A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

Ghost cycling

Posted by Alan on May 8, 2011

Ghost cycling, originally uploaded by Alan Perryman.

Paris gave me many opportunities to practice panning shots and surely a nation with a reputation for fashion should produce plenty of ‘cycle chic’?

This guy is ‘ghosting’ through the roundabout at République.

I think there’s still more work on the composition required, probably to fill more of the frame with the cyclist and put their head on the third line to the right. Anything thoughts from either the photography nerds or cyclists?

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Véliberation

Posted by Alan on May 5, 2011

Just before Easter we made a trip across the channel to Paris. Being a regular BorisBike user, trying a Vélib was on the to-do list.

Ruth a la Vélib

Ruth a la Vélib

First impressions were that these bikes are more flimsy. They don’t feel as heavy as the blue bikes of London and fixtures and fittings all seem a little smaller.

Velib: Basket not bag pouch

Basket not bag pouch

The first most striking difference is the basket, rather than the bag ‘pouch’ we have in London. This doesn’t make a lot of difference to me as I always carry some kind of bag, but I could see how if you didn’t how a basket could be much more useful. The gears and bell are exactly the same. Additionally you have a lock, so you can park anywhere if you need to – this means once you have a bike you can rely on it to be there. It is a source of frustration in London that the natural flow of bikes means that you’ll often find a city centre dock empty and have have to change your plans…

Saddle up

Saddle up

The saddle looks the same, though there are no helpful numbers on the seat post for quick adjustment. The docking mechanism is fitted to the side rather than the front – this felt a bit less solid than London, though it may mitigate against the idea of ‘hot-docking’ (riding into a dock without dismounting) for fear of leg injury!

Side dock

Side dock

During our days in Paris we saw many wrecked bikes in docking stations. According to wikipedia, many are vandalised as a backlash against the primary user group, the “bo-bos”: bourgeois-bohemians, the trendy middle class French. I haven’t yet seen this in London, despite the bikes being used primarily by a similar demographic. Towards the suburbs, the tyres and inner tubes seemed to be main target – many docking stations had multiple broken bikes in them.

Borked Bike

Borked Bike

Being a regular in London, I haven’t actually tried the casual hire process though I have been shown it. You put your card in and are given a receipt which you take to a docking station and key numbers in to the dock, using the 3 digit pad to the left of the wheel. Next time you want to take bike you put your card in again and it gives you a new receipt. It sounds onerous, but after Paris I can see how TfL came to that choice.

In Paris, you are given a card with a subscriber number on. This must be key in at the terminal where you then select your bike – if the only available bike happens to be 10 metres away at the other end of the dock so be it. Run! Push the button on the dock and the bike is released. I wasn’t too keen on this idea – at a nearly empty docking station it would be very easy for someone to take the bike you just rented and in the process lose you €150 in bike non-return fees…

Anyway I enjoyed the two circular trips I made and if I do go back to Paris I’ll certainly be using Vélib again.

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10 years

Posted by Alan on April 19, 2011

Champs Elysee

Le Champs-Élysées

It’s very nearly 10 years since I took this shot, from the ‘Paris Wheel’ in Place du Concorde as part of a sixth form school trip. So this is a fitting time to return to Paris as a ‘grown up’ and actually stay in the city! As per usual, I’ve hundreds of photos to sort though – I think back in 2001 maybe I shot 2 or 3 rolls of 36 exp and lost half of the prints – how times change! I finally made it to the top of the Eiffel Tower, promenaded round the gardens of le Chateau de Versailles with the lovely Ruth and much more. It’s been lovely to try to speak French even if I have lost a lot of the skills. More musings to follow – it’s a fascinating city.

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