Post by frenchmystiquetour on Jul 15, 2010 23:03:31 GMT
Here's a little video I made bike riding through the Latin Quarter. It's in a well known area so I'm sure you Paris lovers will recognize the streets right away. And for those that don't, here's a little something to dream about for your next trip. Click on the link below.
Post by frenchmystiquetour on Jul 16, 2010 13:17:37 GMT
Bixa - You got it again . The dreamy effect is what I was hoping for, hence the choice of music, with the upbeat, bring me out of the dream, back to reality music at the end (soundtrack from a Louis de Funes film).
dahuffy - I especially like seeing the scooters when they are parked.
fumobici - My thoughts exactly. Got stuck behind 2 clueless drivers and then just at the moment I was coming out of Passage Dauphine a van parked right in front of me.
kerouac - Riding in Paris on Sundays in July and August is pretty good too. Took a ride through the 17th last Sunday around Rue Legendre and even the grand boulevards in the area were pretty quiet. Getting a mini-cam to mount on my helmet soon and then doing some after midnight weekday videos.
Ah, she is right to clutch the purse strings with typical French financial conservatism. However it would be a major plus to rent to your customers for bike tours so they could make their own riding videos. I bet the competitors haven't thought of that yet!
Oh, I would say maybe 15% of the people do (very rare on a Vélib, though). There is talk of making helmets obligatory. Another 2 or 3 fatalities should seal the fate of us bareheaded people (but I do own a helmet!).
Kerouac, no I don't think so, as that would kill the incipient urban cycling culture in Paris. Helmet obligation has meant a drop in cycling road share everywhere, most tragically in Australia. People are killed by cars every day, and that hasn't meant cars being banned in major cities. (I don't actually think it should, but clampdowns should hit those responsible for serious accidents - again, see Amsterdam).
French, I have cycled in Paris, but not in the city centre, more in the northeast and east (18th, 19th, 20th). This is quite a few years' back - when I was last in Paris, it wasn't really relevant and I only walked and used public transport. I'd cycle there anywhere now, in normal clothing, though Paris still has a long way to go to be Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Strasbourg, Freiburg or Ferrara. I don't drive, and while the métro is a marvel, it is saturated at many hours.
If you want to discourage people riding bikes, write laws targeting riders like helmet laws and target bikers for enforcement, stuff like traffic offenses where no danger is immediately present like running a stop into a clearly empty intersection.
Some cities (and I can't recall who right now) have actually exempted bicycles from some traffic laws in a commonsense way, like allowing bikes to pass through a red or not coming to a full stop if there is no oncoming traffic, to encourage bike riding.
Getting people out of their private cars and onto alternatives like bikes and public transport requires both carrots and sticks: Alternatives must be enabled and encouraged, and driving must be made less convenient and effective at the same time.
I think a common measure is allowing cyclists to do a "rolling stop" at stop signs, but they do have to acknowledge their existence. Another is allowing cyclists to go "wrong way" on certain small, clearly-marked streets. Car drivers have to be aware of this so they look for cyclists both ways (this is very common in Amsterdam and is being introduced in Paris).
We have to look at places where the modal share is either higher or has increased most; of course Copenhagen and Amsterdam are the major Western cities with highest modal share; Paris has shown a very significant increase among the largest European cities though there are still a lot of dangerous gaps in both its cycling infrastructure and cycling culture (I'm referrng to all parties involved - cyclists, motorists - car and motorbike/scooter - and pedestrians). Obviously many cyclists are also motorists and vice-versa, and all are pedestrians, but it takes a while for reflexes to develop.
Of course Strasbourg is by far the French city with the highest modal share and the best cycling infrastructure. Sure, the Germanic influence but also a concerted effort by the city administration to encourage cycling - and of course public transport - Strasbourg has beautiful modern trams.
As for safety, safety in numbers is by far the most important factor, not only because it makes us far more visible than any reflective vest could, but because at a certain qualitative point it means that almost all motorists are also cyclists, or have been. All Dutch motorists who grew up in the Netherlands have taken cycling lessons as schoolchildren, and most continue to cycle - many combine use of a car, one or more bicycles (the beater and the good bicycle to do touring or fitness cycling) and of commuter trains if they work in another nearby city - it is cheaper than driving and parking.
If you show this to potential clients, I think they will NOT choose to tour by bike, but will take a less frightening walking or vehicle-based tour.
I realize the above comment was made as a joke, but seriously ............ I think anyone who likes cycling enough to inquire into a bike tour would love the idea of more freedom and access to the city. The video really gives that feeling of cycling in the open air -- so much better than being enclosed in a car, or limited by how far one can walk.
I DID put a after my comment, bixa, but I was only part kidding.
The close scrapes when passing cars and all the stops necessitated by the cars stopping ahead of the bike made me very uneasy. I'd rather be on a bike path than sharing the (narrow) road with so many cars and (unpredictable) pedestrians on (even narrower) sidewalks.
I have been somewhat unhappy with the habits of the Avignon cyclists. Apparently, every street in the city has been authorized for cyclists to ride counterflow (in Paris it is only allowed in the 30 km/h streets). I have seens dozens of cyclists riding down the middle of opposite direction one-way streets, and when you meet them in a car, they react as though you are the person who is supposed to somehow get out of their way.