Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Velib Velos

I recently was talking to someone who was en route for Paris. It made me recall my trip there this time last year and I had told him about the public bicycle system. I posted the following description on my mac pages last year. I decided to post it here now.

This public transit system is amazing! I paid five euros for unlimited bike access. That buys you unlimited use of a bicycle, in thirty minute increments. If you are late returning it to a station (any one in the city), you are charged an additional euro per half hour. The bikes are hefty - like beach cruisers - but have three gears. They aren’t set up to go too fast - my Schwinn’s much faster - but that may be a good safety feature for the system. Finding the kiosks when you need to return a bike can be tricky - I’m sure you develop a mental inventory fairly quickly. While I am sure that France has the same issues as New York, regarding the threat of vandalism and theft, Americans are probably more litigious and the city is reluctant to take any risk of liability. Anyway, just some thoughts I’m sharing, as I have been thinking about this all week.

Now, let’s get a bike...Sebastian, a friend of mine in Paris, is going to help us.

A typical bike stand and kiosk (kiosk is in the midground):

Sign for an ID & PIN number.

It may be frustrating at times, figuring out how to set up an account,

It's more fun if you smile.

After you get an ID & PIN number, you can select your bike by entering its number in the kiosk. But before you make your selection, check the tires, and see if the chain is loose.

For the most part, the bikes were very well-maintained.

Once you find a good bike, enter the bike's number, and the electronic lock will release so you can retrieve the bike.

Voila! You’re ready to go...

No comments: