Sometimes I catch my husband looking at me when I blow my nose into a cloth or stick hair in the compost jar. He doesn't say anything discouraging or judgey, and though his look often covers a magnificent swath of rhetoric, he's quite supportive. When he realized I wasn't using- or buying- toilet paper anymore,* he gamely considered alternatives, waiting an extended period before discreetly slipping out to buy a pack for himself. When I started using honey instead of shampoo or conditioner, he was cool, assuring me my hair still smelled good, "Like a baguette."
In the matter of no-impact transportation, though, my husband is really advanced. He's been anti-Métro since Chirac, he's never had a Navigo, and he found his original bike- a matte black fixie- on Leboncoin. Sadly, that ebony ingot went the way of so many good bikes these days; stolen one night in Ménilmontant. Not only was his precious find gone, but his independence, freedom from traffic jams, and immunity to RATP strikes were wrested away, it seemed, irrevocably. Something more than Leboncoin was needed here.
Cyclope Fixed Gear is caddy-corner to Canal St. Martin, an unmarked shop a few minutes from Republique. The staff never forget a customer or a bike; cycle building is a dying craft in many countries, but here, it's running a 10k, riding a hot air balloon, and taking the stairs two at a time. The boys sit at a giant Mac creating perfect fixies, piece by piece, like Gary and Wyatt conjuring up Kelly LeBrock. My husband chose a champagne frame with matte trim. Cyclope threw in premium wheels and blackened logos for a unified appearance. Here's the finished product:
In the past, I've borrowed friends' bikes and rented Velibs, for nighttime rides along the Seine or heart-stopping car chases on Place de la Concorde. But I never considered investing in one as a daily means of transport. This beautiful, buy-once, keep-forever treasure may change my mind.
You can buy a recycled bike every Saturday from 10 am-1pm and 2-7 pm at 14 bis rue Cloÿs, 75018 Paris. Update: Cyclope Bikes Shop has a beautiful new home at 15 Rue Marie Stuart, 75002 Paris.
*This isn't the method I use, but here's an interesting article on family cloth. After researching the epidemiology of invasive fungal infections in tp-using countries, particularly France, Italy, and the US, vs. non tp-countries such as South Korea, India, and Thailand, I started using soap and water like my Hanguk-in friends. Remember, they invented BB creams and talking refrigerators. What has the US come up with recently? Six seasons of Duck Dynasty?