How Cycling Became Chic in Paris [Spiegel]
"A rental bike is the most convenient way to travel in Paris," says Marion. The 28-year-old, who works in marketing, lives in the smart 16th Arrondissement and uses a Velib cycle two or three times a week, undeterred by Paris' bustling city streets. "Motorists and cyclists are now used to one other. We respect each other," she explains. Valentine, 22, a trainee insurance clerk who moved to Paris a year ago, says the city's fleet of chunky bikes is "just cool!"
But Velib has brought affection for two-wheeled travel into the country's capital city. The self-service network of 23,500 bikes parked at 1,400 stations across Paris has made mobility more flexible for city dwellers willing to pay an annual €29 ($36) membership fee. The first half hour on the bike's solid, heavy frame is free of charge. After that the hourly rental rate gets increasingly expensive, a price structure designed to push Velib as an alternative to car, bus and metro trips.