Running into a Parade, Cycling in Circles, and Crushing Cardboard

Finally, a full and complete weekend at home, in Paris.  But boy, was it busy!  Everything from runs to bikes to lots of unpacking.  Unpacking of pots.  Unpacking of bikes.  Unpacking of books.  Unpacking of trainers (how on earth do I have SO many trainers?).  Tons of unpacking.  Endless unpacking.  And repacking box materials for them to take away Monday.  It was sorta like crushing grapes.


But first up – Saturday, Bastille Day!  Bastille Day is France’s equivalent to the US’s Independence Day (well, mostly, not quite a perfect equivalent, but close enough).  Like in the US, they have all sorts of parades, parties and celebrations.  Though, it seems (at least in Paris) to be a bit more formal from a celebration standpoint, primarily the parade, which is Europe’s oldest.

We had planned to sleep in a bit, but the French Air Force had other plans.  At some point in the morning, enough fighter jets buzzed by our windows to re-start WWII.  I later caught photos of just one of the many formations of helicopters during our run:


Speaking of the run…with The Girl’s sister (and another Friend) in town for the week, we headed out on a nice easy 10K run.  We figured we’d wander up/down the Siene.  At first, this worked out really well – with a combination of roads closed for the parade, as well as the usual weekend closures.


Soon however, our run came to an abrupt stop, as our route was cutoff by a bunch of really big tanks.  Well, and what I presume to be millions of people, watching said tanks and other assorted big vehicles and well dressed marching peoples.


This was towards the end of the parade route, after they marched down the Champs Elysees  and then passed the presidential viewing box.  In fact, that first part is a similar portion of the route to that of the finish of the Tour de France.

Eventually, we found our way past (well, under actually), the crowds and parade, and were able to continue on our run.  Ultimately, we ended up at the Eiffel Tower, which strangely enough had a giant disco ball hanging from it:


This thing was like the size of a airport shuttle van – just hanging there.  It was all part of the Bastille Day festivities.  The Eiffel Tower would be just in front of the giant fireworks show that occurs later in the evening.  And this year, the theme for the night was ‘Disco’, hence, the giant disco ball (speaking of which, where exactly do you order such a disco ball? The largest ball I could find on Amazon was a measly 20”).

After hitting up the Eiffel Tower, we headed back towards the parade route, ultimately passing the Esplanade de Invalides, which is simply the giant grassy area in front of the Invalides – that building you see in the background.  Though today, this would serve as a massive helicopter landing zone.  The helicopters in the first part of the post were landing here, and you can see one just about to touch down (in front of the gold dome).  Sorry for the fuzzy photo, it was raining.


Speaking of rain… In general, the weather in Paris is downright confusing right now.  One moment it’s sunny, the next raining.  Sometimes, it’s literally doing both – as you see below.  Water was falling on our heads at the same time that we were basking in sunshine.


For the most part, people around these parts are wearing winter parkas.  The highs the last few days haven barely hit about 70*F, and the lows are in the 50’s.

Here was one brief moment where the sun came out.  Note though that the crowd clothing selection has a mix of heavy jackets, light jackets, no jackets.  Just general confusion on what to wear.


On the bright side – the non-hot and non-humid weather means that cycling around the city on bikes is great!  No hot and sweaty mess.

We wandered all over the place.  Between The Girl, here sister, and their friend – I was in good company.


And of course, biking to dinner means you can justify appetizer courses like this (really, we couldn’t even make a dent in this – we’re not sure why they gave us this much).


Speaking of cycling – Sunday I took my first crack at bringing my triathlon bike out and trying to get in something representing a long ride.  By long, I mean about two hours.  So more like a short medium ride.

The first challenge was just successfully getting out of the city.  There were some moments (like below), where I was reasonably certain I was about to end up on a freeway onramp.  No amount of Google Map view was helping the situation.


Thankfully, I barely avoided the highway, and ended up at the below, the Hippodrome de Longchamp.  Hippodrome simply means Racecourse.  And Longchamp is the place.  But on the outside of the race course, there’s a roughly 2-mile loop that cyclists (and runners) can use, and it’s virtually car-free.


On the inside of the loop is the horse racing track.  It looks all swanky.


Today I was riding with two new pieces of technology.  The first was the Joule GPS.  This is CycleOps first foray into the GPS cycling computer market.  I’m just getting the hang of it, though for the most part the menu and dashboard system remain very similar to the past Joule cycling computers.  There’s new pages related to GPS tracking – such as the below showing the loops around the horse track as I completed them (I restarted my ride after my 30 minute journey from the center of the city).


Here’s another dashboard view.  Sorry for the reflections, always a bit difficult taking shots on the bike with the sun.


The other new item on the bike is the Power2Max power meter, which is seen here inside the front chainring (where the big ‘2’ is).  The Power2Max broadcasts ANT+, so it easily paired with the Joule GPS.  Additionally, there’s also a PowerTap G3 on the rear wheel for testing, as well as the Polar/Look Keo Power Meter pedals (planning on that review in the next 10 days).  It’s like the trifecta of power!


And finally, here’s a a look at the Joule GPS from the side profile view.  I’ve gotta get rid of the Velcro on my bars, which used to hold a water bottle there.  The problem is pulling up the velcro will leave all sorts of sticky grimy stuff.  Anybody got any recommendations for cleaning it off (that won’t leave scratches)?


After about 30-40 minutes of fairly fast loops, I headed back into the city, which took another 30-40 minutes to get back.  I’ve still gotta work on optimizing my route back in, both for the highest speed route, as well as the one with the least cobblestones.  Me and the cobbles are definitely not BFF’s…yet anyway.

Hope everyone has a great week ahead, and thanks for reading!


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  1. Anonymous

    I use eucalyptus oil to get off the sticky lunge leftover when taking off tape. It is a very aussie thing and smells awesome – great when you have a cold – so not sure you will find in Paris – but good luck.

  2. Hi Ray. Nice to see you in Paris. The weather has been really bad lately. Seems that you picked up a very nice location for your leaving, just across the Palais de la Decouverte. I’d strongly recommend you to pay a visit to this place. It is a truly awesome old technology exhibition.
    Speaking of removing velcro leftovers, I used Naphta. In France we call that “essence H” or “essence F” the H grade is better but more difficult to find. This is also an excellent bike degreaser…

  3. I can vouch for eucalyptus oil too and have had success with WD-40 (use it for my motorbike). I haven’t tried it but lifehacker posted about using vodka to remove sticky residue. And there’s a whole lot backing peanut butter.


  4. there is Longchamps (3.50 km) and there is on the east the polygone of vincennes (3.22km) usualy doing 20 laps of those which keep your insanity level up for a while.

  5. use HG adhesive remover to remove the glue !

    link to

    I’ve been using this for years for removing stickers on various surfaces.

  6. Kev

    Hi Ray

    good write up again, was just wondernig how do you find the Power2Max power meter. I’m in the market for one and they look as it could fit the bill.



  7. G.

    This brings back a lot of good memories from my time in Paris! If you like charcuterie (and wine), try Le Baron Rouge (in the 12th, next to Marche d’Aligre). I used to go cycling and running in the Bois de Vincennes, for running that’s good, for cycling it’s a bit boring to do the same 3k lap over and over again all the time but you need something…

  8. TriMike

    methylated spirits should do the trick.

  9. Anonymous

    De-natured alcohol for adhesive mess….not sure what they call it in the land of the cheese eating surrender monkey’s….I mean that in a nice way! BTW- can’t wait to hear what your thoughts are on the new Garmin Fenix.

  10. David

    removing stick stuff – eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil (should find tea tree oil in a chemist – and you only need to use a tiny amount).



  11. Hi Ray!
    Did you try for cycling recommendations?

  12. WD-40 or Goof-Off does just fine and won’t strip off the finish.

  13. More power to you biking in Paris! I drove in Paris once, I ended up in tears with a moped under the front of my car. Love their public transport though!

  14. Gasoline. Gas gets rid of everything.

  15. Since you are a lover of amazon… link to

    This is pretty awesome stuff.

  16. Chu

    Hahah! You found a Haines Point in Paris!

  17. +1 for Goo Gone

    Also, you dislike the cobbles? Quelle horreur! As you are now a European cyclist, vous avez besoin d’aimer les pavés :)

  18. Goo Gone is great at getting that kind of sticky stuff off.

  19. Anonymous

    Goo Gone or WD40

  20. Goo Gone works most of the time, but for really tough adhesive removal jobs, I use gasoline.

  21. In the motorcycle shop where I work, I constantly use regular brake cleaner to get rid of the glue left behind by stickers and such. When used in combination with a clean microfiber cloth, there will be no scratches made! I even use this on the paint of new motorcycles, so no worries ;)

  22. i’m not sure if they have it in paris, but Goo Gone really is awesome. I can’t find it in the store, but with your mail/package forwarding, this could work link to

  23. I use a soak in WD-40 (or just spray it several times over 20 or 30 minutes), and then I degrease with something like Windex.

  24. nail polish remover also works for sticky residue left on surfaces. It’s my prefered choice because my wife always has a bottle around the house somewhere.

  25. kab

    We use Goo Gone for everything. The dealerships use it to get those lettering or bulking plastic stickers off of cars as well. Brake cleaner is option number 2. Can you tell I’m around cars a lot? :)

  26. +1 goo gone – that stuff is fantastic!

  27. Peanut butter? You mean, the two Costco sized jars I managed to get into the country?

  28. Yep, good thinking to take those over with you. Pretty handy.

    No kidding, peanut butter is the best cleaning stuff around. Just search and you’ll see.

  29. Since you’re now in France, here’s the go-to product that you’ll find in every drugstore : anti-adhésif Gilbert.
    A bottle costs 4€ and will last a long time.

    This is what it looks like: link to

  30. Anonymous

    Important question about the new Joule (non GPS version): does it have a backlight? A real shame if not.

  31. None that I can find on the watch itself, or any mention of it in the manual. The Joule GPS yes, the non-GPS, no.

  32. Hi Ray,

    Still on the Joule GPS backlight… is it possible to leave it “always-on”?

    Another simple questions: can I set it show units in metric system (km/h, m elevation, etc)?


  33. I believe so (sorry, out of the country until tomorrow, but will be back tomorrow night and can check the light stays on at home).

    On the converting – yes, no problem switching between the two.

    Drop a note here tomorrow night as a reminder and I’ll grab the unit and validate the light setting.

  34. Thanks Ray! (this is the reminder note)

    I suppose you are working on the complete review, waiting for the product actual market launch, right?

    Do you mind giving your overall impression compared to Edge 500? (no problem if you can’t do it right now due to NDA)

    By the way, great site! I have read a lot of info on the bike/tech part, but the Paris blog is also amazing!


  35. Hi Andre, thanks for the reminder!

    It does indeed have a ‘stay on’ option for the light (which is what I had set it to). It also has an auto-off after 5 minutes of non-activity (not the same, but I figured I’d mention it).

    The Edge 500 and it are very competitive. It’ll be the next full cycling unit I review, likely in about three weeks here. Got a few running items to get out the door. There are some normal UI-thing that I’ve never loved on the Joule lineup (as far as buttons go), but those are just personal preferences.

    From a technical standpoint, the features are very very close – and the screen on the Joule GPS is a touch bit clearer than the Edge 500. I’d be happy with either.