Places

35 – Lyon Bikes

Segways aside, Lyon boasts a remarkable variety of bikes. I’m sitting by the Rhone eating a salami filled baguette that tastes of sawdust watching a tandem slip past. But this is no ordinary tandem – this is a Lyonnais tandem. The front section is occupied by a woman lying on her back half pedalling, half sunbathing while her husband sits behind steering and taking up the slack. It’s quite weird but the novelty is quickly overtaken by a pair of men dressed in suits cycling back home from work on unicycles. Not normal, but not totally unusual either. Continue reading

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Animals

34 – Flies

Yesterday morning, I noticed a cloud of tiny flies on the ceiling near the window blind that I leave half open at night to let the light in. It gives me an idea of what time it is without having to look at my clock: If there’s only a faint glow, I’ve got half the night left in bed. If there’s just enough light to make out my wardrobe, I’ve got about two hours. If I can make out my hand, my alarm will go off in about five seconds. If I can see sunlight streaming onto the door of the bathroom, I’m late for work. The system works quite well. Like a sundial with a built-in alarm. Continue reading

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The French

33 – Segways

Ever heard of The Segway. No, neither had I, until I came here. It’s a two-wheeled electrically powered scooter type thing that is an alternative form of city transport with a top speed of…wait for it…12 mph. Now, I’m all for innovative clean transport, but hang on, haven’t we already done this. Let me think: two-wheeled environmentally friendly transportation that can average around 12 mph. Isn’t that called a bike? Continue reading

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Random

32 – Odd Birthdays

It’s my birthday in six weeks and I’ll be back in Blighty. I could go somewhere in France, rent a cottage or camp, but I’d only be on my own, and it’s grim waking up alone on your birthday with only a cheap bottle of Cote du Rhone to keep you company. That’s what happened the last time I lived here, eighteen years ago, on the farm in Provence. Continue reading

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The French

31 – Rubbish

It’s been two weeks since my last entry. Reason: work and springtime. Although saying that the weather has been pretty schizophrenic. Blowing hot and cold like a man standing on the edge of a cliff too scared to jump, yet too scared to turn back. Today I woke up to sheeting rain lashing my window as though somebody was cleaning it with a high pressure hose. But I knew it would rain today. Yesterday, after breaking my own 10 km record along the Rhone, I joyously said to an old man sitting on a wall, ‘Il fait beau, non?’ Continue reading

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Random

30 – Review

It’s my 30th entry and 6 months since I arrived here.

Blogley in Lyon 1 – 30: a review

I was back in France after a 17 year hiatus and things seemed to be exactly as I remembered them. Nobody stopped for me at the zebra crossing, the streets smelt of urine, the bars looked lifeless, the bread as hard as ever. But all in all, it was good to be back, and as I walked to my digs that first evening I knew I’d made the right decision to return. Continue reading

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Seasons

29 – Springtime Two

It’s hot for the time of year. Twenty-one degrees if you believe the electronic thermometer above Bellecour. If true, it’s the hottest beginning to March I can remember. We must have had a thirty degree shift in temperature over the past three weeks. In mid February I was running along the abandoned banks of the Rhone with a wind from hell obliterating my once youthful looks. Three weeks later I’m doing the same run trying to avoid the myriad of pushchairs, scooters, bikes, children, dogs, cats, rollerbladers, ice cream sellers, musicians, stoners, alcoholics, and madmen all enjoying the sun. Continue reading

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People

28 – Frédéric Moreau

In 1984 Frédéric Moreau was three times French amateur cycling champion, and towards the end of that year signed a professional contract. However, shortly after, he started having problems with his right knee. Instead of recuperating, ready for the start of next year’s professional season, he continued to race in the remaining amateur events of that year. At the end of 1984, and in great pain, he finally went to see a doctor who told him that if he ever wanted to cycle again, he was to stop immediately: his cartilage in his right knee was torn to pieces. Continue reading

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