When we lived in Portland, I used to ride my bicycle a lot. Sydney and I would ride to her before and after school program on most days. I loved my bicycle. It was a lovely yellow cruiser with a cushy seat and a basket and bell in front. In fact, I could not be present when we sold my bicycle before leaving. In the process of selling my bicycle, I threatened several times not to sell it if I thought someone was not worthy, especially if they made any disparaging remarks to get a better price. Since selling my bicycle back in October to begin our travels, I have not been on a bicycle and I have missed the routine of riding. When we came to Paris, I noticed bicycles that could be checked out at one place and then returned at another called the Velib program. However coming from Portland which is renowned for being the best bicycle friendly city in world with large bike boulevards and wide marked bike lanes, I was skeptical of riding in Paris. I toyed with the idea of using the Velib Program. However, watching others it seemed like one was taking their life in their own hands and that it was definitely not for kids.
In looking for activities for us to do while in Paris, I came across the Fat Tire Bike Tour and it sounded like a lot of fun. I contacted Fat Tire, as I was not sure whether the tour would be okay for my 8-year-old daughter Sydney. They assured me that despite the length of 6.5 miles and it being Paris that it is great for all ages and skill levek. So we decided to go. I am so glad that I did this tour. The bikes at Fat Tire are big comfortable cruisers with 3 gears and each had a cute name. Our bikes were named Harlan Davison, Dr Frankfurter and Peachy Keen. On our tour we saw many of Paris’ famous landmarks such as the Napoleon’s tomb, the Louvre and Eiffel Tower and learned some history along the way. Our tour guide Saddie made the tour fun and interesting and even kept Sydney’s interest and kept her safe while crossing busy streets. We learned some facts that were not in our guidebook such as the Peace Monument is the most vandalized monument in Paris and the holes that Jason mentioned the day before that he thought were bullet holes on the side of the Ecole Militaire were really bullet holes from WWII during the Nazi Occupation. During the bike tour, I realized that Paris is easy and safe to ride in. Paris compared to Portland is flat and I did not need to change my gears while on the tour. I also realized that Paris can be navigated with relative ease on low traffic streets which are connected by parks and bike paths without concern of dying. During the tour, I felt that Sydney was safe and she rode with ease. My only regret is that we did not go on the tour sooner as I would have probably looked at our options for riding in Paris. Perhaps in Arles we can find a relatively cheap rental and begin riding again. If anyone knows of a good rental place in Arles, please let me know.
But if you are just looking for something fun to do while in Paris, the Fat Tire Paris Bike Tour is well worth the cost. Just a word of caution, the tour leaves every day rain or sun. We were luckily in that it was just cold on our ride. But the day after our tour, we were out walking and noticed another tour ride by just as a downpour opened up. The tour looked very wet and they were just starting! You can also receive a 4 euro discount by bringing in Rick Steve’s Paris Guidebook. Lunch is not covered on the day tour. To help save money pack a lunch and some water.