Thursday, July 29, 2010
La Culture du Vélo
I went on a last minute trip to Lyon, France for business. Since my meetings were on Monday morning, and as I had the previous Friday off from work, I decided to leave Thursday night and spend a few days in Lyon. Luckily, my wife was able to go with me. We had a great time.
I want to share our experience with those readers who frequent my site on the blogosphere. However, most of the experiences we had don't really match the nature and outdoor topics I usually discuss. However, as I am an avid bicyclist, and as France has a culture of cycling, I decided to write about some cycling-related items (if you do have questions about Lyon, I would enjoy trying to answer them...)
It was great being in France while the Tour de France (TdF) was going on. I watch 'Le Tour' on American TV everynight, but to be in France and see the racing in realtime on French TV was fun (I thought about taking the TGV train to Paris for the final stage, but that was just too much traveling for a long weekend)! I am not fluent in French, but I know enough to understand the action. I can honestly say I was in France and watched Le Tour!
I bought copies of the French sports daily 'L'Equipe' every day from a the local magazine shop. I plan on framing them and putting them in my gym or at work.
I also bought a set of TdF miniatures from a little model shop down the street from the hotel. They are a ~1930s rider and motorcycle / photographer. I have them at work. They are so neat.
Another interesting cycling-related aspect of Lyon (and many of the big cities in France) were the VeloV bicycle rental stands. You put a credit card into a machine, and then pull out a bicycle. The first 1/2 hour is free to rent, then you pay a nominal charge. When you are done, you insert the bike back into the rack, and your card is then debited.
The cyclists ride all through the cities. Local people rode around with their groceries, Tourists rode around looking at the sites. The stands are locate every few blocks, so you could always drop the bike off near your desitination. What a great idea. Too bad we can't do more of this in American cities. It is a great way to get around, reduce CO2 emissions, get some exercise, and avoid parking fees.