Saturday, 21 August 2010

French Genius

Motorway services define countries, if only because that's what you see when you need to get somewhere fast. Michael Palin can witter on about taking the slow road all he likes, but he doesn't have to be home on Monday. So big miles means motorways, and flats down the centreline of your tyres.

In the UK service areas start with warnings that you'll be fined if you loiter too long, and entreaties to buy expensive coffee in paper cups. But you need to rush anyway, because if you leave your bike too long it'll have been pinched. Ah, the entrepreneurial spirit of the new age.

But in France they have these lockable bike cages: no need to unload luggage or carry giant locks, just pop the bike and your kit into the Box Moto, and go take a shower. Yes, really - a decent, clean shower, that's free to use. Then enjoy food that tastes of something other than 'fridge, while taking in a view that's not essence of shopping mall. Finish with proper coffee in a proper cup, and continue on your way. Perfect.

But in case you thing I've come over all Francophile, remember this: 100,000 Frenchmen with their hands in the air is what France calls an army...

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