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Monday, July 14, 2008

A New Fashion Catches On in Paris: Cheap Bicycle Rentals

Published: July 13, 2008
PARIS — They’re clunky, heavy and ugly, but they have become modish — and they are not this season’s platform shoes.

A system for renting Vélib’ bicycles has become hugely popular in Paris, where about 20,600 of the bikes are in service.

A year after the introduction of the sturdy gray bicycles known as Vélib’s, they are being used all over Paris. The bikes are cheap to rent because they are subsidized by advertising, and other major cities, including American ones, are exploring similar projects.



Jen said...

I actually rented one of those while I was in Paris (with the help of a Parisian - only residents can rent them or at least that's the way it was when I was there last summer). This is generally a great idea, they were really easy to ride and it's a beautiful way to get around the city. The only things I didn't like were: there were lots of broken down/unusable ones at the drop of/pick up points(like stations where they were magnetically locked to little posts), the stations were kinda far apart and at night filled up fast in the burbs. So one night, for instance, I had to ride around for literally hours to try to find an empty spot at a station. It was kind of a disaster, but I definitely got to see a LOT of Paris that I wouldn't otherwise have seen and was out until like 5am. Would be lovely to see these in American cities.

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