Friday, October 19, 2007

Uh-Oh. Velo.

PrettyLady downstairs has stopped smiling at me when we pass in the vestibule or on the sidewalk. I won't say that she sneers, but she's tight-lipped and cold. Naive moi, I had thought she was a new friend.

I guess she only smiles when she wants something. What she wanted was for me to get rid of my bike.

Yesterday the residents of our building got the following note on our doorsteps (click on image to enlarge):

Roughly translated

"A reminder that parking bicycles is only "tolerated" in the courtyard. We are going to create a space in the basement, with an easy access by the building off the courtyard. In the meanwhile, we ask for your most respectful cooperation in order to make life better for everyone in the building (parking bikes on the street when possible, taking them down to the basement when not being used, etc.).

[The rest is about how to recycle your trash]

Well now, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. She, I, we, they, all know that it is 99% impossible to take a bike into the basement. Tiny narrow stairs, no light. Lotsa spiders. Heavy bike. C'mon.

Bikes on the street? Well, they tend to get vandalized or stolen, peed on by pooches, and anyway, there are sometimes other randomly enforced laws about where parking of bikes is allowed on sidewalks, not attached to fences, etc. You apparently can get ticketed.

I consulted a few web sites. Evidently a law was proposed in July in the Conseil Municipal of Paris, to require building owners to allow bikes in the courtyard, but it was struck down for unclear reasons.

Yes, of course Velib is a good solution in general, but what about people who have child seats or simply need a bike for longer? Or who already own a bike? It seems to me that if the City of Paris is really set on making this city a paradise for bicyclists, they could help us out with fussy neighbors who are trying to run the show ... simply because she lives right on the courtyard, is the head of the Condo Association, and doesn't want to have her view spoiled. If I hadn't asked before I bought the bike, I would feel remorse. Instead, I'm just steamed.

Anyway, now I am going to join Velo 15et7, an association for bicyclists of the 15th and 7th arrondissements, which has helpful information for bike owners in similar predicaments.

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