18/6/18. About 10 km from Marie-Claire’s house Stephen’s saddle suddenly went “Twang” and, on inspection, it transpired that a bolt which tensions the bit you sit on had snapped. The saddle was still rideable – just – but the resulting way in the leather made it much more uncomfortable. Stephen, being an absolute trooper(!), carried on riding for the rest of the day but ended up a tad saddle sore.
Since this was a new, relatively expensive and iconic British Brooks saddle we were hopeful that there would be a shop in Paris that could help. The Brooks website listed 8 or 9 dealers in Paris but most seemed to be shut on Mondays. However, there was one, close to the centre, which was willing to sell things on the first working day of the week so we headed for that.
The initial part of the route was very similar to that which had gone before – quiet roads with some undulations – and all very pleasant. This took us to Cergy which is a large town, perhaps similar to Watford or Croydon. (That may be doing Cergy a disfavour – we didn’t really get a good enough look at the place to form a proper judgement!)
After Cergy, the route wiggled about a lot, as do cycle routes in London, sticking to shared paths and quiet roads including a long stretch through a wood near Maison Lafayette.
As we neared the centre, we lost the signs but could see from the map that the route joined the route path along the Seine – which is nice in theory but, as you may well know, the river meanders about a lot making the trip much further. As time was moving on (riding through urban areas is generally slow – traffic lights, stop signs, traffic, complicated junctions all take time to negotiate – so we decided to take a more direct route.
This worked out ok although it did mean short stretches on some busy roads. At one point we were headed straight for the Eiffel Tower which was an inspiring sight in front of us.
It was mid afternoon by the time we reached the bike shop and the guy took one look at the snapped bolt and shook his head. However, to his credit, he did have a go at mending the saddle and even got some grease on his nicely laundered shirt. When it was clear that he wasn’t going to be successful we decided to buy a new (cheap) saddle which was more comfortable than the saggy damaged one but not a patch on the real McCoy. Stephen is half expecting to develop a bow legged walk over the coming days!
As the time was nearing 4 o’clock it was not a difficult decision to spend the night in Paris rather than trying to find a campsite or a (probably) grotty hotel on the way out of the city. We found a reasonable (for central Paris) hotel and set about enjoying the unexpected stay. As we have been to the city several times we did not feel the need to view any particular sights and simply relished walking around soaking up the atmosphere before finding a nice restaurant.
We are so lucky to be able to do this sort of thing spontaneously!