Thursday, August 21, 2008

Paris free bike scheme

I'm currently in Paris. As I love all things two-wheeled, the free bicycle scheme was something I had to try.

For 1 euro you can get a day pass to use the bikes. For that, you can use bikes for free, so long as you return it to a velib station within half an hour. You can get a weekly pass for 5 euro, or a full year for 29.

Here is a velib station:

The stations are rarely more than 300 metres apart, but tend to be on side-streets and can be a bit tricky to spot as you ride through the traffic. The velib site has pdf maps to help you find them.

Here are some pics from a recent site-seeing tour:

For those concerned about riding in the Paris traffic, there are a lot of fairly quiet side roads you can use. Further, the Parisian drivers seem to be very aware of cyclists and more considerate than most.

Since you can drop a bike off at any station, bikes do tend to migrate downhill, towards the river. I'm staying in Montmartre, and the ride out there gets a bit sweaty on a hot day, so it is tempting to bike into town and get the metro back.

To combat this, the Parisians have invented anti-gravity:

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