Considering how enthusiastic I still am about my rediscovered love of cycling, this blog is well towards morphing into a “French Riviera by bicycle” theme. It’s nice to have a new activity that’s blogging-friendly; these past few years have mainly been filled with métro boulot dodo as the French saying goes. “Metro (subway), work, sleep”. I don’t actually take the metro, but it’s meant to rhyme, for which “bus” and “train” don’t quite have the same ring. However, bike does! Vélo boulot dodo !
Commuting has continued to work out well, it’s definitely a treat to be on the Promenade breathing the fresh sea air in the early mornings. I’m building up strength, and the 30-kilometer (20-mile) round trip is getting both easier and faster. It only takes 45 minutes either way, hills and stops included. There are quite a few lights along the Promenade, but with a cruising speed of 30-35 kmh, you can manage to get most of them green for a while. I was surprised that I started out with such a high speed on the flats. My goal is less to improve on that, since it’s already good, and more to increase endurance, as I would love to take longer rides on weekends, and, naturally, still have plenty of strength for weekday commutes. This will mean simple practice, as well as a focus on my core and pedalling form. In cycling it’s easy to get your legs in shape, but just as important to have strong core and arm muscles, since they help your balance and endurance. Bicycling.com has good core exercises for cyclists, for instance.
As for cycling itself, the city of Nice has maps of cycling paths available. It’s important to note that a lot of them are right-hand bike lanes, which in Nice translates to free-for-all parking spots. Cars here are still rather anarchic. For cycling it’s good to keep in mind that you can, and should, take the lane when there’s not enough room for cars to pass on your left. Stay in the middle and don’t go too far left, however, since motorcyclists and scooters often pass on the left anyhow. Le vélo on the city of Nice’s website has PDFs with tips for cycling, and Plan du réseau has PDF maps of cycling paths in and around Nice, all the way to Cannes in the west, and Monaco to the east.