Friday, January 2, 2009


Velib. A-mazing.

It has grown since I was last in Paris. I had read of it, but was unaware of the gob smacking saturation of the scheme.

Salient points:

- 20,000 bikes, 20 frigging thousand
- a station every 300m, every 3 etc
- after a paltry subscription it is free provided you change bikes every 30 mins
- beautifully thought out bikes, just perfect
- two biggest problems anticipated and dealt with:
= bikes gravitate to the end of popular routes (like the bottom of Montmartre, you need some horse to ride one up the hill), so they are continually redistributed
= return points are hard to find in popular stations - a full station will give you an extension of free time and tell you where there are more stations nearby

The wikipedia page has a pic of a user apparently faffing about with a flat tyre. For goodness sake - put it back in a rack and take another - lying unrented it will call for help and the mechanics will soon attend to it. Rather brilliantly the user community have come up with a convention whereby a seat turned backwards indicates a bike with a problem. So matey might consider doing that as well.

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