landing to test German defenses that preceded D-Day. Unfortunately many Canadians were killed in the failed Operation Jubilee, but the Allies learned that they were not going to be able to re-take an active port, thus developed plans for the Herculean artificial ports of Arromanches-les-Bains in Normandy (another very interesting weekend trip). The city of Dieppe is still closely linked with Canada today. In 2010 a ton of galets from the Dieppe beach were taken to Windsor, Ontario as part of a monument in memory of the soldiers of the Essex Scottish Regiment who took part in the August 1942 Raid and you …
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