Jackie Link's Blog

- A blog for no good reason

Monday, January 21, 2008

Minor mishaps

Yesterday I didn't leave the apartment and was really tired of sitting by evening, so today I was bound and determined to get out riding.
I took off by myself this morning with my street map put where I thought I could easily get to it.   
(#1.)  At a major intersection I was caught midway by a changing light and sped up to get out of harm's way when a man stepped off the sidewalk without looking -  I must have yelled, he stopped and turned towards me - and that's when I remembered my brakes barely worked - and indeed, they didn't stop me and I ran smack into him - hard!  My glasses smashed my nose and made two cuts and gave me raccoon-eyes.  But I didn't fall down and because of the small wheels on the Moulton, his crotch was spared (too bad - he should have suffered for not looking!).  I got back on the bike, blood dripping (I was sure I had a bloody nose, but I didn't, just cuts) and kept going.  My glasses weren't broken, just me.  
Hurting, dripping blood, I kept on turning corners at random - ran into the Pantheon - kept going - wasn't running into the Seine as expected - kept going, and kept going, and realized nothing was familiar, no signs pointed to anything I knew - (#2.) time to pull out the map.  And it was gone!  I loved that freebie map.  I found a street information map, figured out where I was and got back on track (I was clear on the opposite side of the city from where I meant to be.  O well.)
I saw a bistrot sign for Le Fondus de la Raclettes, and since before Saturday I'd never heard of raclette, I decided to take its picture.  (#3.) And I stepped in a huge pile of fresh dog crap.  Yes.  Old-style Parisians do not pick up their dog's crap.  This is well known.  One always, always watches one's step.  I spent a lot of time running my hiking boot through puddles, finding a stiff wire to clean out all the crevices.  Such fun.  When it was completely clean I finally rode on my way. 
(#4.) As I was passing one of the free toilettes I decided I would at last figure out how they worked and locked the bike to a pole.  I pushed the right button, the door opened, I stepped in and pulled the door shut - but it had two handles, neither of which seemed to lock the door and, in fact, turning either seemed to open the door again.  Should I risk dropping my drawers and maybe have the door open?  Did I really have to go bad enough?  I took the risk.  The door didn't open (I know, this doesn't count as a mishap, but in my mind, it counts) and I was soon on my way again.  
By now I'd been riding for what seemed like hours, still no sun, and it was getting colder and I was getting hungrier, so I headed home.  
After leaving the bike in the apartment, I went back out for groceries.  I passed a 3-star hotel, walked in, asked for and got another freebie map. 
Later, DB discovered the cables weren't connected for the front brake and the back brake needed tightening, too.  Next time I stop fast I'll probably go over the handlebars and do a face plant. 
All is well, though my face is a mess.

These are the nearly free city bikes, Paris Velib, found all over town.  I do see many people riding them.  You have to be signed up and have a card, but the first half-hour is free and many people get where they need to be, leave it at another station and never have to pay extra.

P.S.  Both handles in the toilette are to open the door - I guess the lower one is for small people, or something.  When one pushes the button to open the door, it automatically becomes occupe, and the door is locked behind you.

I thought you'd want to know.


velogirl said...

ouch! I think we need raccoon eye photos.

and why were you riding a bike if you knew the brakes didn't work? thank goodness you had a soft pariesien to brake your fall.

Jackie said...

Photo in the works (and boy, they're even better today!).

I knew they were "soft" but they'd worked up to then. It isn't clear when the cable came loose, maybe it happened when I hit him - and I never did fall, just hit his chest like it was a Bull's Eye.

velogirl said...

oh, Jackie! it hurts me just to look @ that photo.....