on April 15, 2011
I had been in France around a month. During that period, I had spent an enormous of time enjoying the exceptionally rich local cuisine. As a result, I was beginning to worry about my expanding waistline. To combat this, I tried to eat healthier for a little while. However, with rich cheeses and delicious pates seemingly available at every corner, this plan soon fell by the wayside. I decided then that I would have to fall back on plan B, to get some exercise. Thankfully, Nice is one of the greatest places in the world for joggers. The majority of the city is flat, the temperatures are not excessive and there are plenty of safe areas to put in a few kilometers. By far the best of these is Promenade des Anglais. So, one bright Sunday afternoon, I put on sneakers and headed to the seafront.The promenade is around 5km in length. It runs from Nice old town in the East to the airport in the West. The entire length is deliciously flat. Additionally, it runs for the full 5km without any breaks. So, there is no need to cross streets or dodge traffic. The promenade is also perfect for those who want to exercise as the sidewalk is around 20m in width and has a special lane for those wishing to ride their bicycles, ensuring everyone has space to work up a sweat. Because of all this, I was certainly not the only person enjoying a bit of keep-fit on Sunday. In fact, there were hundreds of us and I think I may have enjoyed watching the other people as much as I did my run.Lets star with my fellow joggers, who were certainly a diverse bunch. There were those I would describe as 'regular runners', who would be sporting sneakers and sports clothing. They would tend to be running at something of a regular pace. There were also the 'chic runners'. These people seemed to be concerned more with style than with any physical benefit. They would tend to be wearing black jogging suits and oversize sunglasses. Most of the time, they move ata a very sedate ppace. In fact, I am usually able to overtake them at a brisk stroll. Then, there are the 'professionals', who are usually dressed as though they were attempting the Hawaiian Iron Man race or the London Marathon. There are lots of tight vests and a frightening amount of lycra. Along with runners, there are plenty of other people exercising on the promenade. The most common of these is the cyclists. The promenade has a dedicated cycling lane which allows cyclists to whizz along in peace, safe from traffic. Just as with the runners, there are plenty of professional looking individuals on hi-tech racing bikes bedecked in lycra. Along with these, there are also those using Velo Bleu. The Velo Bleus are public bicycles that are available for rent for a couple of Euros an hour. As they are so cheap and so accessible, lots of locals and tourists use them to tour the city - the promenade is, of course, the most popular place to use them.Along with the runners and cyclists, there are also the roller bladers, who seem to love the flat terrain beside the sea. The roller bladers seem to fall into two categories. The first are the amateur bladers. These are people who are out there just for fun. Some are comfortable gliding along through the breeze. Others seem slightly less au fait and do not as much glide as swerve and stumble. The second group are the professional bladers. These are groups of lycra clad blading enthusiasts who whizz along in groups of four or five following each other in tight lines to ensure aerodynamic performance.With all these different types of fitness enthusiasts on show, the promenade is a bizarrely eclectic sight. I must admit that I enjoy me runs on the promenade as much for the people watching as for the fitness benefits.
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