20 March 2009

Spinning circles

The bikes did indeed arrive late last week, and so I've spent a few hours on the trainer on our balcony since then. It was fun for about 3 minutes on the first day, and then I remembered why I hate the trainer. At least it's been cool (mid-40s - 50s) and plenty breezy when I've been out there. Even so, it's not long before I overheat, raising questions about how anybody can ride one of those things in a heated house. And no, objects in the camera are unfortunately not larger than real life.

At least the views down to the street are more interesting than those riding in the basement at home. Though this picture was taken during a quiet moment this afternoon, there's quite a lot of foot traffic in the morning, so I've been able to watch the ants while riding. Good thing I left my magnifying glass at home. Note the blossoming trees and shrubs-- spring is just short of exploding here.

Since my ribs tolerated a few trainer rides, and my butt and knees are begging for more varied riding positions, we've started riding the Longchamps circuit in the Bois de Boulogne, a large green park just a 9-min ride with traffic from the apartment. The Bois used to be real woods used as the hunting grounds for the various Louis(s-- how does one pluralize louis?), then cleared in Napoleon's time before being converted into a planned vaguely woods-ish park in the late 19th c., now replete with busy roads and ample foot and bike paths. There's a 2.2-mile loop around one of the 2 hippodromes (not places to race hippos, thankfully, though that wouldn't be without its interest) there dedicated for bike traffic, and it's the major riding locale for people in the western part of the city. Apparently there are hard-core training races there some evenings.

Whereas going around endlessly in small circles isn't exactly what cycling in France brings to mind,  having the Longchamps so close is a godsend in my current state of fitness and healing. Plus, it's got a windmill at one end of the oval, which kind of makes it feel like playing Putt-Putt.

And putt-putt pretty well describes my riding right now-- I'm tasting lung just trying to move fast enough to stay upright. Nowhere to go but up.


  1. I sort of prefer the slightly less cutthroat scene at Vincennes rather than Longchamps, but both certainly have their moments.

    When you're ready to go a bit farther afield here's an occasionally useful link.

  2. Springtime in Paris! It would be cliche were it not so cliche. How's the bag of pudding project coming along? Are you going to Belgium for any of the classics? I need a report.

  3. The pudding project is coming along slowly, but today I sat in a few laps with a group and was happy I was among the last group of 4 standing when it split apart (admittedly, most of the guys in the larger group were considerably older than me) and felt comfortable in the pack, both good signs. Still no endurance or any serious conditioning, though. How was the Hopewell endurance ride on Sun??

    Not sure on Belgium for the classics. So many other things to do, and the classics aren't like going up for cross, where you at least get to see a dozen laps. We did get to see Milano-San Remo live on TV on Sat, though. Not a bad thing...

  4. Great photos. One shouldn't comment until one rides an hour on another's balcony, but it looks like ideal training situation to me. Much better than my experience.

    Good luck with your recovery.