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Snowed Under and Bikes on Brake

Nice Under Snow, Photo Source The Local http://www.thelocal.frNice Under Snow, Photo Source The Local

Paris Weather graph

Nice Weather graph

Venice Beach, California, Photo by Erica Simone http://www.ericasimone.comVenice Beach, California, Photo by Erica Simone

Erica's VW Beetle ConvertibleErica’s VW Beetle Convertible

It’s Paris. You don’t come here for the weather. But you do go to Nice for the weather and that’s what was most surprising this week.

Sure, we have been freezing our you-know-whats off in sub-freezing temperatures here in Paris expecting sunny Nice to be sticking out their tongues at us. But lo and behold, they’ve had blankets of snow too, and it’s predicted to come down again today in the normally sunny city! This is not what we think of the French Riviera, now is it? No! And guess what? It also hit the French island of Corsica!

The locals are loving it. It’s such a rare sight, especially when in some places it has been as thick as 10 centimeters (4 inches). (See photos)

Meanwhile my daughter, who is currently in Los Angeles, is posting photos she’s taken of Venice Beach on Instagram. What’s white is sand, not snow. She’s riding around in a little 2018 VW Beetle Convertible with the top down loving the sun instead of bearing the barrage of bad weather in the northeast. She better enjoy every minute because as I write this, one of the worst snowstorms in months looms over the Sierra Mountains in Northern California.

What’s going on? Climate change, that’s what.

A new study shows the Antarctic losing ice, melting and flowing into the oceans at an accelerated pace. And here’s what the scientists say we can expect in our not so distant future:

* Temperatures will continue to rise
* Frost-free seasons (and growing seasons) will lengthen
* Changes in precipitation patterns
* More droughts and heat waves
* Hurricanes will become stronger and more intense
* Sea level will rise 1-4 feet by 2100
* Arctic likely to become ice-free
* More frequent wildfires
* Plant and animal ranges shifting
* Trees will flower sooner

So, we better get used to it. The summers will be hotter. The winters will be colder. We can do lots of things ourselves to reduce or slow-down climate change. One of them is to make wise transportation choices…like riding a bicycle instead of driving in a car.

During the Climate Change Summit in Paris, the major economies of the world agreed to cutting carbon emissions by nearly 30 percent over the coming decade. Lewis Fulton, a transportation researcher at the University of California in Davis, who is also the Director of STEPS (Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways), gave the following message: “Bikes can help save the world.”

Getting people on bikes is tough — it means that cities have to invest in ways of accommodating bikes with cycling lanes, bicycle parking, and a real change in attitude by the people. If you are in Paris, the construction work all over town to create special bike lanes is evident…and is driving us a bit crazy as traffic jams have increased alongside the construction.

In addition, there’s a bit of an upheaval over the various bike options here in Paris. The newest “Gobee” dockless bikes have hit their brakes as the media touts “Gobee is a no-go”…at least in France, for the moment. The Hong Kong based company announced this week its decision to shut down operations after four months when 60 percent of its fleet was destroyed or stolen. The company claims that more than 1,000 bikes were stolen, almost 3,400 bikes were broken down and almost 300 complaints were made to the police.

Bikes Strewn on the Sidewalks

I can’t say I will miss them. Because the bikes can be picked up or parked just about anywhere, you could find them littering the sidewalks making it impossible to pass on the narrow streets of my neighborhood. The blame must be with the riders, since it’s been so successful in other parts of the world. Is it the French that are so careless? That’s surprising, considering that France is home to a number of ground-breaking bike-sharing ideas, including the Vélib program program that launched in 2007 with 6,000 bikes. But even that is having a serious blip as Paris switches to a new operator, Smovengo, with one-third of the new bikes to be electric.  

Will I succumb to riding a bike? Never. I’m too much of a “clutz,” but I’m 95% a pedestrian. Fortunately that doesn’t adversely affect the climate…only wear and tear on my shoes.

Special notice:

Saturday, March 24, at 2 p.m.
Sponsored by Democrats Abroad

March for Our Lives - Paris, France

Demonstrations will be held around the world in coordination with the young people of Parkland, Florida. Instead of crying…they are speaking. Instead of mourning…they are protesting. And instead of waiting…the children of Stoneman Douglas High School are begging for our help.

Volunteers? Contact Caitlin Waters at [email protected].

Subscribe to Democrats Abroad for more information.

For information on March for Our Lives, visit their website.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds - on the Monitor during the Filming of House Hunters International

Adrian Leeds
Adrian Leeds Group

(on the monitor during the Filming of House Hunters International)

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Joe Start - French License

P.S. Get ready for a fun filled and funny Après Midi March 13. Joe Start will be on hand to talk about his travel memoir, French License, which covers his hilarious attempt as a Californian expat to obtain his driver’s license in Paris. What appears simple enough becomes a tragicomedy as he confronts one obstacle after another. Details on our Après Midi page


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