Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Tour in Nancy: From Remicourt to Stanislas Square

Life style: Jumping on stilts or riding a folding bike

On a wonderful Sunday in April we went on a bicycle tour
from the youth hostel of Nancy (France) to the ancient town center and to the famous Stanislas Square where people either sit in street cafes  to relax or walk past impressive 18th century buildings like the opera house and the city hall admiring the square`s fancy golden gates in the baroque style.  Many eyes were on the Brompton bike, and then came the question: "Vous-etes content avec ce velo pliable?"  At the end of this post I`ll try to answer that question.  First a few words about the trip.

Youth Hostel
The youth hostel is located west of Nancy in a suburb  called Villers.
It is located in  a small  18th century  castle with a large park  of  old trees.  In the reception office you get free access to the internet on a computer with a French language keyboard -  not  so much fun for people from the anglo-saxon and Germanic computer world.

The trip
Once you have left the park of Remicourt, you enter the road and are guided by a large green mark on the pavement for cyclists to follow.A  city map shows a large network of bicycle paths, and I would surmise that riders of  a  Brompton folding bike will possess sufficient orientation power and a good amount of inspiration to find the path`s continuation at any major  crossing.  The bicycle path down into the valley and into the old city center is certainly a good idea, if its realisation were more to the needs of the average cyclist, for example, if the trail was marked with a number and with one particular colour, you  would be able to appreciate the sights along the road much more.

How easily does it fold?
On the Stanislas square, right next to the opera house and in front of a restaurant`s crowded street cafe, we were approached by a French couple who were also pushing their folding bikes wondering how I was faring with the Brompton and what my experiences were and how easily it would fold.

There is the plastic hook which broke off

French girl dancing her freedom in front of her girl friends one week before getting married

Not a Street Artist
My answer was a quick demonstration on the spot. There was a good crowd of spectators in the street cafe, and I was already in the limelight anyway. Are we not all in the back of our minds street artists or performers when  we may sport our favourite vehicle?  So I went to work. My bike folded quickly, as it should, but after I had hooked the front wheel to the frame bar, it  came off, swivelled back - no way, I could  not get it into place.  Some onlookers seemed to smile generously, others did not  notice my sweat and shame.  The reason for my failure was the plastic hook on the front wheel`s left side wire holding the fender.  Its tip had broken off, probably during the transport in the trunk of my car.  Another case of warranty, I hope.  Obviously not the strongest material.  Do you  remember the comment of a fellow Brompton rider which I reported in one of my recent postings?  "Forget the appliances!"

Embarrassed, but still a fan
And yet, as a true Brompton fan still, I finish this by saying, we had a wonderful ride through the city of Nancy and the folding performance was enjoyable.

Gargoyle - called water spewer in German - at one of the golden gates of Stanislas Square

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