I got up at a reasonable time and set about doing some laundry and finding some bicycle boxes. Washed laundry in hand, I was directed to a bike shop where I was told I could purchase bike boxes for 5 euros each. I was also told they would pack up my bicycle at a cost of 50 euros. I declined this offer but accepted the bicycle boxes. In the end the bike shop owner decided to give me the boxes for free. As I struggled to carry the cardboard and laundry away from the bike shop, I passed a van into which men were loading cardboard boxes and Styrofoam packing material. They let me pilfer some of the foam, which I will use to protect the more sensitive parts of the bike. I then faced the challenge of getting home. I knew it would be absolute torture to carry everything home as I could hardly manage it for five metres at a time. I began a search for a taxi that was fruitless for a frustrating period of time. The bulk of the cardboard was hard enough to manage by itself, but the weather decided to throw in the added challenge of huge gusts of wind. I was pushed around as the cardboard boxes acted as huge sails. It also rained for the second time in the morning. Sets of rain clouds would pass through, leaving only short periods of clear, blue sky in between.
After a very frustrating wait, a taxi finally accepted me and my cargo. The driver’s name was Ibrahim and he said I’d have to pay an extra 4 euro for carrying my luggage. I agreed, happy to have found a ride. As I sent a message in the car, I could see Ibrahim straining to see what language I was writing in. I decided to satisfy his curiosity and introduce myself properly, explaining why I was in Paris and why I had the cardboard. This sparked an exuberant conversation, aided by Google translate. Ibrahim was excited to have a world cyclist on board and said I would feature in his book about the weird and wonderful people he has met while driving his taxi (hopefully I’ll be one of the latter). On our arrival at home, Ibrahim refused any payment for the ride.
I dumped the stuff in the flat before heading out to do some grocery shopping and buy some packing tape. Back at home I proceeded to continue dismantling my bike, cleaning my pannier bags and dividing my gear into piles – one of things that will go in the bike box, one of things I want to carry as hand luggage, and one of things I will need to send home by courier. Dinner was an unsatisfying fast food meal from the around the corner – fish burger, chips and coke.
|Distance ridden today||0km|
|Total distance ridden||29,600km|