Wednesday, 4 March 2009

On routes

This is not a picture of a bike, its a picture of one of the brass medallions that mark the route of the Paris meridian. The bike is in the background. The medallion in the pavement is one of a series that runs straight through the centre of Paris (more-or-less) from the observatory in the south to Montmartre in the north.

I lived near Paris for two years. In those days I didn't have a bike, but following the meridian was one of my favourite walks. In retrospect, a compass might have helped, but without one it was a bit of a challenge to keep on track, and I got childish fun from hunting out the medallions in the pavement. But what I particularly liked was the variety of different neighbourhoods that the meridian passes through: some historic, some on mainstream tourist routes, some posh, and some anything but.

These days I get a similar kick from choosing a good route for the bike. 

The destination normally isn't significant, and in any case (with luck) I end the day back where I started. And any decent route is a stretch because there is a sense of satisfaction covering a good distance. But the fun comes from discovering places that I wouldn't otherwise visit. Variety is the thing, whether fuelled by crumpets or croissants.

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