Arrived in Paris last night and received a warm welcome by Jérôme and his family. Daughter baked cookies with lots of chocolate! Jerome is writer of several books about everyday cycling and cycling subcultures and a popular cycling blog. And of course he likes to ride his racing bike.The ideal host to stay for a few days and explore the city with.
The departure from Driebergen and Utrecht was a bit hectic. Making sure that everything ends up in the right place in the bags, a bit of stress to be on the Domplein on time. Lots of encouragement through social media. However, the familiar holiday rhythm of breaking up, cycling, eating and finding a place to sleep and set up a tent soon returned. The familiar feeling of freedom. The wind was in my back, the temperature was pleasant and the roads along the canals made it very smooth.
The route through Brussels was also easy, a Dutch couple that I spoke to at the campsite in the evening, had a lot more trouble with it. Cycling in the city is always a bit chaotic, because cycling infrastructure is created later. My strategy of keeping a close eye on a local cyclist heading in roughly the same direction still works. Sometimes cycling on the right, sometimes left on the bus lane, and sometimes also in the median strip, I’ve experienced it all again.
Paris has made great strides and that’s quite a difference from the other places I’ve passed through. The EuroVelo route 3 was largely on towpaths and quiet roads, but sometimes a busy road was unavoidable. The man who took my picture warned me about the French drivers. In general I experience them as very respectful and they keep a good distance. Would this be different in the Netherlands because there are often separate bicycle paths and when cycling on the road is seen as an infringement for the motorist? Or because there is so much more cycling in the Netherlands? Or are the Dutch more in a hurry in general? I’m not over it yet. Let’s take a closer look at the city first